Deja Vu: Are We All Actually Living in Virtual Reality?

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A survey in 2004 discovered that nearly two-thirds of us have experienced Déjà vu at some point in our lives. Déjà vu literally means “already seen” in French. Anyone who has experienced it can tell you it brings a strange sensation that you have already lived that exact moment in another time, although in most cases you can’t pinpoint the date or location. It’s an unnerving experience.

Scientist believe Déjà vu is created by a neurological anomaly related to an improper electrical discharge in the brain. In short, it’s not a mystical prophecy or out-of-body experience, but just your brain playing a trick on you.

However, there is a growing body of scientists who are questioning whether Déjà vu is something else much more powerful. These contrarians believe that Déjà vu is a brief glimpse into reality, or more specific artificial reality, a brief glitch in a giant computer simulation just like in the film The Matrix. So in effect we have “already seen” what we are experiencing, just in a previous simulation.

Sounds crazy, until you realize that super-smart people like Elon Musk and a load of technologists and physicists are increasingly embracing “Simulation Theory” as the only rational explanation of our universe. As Elon Musk recently commented, “There’s a billion to one chance we’re living in base reality. Forty years ago we had Pong – two rectangles and a dot. That’s where we were. Now 40 years later, we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it’s getting better every year. And soon we’ll have virtual reality, we’ll have augmented reality,” said Musk. “If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality.”

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He may be on to something. Things have moved on dramatically from those analogue days of shag carpet, rabbit-eared TV sets with three channels, rotary dial phones, and beautiful faux wood paneled Atari consoles.

Technology is advancing at such a pace that we barely blink when spacecraft beam back photos of Pluto from 150 million km away, fishing rods are made out of super material like graphene, advanced DNA decoding test kits are available for a few hundred dollars, and your car drives for you. Pick a law…Moore’s, Vinge’s, Kurzweil’s….and it all leads to the same conclusion: technology is advancing at an extraordinary, exponential rate.

Kurzweil, who now works at Google, has long predicted the Singularity to occur by 2045. In effect, Kurzweil believes that non-biological computation will exceed the “capacity of all living biological human intelligence”, and in effect we will become one with the Internet, living on in perpetuity in artificial form. Unnerving, particularly given that Kurzweil has been accurate on pretty much every prediction he has made over his career.

Simulation Theory proponents believe that given this trajectory, it’s not farfetched to believe that future generations will have created extraordinarily sophisticated simulations, and we may already be living in one. God in effect is the ultimate computer programmer who has created the perfect and potentially unique conditions for life to thrive, which would finally answer the head-scratching Fermi Paradox, which simply asks the question “where is everybody else” in our universe of billions of galaxies. The answer is nowhere. There is nobody else. We are the only ones in the computer simulation, at least this simulation.

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Its been rumored that Elon Musk is one of two tech billionaires funding scientists to not only proves Simulation Theory but also to find a way to break out of it. A team of researchers at the University of Bonn are already at work stress testing quantum chromodynamics to find the answer.

So next time you experience Déjà vu, just take a quick second to congratulate yourself on perhaps briefly discovering a bug in the simulation.  Or tell your brain to stop playing tricks on you. Your choice. Or is it?

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