Is Reality Real?

A dear friend turned me on to this mind-bending post about why we’re all just AI’s running around a virtual world, a Matrix, if you will. Brains in a vat. I alluded to this possibility in my remarks delivered to open the Internet Technology Summit last June.

The basic argument goes: if we can create AI, then we are probably AI that someone else created.

I am beguiled by the beauty and grace and perfection of the universe. The fact that hydrogen atoms mingled under gravity to form suns, which exploded to form the iron and silicon and carbon and everything else, which condensed into a planet and grew into us. The fact that hydrogen atoms exist. The fact that hydrogen atoms are made from things that exist, and that those things are made of things that exist, and that somewhere not too far down that chain there are things that exist made of things that do not.

I am bemused that the universe became a place for us to exist and then became us.

I am bewildered by the fact that the distances are so great that due to the cosmic speed limit information cannot readily be passed between interstellar civilizations in any useful timeframe, so we as separate planetary species cannot learn from one another or make love or war with one another or infect one another with our ideas.

Exactly the conditions you’d want in a well-regulated experiment.

We blunder headlong into our lonely future, make our own mistakes, and discover how to work it all out for ourselves.

And that gives it meaning.

Existential haiku time!

If they were conscious,
would waves on a pond think God
was the stone I threw?


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