In Brief

Are we living in the Matrix?

Bank of America analysts claim there is a 20-50% chance humans are living in a virtual world

160914-wd-matrix.jpg

There is a significant chance we could be living inside a Matrix-like world where what we perceive as reality is in fact just virtual simulation.

"While the claim that this could be a reality may sound like it comes from conspiracy theorists, it is really from the Bank of America," says the Daily Mail.

In a memo sent out to investors last week, the bank's wealth management company, Merrill Lynch, said many experts believed that "there is a 20-50 per cent probability that humans are already living in a computer-simulated virtual world".

It said it was "conceivable" that - with advancements in artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other technology - future civilisations could be running a simulation of their ancestors.

What are the bank's sources?

The bank cites a meeting of scientists, philosophers and business leaders who gathered at the American Museum of Natural History to debate the notion earlier this year.

Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur and founder of Space X, Tesla and Paypal, has previously said there was only a "one in billions" chance that we are not already living in a Matrix-style world.

"Arguably we should hope that that's true, because if civilisation stops advancing, that may be due to some calamitous event that erases civilisation," he said.

So what does this mean?

If it is true, "we'd never know it", says Business Insider. "And if we're not, we're unlikely to create the matrix because if the matrix were plausible it would've been created anyway. And we'd be in it," it says.

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