Are you ready for the Matrix? A London firm—which has done work for several cities around the world where it has created virtual simulations to help better urban planning—has received funding to go one step further: create a “Matrix” almost indistinguishable from reality.
What could possibly go wrong?
According to the firm Improbable, their IT experts have developed a software that can be used for everything, whether it’s gaming, to creating new worlds humans can live in using headsets.
Interestingly, Japanese IT conglomerate SoftBank has decided to give Improbable an economic boost, by providing them with a funding round valued at approximately $1 billion.
“We believe that the next major phase in computing will be the emergence of large-scale virtual worlds which enrich human experience and change how we understand the real world,” said Herman Narula, CEO of Improbable.
The first product of Improbable, SpatialOS, is described as an operating system to develop large-scale data simulations, allowing the creation of virtual worlds and data systems oriented to different areas of behavior such as defense, economics, traffic, and entertainment, among others. The firm uses it to create simulations of the real world.
The company argues that its Spatial OS could allow the small developer to construct MASSIVE simulations despite potentially lacking resources and infrastructure.
“We are already working on projects with telecommunications companies, governments, and other enterprise clients to explore the ability of massive, detailed simulations to drive better decisions using real-world data and hope to talk more about this in the future,” said Narula.
But hold on a sec, what if we are already in a Matrix? You know, a Matrix, inside a Matrix inside another Matrix.
During the Code conference in 2016, the mastermind behind SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk postulated that “the odds that we are not in a simulated universe is one in a billion.”
Rich Terrile, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said: “If one progresses at the current rate of technology a few decades into the future, very quickly we will be a society where there are artificial entities living in simulations that are much more abundant than human beings.”
“If in the future there are more digital people living in simulated environments than there are today, then what is to say we are not part of that already?”
Reasons to believe that the universe is a simulation include the fact that it behaves mathematically and is broken up into pieces (subatomic particles) like a pixelated video game. “Even things that we think of as continuous–time, energy, space, volume –all have a finite limit to their size. If that’s the case, then our universe is both computable and finite. Those properties allow the universe to be simulated,” Terrile said.
“Quite frankly, if we are not living in a simulation, it is an extraordinarily unlikely circumstance,” he added.
So who has created this simulation? “Our future selves,” said Terrile.
But the approaches of films like The Matrix (1999) or series like Black Mirror (2011), are not a relatively new thing.
Philosophers in the distant past questioned the level of reality of our world and/or predicted how it would lead to a hyperreality where nothing is entirely original.
As philosopher Jean Baudrillard wrote in his work Simulacra and Simulation (1981): “The real is produced from miniaturized cells, matrices, and memory banks, models of control- and it can be reproduced an indefinite number of times from these. It no longer needs to be rational, because it no longer measures itself against either an ideal or negative instance. It is no longer anything but operational. In fact, it is no longer really the real, because no imaginary envelops it anymore. It is a hyperreal, produced from a radiating synthesis of combinatory models in a hyperspace without atmosphere.”
So, while some want to build a Matrix, others think that we are already in one and are looking for a way to get out of it.
Reference: Our CEO Herman Narula on our Series B fundingž
Featured image: Warner Bros.