Neil deGrasse Tyson says yes, we all could be living in the matrix

Neil deGrasse Tyson on whether we're living in a video game

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, like Elon Musk, says we could all just be living in the matrix.

Musk, founder of tech companies SpaceX, Tesla, has said there is about a "1 in a billion chance" that we are even living in a "base reality," what we would simply call the real world. The argument is roughly centered on the incredible progress video game technology has made in just a few decades. Assume that progress continues. Before long, engineers will be able to make video games, or simply, simulations, indistinguishable from reality.

The thinking goes, there is no reason to think that has not already been done, and that we are the characters inside someone else's video game.

Speaking on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday, Tyson explained the chain of reasoning. "If you have tremendous computing power," he said, "you could simulate every possible thing that could occur, including the neuro-synaptic firings in the characters that you create. So in that sense, what is to stop you from thinking that the characters you created are themselves real."

"Now, if you have created this world, and the world has built into it a kind of pseudo free will, maybe those characters will say 'I want to create a simulation.' So they create simulations within the simulations. Step back from and ask how many total simulations are there — how many total worlds are there — out there? There is one real world and everything else is a simulation, which are you more likely to be in?"

Physicists such as Brian Greene have pointed out that while arguments based on logic make such a notion possible, even plausible, "there is certainly no new convincing evidence that leads us to definitively conclude that we're in a simulation."