The actual interview is not at all that stoner-ish. Rich Terrile takes us through a hypothetical example using exponential growth in computing power as a prelude to the idea that if we can envision a time when computers could simulate all of human life, then who says that it isn’t already happening, and we are the simulation?
Right now the fastest NASA supercomputers are cranking away at about double the speed of the human brain. If you make a simple calculation using Moore’s Law, you’ll find that these supercomputers, inside of a decade, will have the ability to compute an entire human lifetime of 80 years—including every thought ever conceived during that lifetime—in the span of a month.Now brace yourself: In 30 years we expect that a PlayStation—they come out with a new PlayStation every six to eight years, so this would be a PlayStation 7—will be able to compute about 10,000 human lifetimes simultaneously in real time, or about a human lifetime in an hour.
There’s how many PlayStations worldwide? More than 100 million, certainly. So think of 100 million consoles, each one containing 10,000 humans. That means, by that time, conceptually, you could have more humans living in PlayStations than you have humans living on Earth today.
I don’t agree with this idea for many reasons, not the least of which is the chicken/egg problem of how a computer that is X complicated could ever design a system that would lead to its own construction. Or how Earth-centric the idea is. But it leads to a lot of very interesting thought problems that will put your brain through a carnival-level contortion session before you know it.