Is it possible that all of humanity and the very universe we inhabit are part of a computer simulation built by an advanced civilization? According to some scientists, it cannot be ruled out.
One of these is the famous astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Talking with popular mechanics, the science communicator discussed the ideas that led us to develop the simulation theory.
According to Tyson, the intellectual superiority that humans attribute to themselves over other animals is the reason we began to imagine a civilization or a superior species capable of controlling us. This line of thinking, however, might be a bit narcissistic.
Our closest genetic relatives, the chimpanzees, share about 99% of our DNA. All the differences between us and chimpanzees and that make us “special”, I must be contained, mathematically, in that 1%.
“If that’s all the difference that causes a 1%, and if our children can do the same things as the smartest chimpanzees, imagine a life form in the universe that is similarly 1% smarter than us..” Explains Tyson. “If they exist, the smartest humans would be on par with their babies! Their simplest thoughts would go beyond our brightest minds.”
The implication is that we would be nowhere near able to imagine what it might be the level of intellect and innovative capacity possessed by a species with a genetic difference of 1%. According to the astrophysicist, even excluding the simulation theory, if such an alien civilization visited us, it would be able to turn the Earth into a zoo for their amusement. If we lived in a zoo of such an intelligent species, we might not even notice it.
Tyson finally concludes, saying that “in alien worlds this advanced, we could easily be part of a simulation created by a young alien in his parents’ basement.” A possibility, according to him, difficult to exclude.
It’s unlikely we’d be able to give a definitive answer to this question, although a physicist recently tried, using an experiment to figure out if we’re living in a simulation.