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The New York Times has published a piece on the possibility that we are living in a computer simulation, talking to philosopher Nick Bostrom about the topic:

My gut feeling is that the odds are better than 20 percent, maybe better than even. I think it’s highly likely that civilization could endure to produce those supercomputers. And if owners of the computers were anything like the millions of people immersed in virtual worlds like Second Life, SimCity and World of Warcraft, they’d be running simulations just to get a chance to control history — or maybe give themselves virtual roles as Cleopatra or Napoleon.

David Chalmers also weighs in with some thoughts on whether such an idea would actually impact on our conception of ‘reality’. It’s an interesting topic, not least because it touches on so many fields – the paranormal jumps from the clutches of materialistic skeptics who say the ‘laws’ of the Universe are fixed, ufologists ask whether such an idea precludes alien civilisations (George Dvorsky has actually touched on this in his latest blog post), and consciousness researchers end up with a list of questions which would be too long to imagine…