The Matrix Theory Philosophy: More Than Red Pill/ Blue Pill
Do you ever get the feeling that you're living in an augmented version of reality? If so, you may have already started to research The Matrix theory philosophy, and begun to draw your own conclusions about whether what you experience in day to day life is, indeed, reality. While there are many theories that can be pulled from The Matrix Trilogy, the simulation theory of alternate reality is one of the most popular.
Simulation theory is the idea that we're living in an alternate reality - one that is not the true reality. In the beginning of the Matrix, protagonist Neo is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill - the choice between seeing actual reality and continuing to live in what he believed to be reality. Neo chooses to open his eyes to the actual, true reality, and nothing is ever the same.
Also known as the simulation hypothesis, Matrix theory is the idea that all of the things we experience in our lives are actually a part of a simulated reality, controlled by something or someone unknown to us. The idea is based on the concept that whoever, or whatever, is in charge of the simulation has been able to create such an intense simulation that the people within it have no idea that it's a simulation at all.
While the term "Matrix theory" became popular after the trilogy was released, the idea that our reality could be anything but is not a new theory. Many religions have proposed this theory for centuries, with differing levels of explanations according to the science available at the time.
The Matrix theory philosophy as it exists today can be largely attributed to Nick Bostrom, Swedish-born philosopher at University of Oxford. Bostrom proposes that technology continually advances, and it can be difficult for our minds to fathom the degree to which technology will advance in the figure.
Bostrom's proposal is as follows:
Many works of science fiction as well as some forecasts by serious technologists and futurologists predict that enormous amounts of computing power will be available in the future. Let us suppose for a moment that these predictions are correct. One thing that later generations might do with their super-powerful computers is run detailed simulations of their forebears or of people like their forebears. Because their computers would be so powerful, they could run a great many such simulations. Suppose that these simulated people are conscious (as they would be if the simulations were sufficiently fine-grained and if a certain quite widely accepted position in the philosophy of mind is correct). Then it could be the case that the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the original race but rather to people simulated by the advanced descendants of an original race.
It can be tough for us to wrap our heads around the idea that we're living in a Matrix-esque simulated reality... but that's exactly the point. If we were able to fully comprehend how our reality is created by a computer system more sophisticated than something we're able to understand, we would be the ones making the computer system. Bostrom concludes that it's only natural to assume that if we are not yet capable of creating a simulated reality, our descendants will be able to do exactly that, at some point. As long as that rings true, his original point remains a possibility.