Elon Musk says we could all be living in a video game

Noah Kulwin
VIDEO9:4609:46
Big thinker Elon Musk worried about one AI company
VIDEO1:4601:46
Elon Musk: Apple will be a 'direct' competitor in car industry
VIDEO1:4801:48
Space travel in Elon Musk's vision
VIDEO2:3602:36
Tesla's car competition

You know those long, meandering conversations in dorm rooms about, like, what's the real reason we're all here, man?

It turns out they don't stop when you become a tech billionaire.

More from Recode:
Elon Musk says he might go to orbit in four to five years
Elon Musk: Google won't compete with Tesla on self-driving cars — but Apple will
Here's the cyborg tech that Elon Musk says he'll do if no one else does

Onstage at the Code Conference, Elon Musk explained to the crowd why it's entirely possible, if not likely, that our existence is really a simulation being run by a highly advanced civilization. Here's Musk's argument:

The strongest argument for us being in a simulation is the following: 40 years ago, we had Pong. Two rectangles and a dot. Now, 40 years later, we have photorealistic 3D with millions playing simultaneously. 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 1000 from what it is now. It's a given that we're clearly on a trajectory that we're going to have games that are indistinguishable from reality. It would seem to follow that the odds that we're in base reality is 1 in millions.

There's a hefty amount of legit scholarship on this topic — like the so called "Brain in a Vat" thought experiment — and it is clear Musk has done his homework.

But, like, what's the point of term papers if we're just living a simulation, dude?

—By Noah Kulwin, Recode.net.

CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode's parent Vox, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.