Tech Transformers

Tech billionaires think we live in the Matrix and have asked scientists to get us out

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Two of the technology world's most powerful billionaires are concerned we are living in a Matrix-style simulated world and are working with scientists to break us out.

In an article in The New Yorker, writer Ted Friend explains that the idea of the "simulation hypothesis" has been on the rise among tech's elite.

"Many people in Silicon Valley have become obsessed with the simulation hypothesis, the argument that what we experience as reality is in fact fabricated in a computer; two tech billionaires have gone so far as to secretly engage scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation," Friend claimed.

Neither of the billionaires were named in the piece.

The idea has gained traction in recent years with the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

Earlier this year, Tesla boss Elon Musk said that there's "a billion to one chance we're living in base reality", meaning the billionaire thinks the odds are that we are living in a computer simulation. Musk argues that some technology is becoming indistinguishable from real life. He took the example of the game "Pong" which has evolved over 40 years into advanced gaming and virtual and augmented reality.

"If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then games will become indistinguishable from reality," Musk said.

And a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report from last month suggested that there was a 20 percent to 50 percent chance we are living in a simulated virtual world.

Friend's claim in the The New Yorker came in an article based on an interview with Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator, a start-up accelerator helping companies get off the ground. Altman echoed some of Musk's worries over the advancement of technology.

"These phones already control us," Altman declared. "The merge has begun—and a merge is our best scenario. Any version without a merge will have conflict: we enslave the AI or it enslaves us. The full-on-crazy version of the merge is we get our brains uploaded into the cloud. I'd love that."

"We need to level up humans, because our descendants will either conquer the galaxy or extinguish consciousness in the universe forever. What a time to be alive!"