Via Mathew Francis at Aeon.co:
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Our species is not going to last forever. One way or another, humanity will vanish from the Universe, but before it does, it might summon together sufficient computing power to emulate human experience, in all of its rich detail. Some philosophers and physicists have begun to wonder if we’re already there. Maybe we are in a computer simulation, and the reality we experience is just part of the program.
Modern computer technology is extremely sophisticated, and with the advent of quantum computing, it’s likely to become more so. With these more powerful machines, we’ll be able to perform large-scale simulations of more complex physical systems, including, possibly, complete living organisms, maybe even humans. But why stop there?
The idea isn’t as crazy as it sounds. A pair of philosophers recently argued that if we accept the eventual complexity of computer hardware, it’s quite probable we’re already part of an ‘ancestor simulation’, a virtual recreation of humanity’s past.