Summary
The simulation hypothesis proposes that all of existence is a simulated reality, such as a computer simulation. This simulation could contain conscious minds that may or may not know that they live inside a simulation. This is quite different from the current, technologically achievable concept of virtual reality, which is easily distinguished from the experience of actuality. Simulated reality, by contrast, would be hard or impossible to separate from "true" reality. There has been much debate over this topic, ranging from philosophical discourse to practical applications in computing. The simulation hypothesis, which was popularized in its current form by Nick Bostrom, bears a close resemblance to various other skeptical scenarios from throughout the history of philosophy. The suggestion that such a hypothesis is compatible with all human perceptual experiences is thought to have significant epistemological consequences in the form of philosophical skepticism. Versions of the hypothesis have also been featured in science fiction, appearing as a central plot device in many stories and films. The hypothesis popularized by Bostrom is very disputed, with, for example, theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder, who called it pseudoscience and cosmologist George F. R. Ellis, who stated that "[the hypothesis] is totally impracticable from a technical viewpoint" and that "protagonists seem to have confused science fiction with science. Late-night pub discussion is not a viable theory." There is a long philosophical and scientific history to the underlying thesis that reality is an illusion. This skeptical hypothesis can be traced back to antiquity; for example, to the "Butterfly Dream" of Zhuangzi from ancient China, or the Indian philosophy of Maya, or in Ancient Greek philosophy Anaxarchus and Monimus likened existing things to a scene-painting and supposed them to resemble the impressions experienced in sleep or madness. Aztec philosophical texts theorized that the world was a painting or book written by the Teotl.
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Related concepts (50)
Simulation hypothesis
The simulation hypothesis proposes that all of existence is a simulated reality, such as a computer simulation. This simulation could contain conscious minds that may or may not know that they live inside a simulation. This is quite different from the current, technologically achievable concept of virtual reality, which is easily distinguished from the experience of actuality. Simulated reality, by contrast, would be hard or impossible to separate from "true" reality.
Artificial life
Artificial life (often abbreviated ALife or A-Life) is a field of study wherein researchers examine systems related to natural life, its processes, and its evolution, through the use of simulations with computer models, robotics, and biochemistry. The discipline was named by Christopher Langton, an American theoretical biologist, in 1986. In 1987 Langton organized the first conference on the field, in Los Alamos, New Mexico. There are three main kinds of alife, named for their approaches: soft, from software; hard, from hardware; and wet, from biochemistry.
Dream argument
The dream argument is the postulation that the act of dreaming provides preliminary evidence that the senses we trust to distinguish reality from illusion should not be fully trusted, and therefore, any state that is dependent on our senses should at the very least be carefully examined and rigorously tested to determine whether it is in fact reality. While dreaming, one does not normally realize one is dreaming. On more rare occasions, the dream may be contained inside another dream with the very act of realizing that one is dreaming, itself, being only a dream that one is not aware of having.
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