What if, in the distant future, our government, or another government, or another species from outer space, creates a simulation that completely recreates physical reality? Would the sentient beings inside the simulation know that they were part of a simulated environment, or would they claim such a notion is ridiculous?
The Department of Defense has unveiled its newest simulation project, a digital world with billions of nodes that represent every person on the planet. It’s called the Sentient World Simulation (SWS), and it will be a “synthetic mirror of the real world with automated continuous calibration with respect to current real-world information”. Perhaps even more interestingly, the project is considered a PSYOP, psychological operation, that will attempt to learn about how individual humans and mobs of humans react to certain situations.
Will the DOD integrate data mining from social media into this project, in order to increase the realism? And how will this simulation evolve as our technology advances? Is it completely beyond the realm of possibility that in time some of these ‘nodes’ may develop a form of sentience?
If so, perhaps Bostrom’s simulation theory isn’t so out there afterall? Maybe we are the new simulation, developed centuries later, looking at the seed of our world’s birth in a military computer lab.