Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Elon Musk believes we’re living in The Matrix, for real

Visionary tech billionaire Elon Musk has said there’s a ‘one in billions chance’ what humans perceive as reality is not a computer simulation.

Speaking at the Code Conference in California, the Tesla pioneer said humans are “probably” living out a Matrix-like reality instilled by a higher intelligence.

Musk said the rapid development of video games from Pong to fully immersive VR “would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in ‘base reality’ is one in billions.”

Simulation theories have existed in philosophy since ancient times, but given the rapid development of high end computing products and AI, the theories tend to be gaining more credence than less.

Could we be living in a simulated reality created either by ourselves or AI? Musk thinks the odds are better than good.

Related: Musk reckons Apple has missed the boat

The PayPal founder said: “The strongest argument for probably being in a simulation is the following: 40 years ago, we had pong, two rectangles and a dot. That is what games were.

“Now 40 years later we have photorealistic 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it’s getting better every year. And soon we’ll have virtual reality, augmented reality, if you assume any rate of improvement at all, the games will become indistinguishable from reality.”

Musk also said he hoped his prediction was true because a presence in a simulation guards us against the possibility civilisation now ceases to exist.

Arguably we should hope that that’s true. Otherwise, if civilisation stops advancing, then that may be due to some calamitous event that erases civilisation.”

“Maybe we should hope that this is a simulation, otherwise it will become indistinguishable from reality or simulation would cease to exist. Those are the two options.

Did someone or something get there first and dump us in the immersive, indistinguishable VR world we’re currently seeking to create? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.