Elon Musk Says We’re Probably Living in “The Matrix”

By Staff  |  06/05/2016

The Matrix

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously expressed his fear of artificial intelligence (A.I.), and recently offered another tidbit to that.

The billionaire business magnate recently said that we may already be living in a simulated world, a la The Matrix ... or in someone's else video game. In fact, during the Code Conference last week, Musk told attendees that there's only a small chance our reality is even real.

Read his argument below:

The strongest argument for us being in a simulation probably is the following. Forty years ago we had pong. Like two rectangles and a dot. That was what games were.

Now, forty years later, we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it’s getting better every year. Soon we’ll have virtual reality, augmented reality.

If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now. Then you just say, okay, let’s imagine it’s 10,000 years in the future, which is nothing on the evolutionary scale.

So given that we’re clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions.

Tell me what’s wrong with that argument. Is there a flaw in that argument?

Musk's outlook on A.I. appears to have been inspired by a book called Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom, which tells the story of an A.I. uprising. After reading the book, Musk once tweeted that A.I. is "potentially more dangerous than nukes."

That's not stopping him from creating his own A.I. though. Musk founded OpenAI last year, an A.I. research non-profit that aims to develop friendly A.I., instead of harmful A.I.