Marc Andreessen, Netscape founder and a hugely successful Silicon Valley venture capitalist, said recently that if you invest against Elon Musk, you’re investing against the future of humanity. What this implies is that the smart money jumps in on anything the entrepreneur backs. But what about Musk’s assertion that we are all living inside a computer game simulation? Is that something we should all jump onboard with?
Advances in video game technology and virtual reality
Like all technology, video game and virtual reality technology is growing at an exponential rate, and Musk uses this as the basis for his argument. As he points out, 40 years ago we had Pong, now we have realistic 3D simulations that millions of people can play across the world at the same time. For Musk, it’s not too much of a leap to see that trajectory extending to a world of simulation, making the odds that we’re still in ‘base reality’ right now ‘one in billions’.
So, the theory goes, we could either be living within a detailed simulation run by the super powerful computers of our descendants (an idea put forward by Oxford University Professor Nick Bostrom in 2003) or by some other alien entity for their own entertainment (hypothesised by Neil deGrasse Tyson, no less).
Now, I’m not going to claim aliens or our descendants are driving our behaviour, but who knows? Could we be living in some sort of simulation, The Matrix style? (And if you’re wondering why, if we are living in a simulation, we still have to deal with sickness, disease and depression, remember how the movie dealt with this question.) It’s all certainly a possibility, and something that should give us pause as we think about what reality actually means and why this idea might be so attractive to people.
You can read an article from Australia’s The Daily Telegraph that discusses these ideas in much more detail, and includes some further interview QnAs thoughts from me, here.
What simulation theory means for you
At this point, proving whether Musk's futurism could be correct is impossible. And, in the meantime, we still all need to pay our bills and put food on the table. But Musk is completely correct on his ideas about the trajectory of video gaming and virtual reality. We’re already seeing stores adopting virtual reality technology as a way to help customers make more seamless purchasing decisions, and the gamification of apps and marketing campaigns to engage more people.
This gamification will continue to spread into applications within the business world and, as I mentioned in a previous post, people with gaming skills will make attractive employees in the careers of the future as drone technology skills and coding foresight needs continue to expand.
In a world moving towards more use of gaming and simulation, perhaps it’s time to stop seeing games as a distraction and more as an opportunity. This is an area you can spend time in developing skills. You can also look to innovate within your business by finding ways to use gaming techniques in your B2C or B2B interactions and marketing.
Contact me to discuss more of my futurist insights into how future changes might affect your industry, and how I can share these insights with your company.