There is a currently popular idea that we all may be living in some Matrix-like simulation. Believe it or not, I wrote a short story about this idea over 20 years ago, though I never got it published. Anyway, it occurs to me that this new focus on the idea is not what it appears to be on the surface in that there are likely nefarious motives at play here, possibly involving some very powerful and dark actors who do not have the public welfare in mind.
The first thing to understand is that there are innumerable possible sources for any one particular experience and there are an infinite number of possible universes that could cause a human being to have any one set of experiences. And as we go through life, we try to construct the most useful model of the source of experience, the universe, that we can, generally that which best corresponds with our experiences, one that fits all our data points to the greatest extent. The goal is to create a model that gives us the most control over our lives, one that predicts future outputs given possible inputs, generally one that predicts future events with the greatest accuracy, because that would best enable us to adapt to and control our environment and thereby maximize our future welfare and quality of life and the probability of our long-term survival.
One strategy that has had great success in constructing models of specific phenomena we encounter and which can be helpful in constructing a model of our universe generally is to use Occam’s Razor, which guides us into finding the simplest explanation that fits the data points we are aware of, thus minimizing unnecessary speculation.
Note that religions generally violate Occam’s Razor by constructing models of the universe that involve unnecessary speculation, including speculation on the nature and actions of deities that are assumed to exist. Also note that the assumption of a simulation is quite similar to the assumptions underlying religious beliefs. The simulation assumption is that there is some outside actor that is directing the simulation, much like an assumption of an all-powerful deity, with no solid evidence provided of the existence of this outside actor.
Also note that if one adopts the simulation assumption, there is no reason to assume that the actor controlling the simulation is not part of a simulation of an actor outside that universe, and one can continue this sort of expansion indefinitely. That gives us an infinite number of possibilities to choose from, all from baseless speculation. Occam’s Razor is a method to avoid baseless speculation that offers no utility, such as the speculation underlying the simulation assumption.
So, if the simulation assumption has so little justification, why has it become popular as of late? As mentioned earlier, it is akin to a religion and seems likely designed to supplant existing religious beliefs, particularly those of Christianity. Why would this be? My best guess is that it is because Christianity urges people to care about strangers and to value every human individual, while the simulation assumption implies that other people are little more than trivial bits of data in a computer, meaning that they have little value and their lives can be disregarded without much fanfare.
Considering that many of the elites that control so much of our planet are hoping to be able to ignore our welfare or even eliminate the great majority of us after Artificial Intelligence with robotics is able to replace us in the workplace, they want to supplant a religion that urges us to care about each other with one what implies that we have little value to each other and little reason to care about each other, making it much more difficult for us to join together in solidarity to effectively resist our impoverishment and possibly even eradication.
There is almost always more to popular trends than appears on the surface.