Transcribe your podcast

Joe Rogan podcast. Check it out. The Joe Rogan Experience. Train by Day, Joe Rogan podcast by Night, All Day. By the way, Diana Pasoca says hi.


Oh, cool. You know her?


Yeah, I know her pretty well, actually.


Boy, her theories are very, very, very interesting. Yeah. She's a strange person to talk to because you start really considering some of the things she's saying. It's just all the UFO stuff. I go back and forth on the UFO stuff from it being complete bullshit to maybe there's something there. I fluctuate throughout the day.


Yeah. Well, we can talk about that. I'm peripherally involved with it.


You're making noise over there. Show your mic off. You're peripherally involved with?


With the Galileo Project at Harvard and the Soul Foundation at Stanford, which are the two academic UFO research groups that are out there. Avi Loeb is running the one at Harvard and Gary Nolan is running that. You had Gary on your show, right?


I I have not, but I'm in communication with him. I talk to him quite a bit. I'm very fascinated by his work.


I'm happy to talk about UFO stuff where it overlaps with simulation theory.


So how did you get involved in this whole theory in the first place? Explain to people your position, if you don't mind, on simulation theory.


What do you think is going on? Yeah, well, so first question, how did I get involved in this? I was a video game developer in Silicon Valley, and then I became an investor in the video game industry in my background's in computer science. And what happened was after I sold my last video game company back in 2016, so we're talking seven years ago now, eight years ago now, and I put on a virtual reality headset and started playing a VR ping-pong game. Now, these headsets were even bigger than they are now, and they were wired. So there's no mistaking your in virtual reality. But what happened was that the ping-pong game was so realistic that for a moment, And my brain forgot that this wasn't a real game of table tennis, so much so that I tried to put the paddle down on the table, and I tried to lean against the table. But of course, there was no table. So the controller fell to the floor, and I almost fell over. I had to do one of these double takes like, oh, wait, I'm just in VR. So I started to think about how long would it take us to build something like the matrix, something that's so immersive that you would forget that you were inside a video game.


And so that led me to this idea the simulation point, which is a technological singularity. But then I started to research things like quantum physics and some of the mysteries around the observer effect and quantum mechanics. And then I started to look at all the world's religions, and I realized that they're all saying the same thing, which is that there is no physical universe. And so that led me to the conclusion that we are most likely inside some a computer simulation or a massively multi-player video game, depending on how you look at it.


But where did that computer game, where did that simulation come from if we were inside of it?


Well, that's the big question, right? And there's two versions of simulation theory. And I teach a class on this at Arizona State University. It's probably the first college-level class about simulation theory, and it pulls in science fiction, religion, philosophy, and technology. But one of the key distinctions I tell my students to make, because it's not talked a lot with simulation theory, is what I call the NPC versus the RPG versions of simulation theory. So NPC, as you probably know, means non-player characters within video games. Those are the AIs in the video game, the bartenders, the people you're beating up, the opponents, all of that stuff. But basically, they're just code and they're AI. Then there's the RPG version, which is that we are actually doing a role-playing game. So you exist outside the game, and then you have a character or avatar inside the game. So it's just like what we would consider an MMO-RPG today, except with more sophisticated technology. And so in that case, you get a little bit of a different answer than if you talk about an NPC-only type of simulation, because that's just running on a computer, and we're all AI in that case.


Now, the two aren't mutually exclusive. In a video game like Fortnite or whatever, World of Warcraft, you have NPCs and you have PCs or player characters. So you've got both of those things going on. And so depending on how you look at it, you might come to different answers about who's outside the simulation, which would answer the question of who made the simulation, right? Yeah. So in the first case, you basically say that if we can get to the point where we can build these simulations, what I call the simulation point. So I call that a technological singularity. Now, we've heard the term singularity mostly because of AI and super intelligent AI, right? And AI is going to take over the world. But the guy who defined the term was actually a computer scientist who became a science fiction writer named Wernher Wynji. In fact, he just passed away a month ago or something. He was a real pioneer in science fiction and the cyber punk subgenre or so. And so he said the singularity happens when technology increases exponentially to the point where everything will be different for humans after that point. Now, he gave four different ways we could reach the singularity.


Most of us talk about only one, which is AI starts to become super intelligent and it grows exponentially and everything will be different. But I think this idea of the simulation point where we can create simulations that are indistinguishable from reality. I lay out 10 stages in my book of all the technology we would need, including brain-computer interfaces in the matrix.


Or Neuralink.


Or Neuralink, right. We're getting there. We're very close. We're at the beginning of that hole. And so that's stage eight, stage seven and stage eight on the way to the simulation point. And being able to read, but also then being able to write memories as well. So the definition of the simulation point is being able to create a virtual reality that is indistinguishable from physical reality with AI characters that are indistinguishable from biological characters. So you wouldn't be able to tell you're talking to an NPC, basically. We're getting closer to that already, right? Yes. Yeah. I mean, there's companies out there doing smart NPCs now inside video games.


Right. But what would be the difference between looking at what is possible in the future and making either a hypothesis or suggesting that that has already taken place.


Right. So that's the leap, right, that you need to make, which is to say that if we can do it, now Let's imagine a civilization that was a million years ahead of us, a thousand years ahead of us, even 200 years ahead of us, right? But certainly a thousand years ahead of us. So where will computers be in a thousand years? They would already have created these types of simulations, right? Because if we can do it... Now, 50 years ago, we didn't know if we could do it. We didn't know if computers could get to that point. Today, we're pretty sure we can get there. In fact, I'd say that I'm 70 % sure that we will get to the simulation point, which means I think there's a 70% chance we're living inside a simulation. And so the point is, if they already got there, they created a whole bunch of simulations. And you can't tell the difference whether you're in the real world or a simulated world. So there's 99 of these. There's one of these, but you can't tell the difference. So which one are you more likely in? Just statistically speaking, now, we're not even projecting the technology forward.


We're just saying it's more likely you're in one the 99 than the one because there's so many more of these.


Sort of.


If you can't tell the difference.


If you can't tell the difference. But there's so many things you have to think about. There's so many things you have to take into consideration. One of them is we don't have a straight linear line from the moment that we're born to the moment that we exist in currently. The reason being is that we go to sleep every night. Right. It's a weird thing. We shut off every night and we wake up intermittently, and you go back to bed. Maybe you have to pee. Maybe you're thirsty. You go back to bed, and then you wake up again. But when you wake up, you are just waking up. When I woke up this morning, I don't know if this is the life I've always lived. I'm assuming it is because I have all these detailed memories of the past. I see my dog. He reacts the exact same way he always does. I see my wife, I see my kids, I see my house. It's the same house that I remember, but I'm not sure. I just woke up. I'm a little foggy already.


It just exists in your memory at that point.


It just exists in your memory. This might be the first day of my life.


If suppose that you can implant false memories, right? Right. So this was a popular topic for Philip K. Dick, right? Yes. Movies like Total Recall, even in Blade Runner. You I interviewed his wife while I was researching my book.


He was a wild boy.


He was an interesting guy, right? Yeah. And he said some interesting things. In fact, all the way back in 1977, in Metz, France, at a sci-fi convention, he said, it was a pretty famous quote. He said, We are living in a computer-programmed reality, and the only clue we have to it is if some variable is changed, some alteration occurs in our reality. And that's become a famous quote in the simulation world. But if you listen to the rest of the quote, he says, Well, we would basically rerun the same events and we would change some variables, and we would have a sense of deja vu. Like, maybe we've already done this. Maybe I've talked to you before in a different run of the simulation. And this idea, after I wrote my first book on this topic, Simulation Hypotheses, this idea wouldn't leave me that, well, if you can run one simulation, you can certainly run it multiple times. In fact, that's what we would do. If we were running a simulation of the weather, we wouldn't just run it once. We would run it multiple times. And if we were doing a simulation of whatever, pandemic, anything, name it, we would change the variables and we would go forward.


And so when I interviewed Tessa, Phil K. Dick's last wife, she said that he came to believe this was really happening, that someone was altering with our reality, and they would change a few variables and you run the simulation forward. So now we're getting pretty deep in the rabbit hole. So this is the topic of my second book, which is called the Simulated Multiverse. This idea that each of these timelines could be like a different run of the simulation itself. So that gets a little weird at that point, right? Because now we're saying that time isn't the same thing that we think it is. So with the simulation hypothesis, we're saying that space doesn't really exist. It basically gets rendered for us like a video game. And then with this second idea, we're saying that time doesn't really exist because what you remember could have been either implanted memories or it could be a specific run of the simulation. So if you run it again, maybe things are slightly different the second time you run it. So Philip K. Dick came to believe that his novel, The Man in the High Castle, which It was turned into a pretty cool series.


I don't know if you've seen it. No. It was on Amazon a few years ago. But in the novel and in the series, Germany and Japan won World War II. You see in America, that's been divided. Like the East Coast is run by the Germans, the West Coast is run by the Japanese, and you see this fascist-type world. And so he later came to believe that this actually happened, and somehow the simulators reran it again. And the current timeline is one that was allowed to go forward, like further forward than where that one might have ended. And so he says that at some point, all these memories came flooding back to him of this other timeline. He called it, he used this Greek word, it's called an anamnesis, which means a loss of forgetfulness. So he said, we might be able to remember these other runs of the simulation. So anyway, that gets us into this whole idea of, is the past what we think it is? I think the question you were asking, right? Because you're like, if I just remember X, Y, Z, is that what actually happened? Or is it just a representation of the past in the present?


And so when I started looking into the quantum physics side of it, I found something really weird. We can talk about the observer effect, but this was even weirder than that. It was something proposed by John Wheeler, who was at Princeton with Einstein, and he was a bit younger than Niels Bohr and Einstein and all these forefathers of quantum mechanics. He came up with several things that I was talking about, but one of them is the delayed choice experiment or the cosmic delayed choice experiment, which puts into doubt this idea of the past. And since we're talking about the past, let's go into this now, if you mind. Okay. Imagine there's something like a quasar, and that's a billion light years away from us, right? And the light is coming from that quasar to here. So it's going to take a billion years to get here because it's a billion light years away. And then suppose there's something in the middle, like a black hole that's in the middle or a galaxy, something that's very gravitationally big. And so suppose the light has to go to the left or to the right of that object.


And suppose that object is like a million light years away from us. It's a lot closer, but it's still a million light years away. So the decision about when the light goes to the left or to the right would have to be made when. It would have to be made in the past, about a million years ago, because it takes light from that. Let's say it's a black hole. It's a million light years away, so it takes a million years for the light to reach Earth. And we can measure whether it went to the left or to the right. Well, it turns out that decision is in the past, as we think of it. But what the delayed choice experiment tells us is that that decision is made now when we measure that light, when the little telescopes, suppose we have two telescopes. One picks up on the left, one picks up on the right. And it's when we do the measurement, and until we do that measurement, both of those possibilities still exist. So we have these two possible paths. A million years ago, the light went to the left or to the right.


But which one happened isn't decided until the measurement is done today. So this is like Schrödinger's cat on steroids, right?


I'm not sure I totally understand this. Why is the decision made when you measure it?


Well, that's what the experiment showed with quantum mechanics. Just like, okay, let's start with Schrödinger's cat because it's a simpler version. So Schrödinger's cat is this experiment where there's a cat in a box theoretical experiment. Nobody killing any cats. And there's some poison in there. And there's some radioactive material that has a 50 % chance of setting off the poison and 50 % chance that it won't, let's say, after an hour or so. And so after an hour, the chances that the cat is dead or alive is 50 %, because it's a 50 % chance. But what the observer effect and what quantum mechanics is telling us is that both of those possibilities exist. The cat both alive and dead until somebody looks at that box, the observer in this case. And so until then, the cat is in the state of superposition. And this is what makes quantum mechanics so weird. This is why Richard fineman, Nobel Prize winner said, Nobody understands quantum mechanics. And Niels Bohr said, If you're not shocked by this, then you haven't understood it. Because to us, the cat has to be alive or it has to be dead.


And we don't know until we see.


We don't know until we see, but it's only one in common sense tells us it's one of those. But quantum mechanics, through the double slit experiment and the observer effect says both of those possibilities exist in the present until the time when someone looks and someone measures that result. So then we say the superposition, which is two states, comes down to one state. So the cat is both alive and dead. And then when somebody measures it, it's either alive or dead. And we're in one of those states. Right. Okay.


Right. I understand what you're saying, but isn't it really just that we don't know until we open the box? And it's not that the cat is both alive and dead. The cat is either alive or dead. We just haven't figured it out yet until we open the box.


That's what it would seem like, right? That would be like common sense point of view, right? But what all the physicists have been telling us now for almost 100 years, right, going back to the 1920s, '20s, when quantum mechanics first started to get formalized, is that that's not actually the case. That what happens is you have this probability wave and that there are different probabilities of the cat being alive or dead. Now, of course, they weren't talking about cats.


The cat is maybe too simplistic. It's like a placeholder. You know what I'm saying?


Yeah. It's a way for somebody to think about this at a high level. So Schrödinger, who was one of the founders of quantum mechanics, through his wave equation, he basically came up with this because he thought the whole idea was ridiculous. He's like, look, you can't have a cat that's both alive and dead. So this is a ridiculous experiment, except it's become the way in which we explain this weird effect about quantum mechanics.


And the weird effect of quantum mechanics is things can be both moving and still at the same time, which is superposition, right?


Right. Or they can be in two different states, which could be moving and still, could be alive or dead, or they're really talking about particles. So then it could be like left rotated or right located or right rotated. So you've got all these properties, but they can be in different states. And this is the basis for quantum computing, by the way. You've probably heard about new quantum Some computers that are- I have, but I totally don't understand it. So it's the same thing as Schrödinger's cat, whereas we have a bit of information, right? So what are the values that a bit can have? It's like zero or one. That's it. That's like the basic unit information. And the bit can only have one of those values. Like on my iPhone or my laptop. If you look down all the way down into hardware, you can look at the registers. When I was at MIT, we actually built a computer in class from scratch. You'll see there's some voltage that says this is a one or this is a zero. That's it. All the computing, everything we're doing with video streaming, all that stuff comes down to having a bit that can be either a zero or a one.


It has to be one or the other. It can't be both. So quantum computing has these things called qubits. Okay, Q-U-B-I-T-S, qubits, which a qubit is like Schrödinger's cat. It doesn't just have a value of a one or a zero. It is in superposition. Superposition means a superset of all the positions that are possible. So how many possibilities are there in a bit, two, right? Zero and one. So a qubit is a superposition of a bit, which means it has both values, zero and one, until someone measures that bit. And so theoretically, that's what allows quantum computers to solve problems that grow exponentially, that are really big. And we're still in the early stages. But if you think of an exponential growth problem, like cracking encryption. It can be done by a regular computer. You can set up your laptop to crack. It'll take like a thousand years or something, right? Because you have to go through every single possible value. So if you have 64 bits, that's like 2 to the 64 values, which is huge. In fact, there's an old story about the Indian king and the wise man who played chess that illustrates the story of how big that number gets when you have exponential growth.


So there was a king who liked to play chess, and no one wanted to play chess with him anymore because he kept winning. And finally, there's this wise man. He's like, Please play chess with me. And the wise man says, Okay, I'll play chess with you. If I win for the first square on the chess board, you give me one grain of rice. And then the second square on the chess board, you double that, two grains of rice, and you double that to four grains of rice and six grains of rice. So we're doubling in each square, right? King's like, okay, sure. No big deal. It's just a bunch of rice. And so It turns out when the wise man won, by the time you get to 2 to the 64, because there are 64 squares on the chess board, that basically it was more rice than would fit in all of India, right? That's an exponential problem. It just grows so fast. And the reason it grows is there are too many possibilities. But now this new thing called the qubit is coming along, and the qubit has both possibilities at the same time.


So if you have 64 bits and you take all the possible values of those 64 bits, you've got the same number of possibilities as the grains of rice we talked about. It's 2 to the 64. It's a very big number. It's 18 quintillion is the number. It was a game called No Man's Sky. I don't know if you ever played it.




So it became famous because it was one of the first games to have an almost infinite number of planets.


Oh, is this the game where it just creates a universe? Yeah.


It's boring at heard. Yeah, it It's boring at first. I haven't played it in a while. I just looked at it. But it procedurally generates everything for you. Because there's no way a team... I was in the video game industry. There's no way a team could create 18 quintillion worlds. It turns out that's the number of worlds they have in that game, because that is what, 64 bits? That's the biggest number you can get if you use 64 bits.


All right.


Okay, so come back to... That's exponential growth. It's just too big. And so with a quantum computer, theoretically, and these are pretty new right now, right? Amazon has one, Microsoft has one, IBM has one that you can actually program online, Google has their own. Everyone's trying to figure out how to make these qubits stable and work. But the basic idea, and I don't know what number we're up to, for a while, it was like you could only have four bits, qubits. It's like going back to the old... When we were young, the Apple 2 or whatever came out. And Before that, there were these small 8 bit processor-based kits that people would assemble. And they just couldn't have a lot of data because they just couldn't keep track of that many bits. And that's where quantum computers are today. But the idea is if you can have 64 qubits cubits, you can instantaneously solve a problem that is exponential because you can explore all of those at the same time. And then when you measure the result, it's all now. Nobody knows exactly how this works. But the two explanations... Coming back, sorry, I know I'm wondering a bit.


Coming back to Schrödinger's cat, we say there's two possibilities, right? So with 64 cubits, there's 2 to the 64 possibilities. If they're all superposition. They have all the possible values of it. And so basically, when you measure that, it brings it back. And so physicists call this the collapse of the probability wave. It's a probability of all these possibilities, and then it comes down to one. And that's the best, one of the accepted ways that people think this whole thing works. But nobody totally knows. So another guy who was John Wheeler's grad student at Princeton came up with another idea. And we've heard about this idea from the superhero movies, right? And this is the multiverse idea, right? Yeah. And so basically, he said that if you've got Schrödinger's cat, what happens is you're splitting the universe into two different universes. In one of them, the cat is alive, and another one, the cat is dead. So that's the multiverse idea, is that when we measure it, we only see one of those two because we're in this universe. But if we happen to be in this other universe, the cat would have been dead.


The cat is alive here. And so that creates a whole series of possibilities, which are being used now in superhero stories all the time. You've got your different versions of Batman, your different versions of Superman.


Spider-man. Yeah.


Yeah, the famous Spider-Man meme where you have the Spider-Man all pointing at each other. Yeah. And they have the different actors. So that idea has started to catch on now It's what I like to call it's past the 10-year-old test. And the 10-year-old test is when a scientific idea gets out there so much that even 10-year-olds can understand it because of superhero movies or because... In the 1930s, when they were trying to explain Superman, how does Superman get his powers, you say, oh, he came from another planet. He came from a planet called Krypton. So even a 10-year-old in the 1930s could have understood that. But in the 1730s, you couldn't say that. No one would know what the heck you're talking about. And so that idea diffused through society. And so that's happening now with the multiverse idea, too. It's diffusing through society in this way, through popular culture and media narratives and stuff. That's the other explanation for how all this weirdness, quantum weirdness works, which is it's the multiverse. People said, how can a quantum computer theoretically solve a problem that would take thousands of years for a regular computer to solve.


And one explanation, a guy named David Deutsch out at Oxford says, well, because it's looking at all the possible values of the bits, there's that many different universes. And it's computing in all of those universes instantaneously. And then it's bringing back the value that you want at the end. And that becomes your answer. So I think we've gone a little bit away from the original question.


It seems like that's inevitable with the subject.


Yeah, this subject does tend to take you down many different rabbit holes. And I think your original question was about memory, right? And how do we know that the memory? So the reason I went down this rabbit hole on the quantum physics stuff in the multiverse, which, by the way, that's the subject I wrote a whole second book on simulation theory just for that, which is simulated multiverse. Because the reason scientists like this multiverse idea is that mathematically, you can figure out how the equations work in all these different worlds. Whereas with the first idea, which is the Copenhagen interpretation, you have all these possibilities, you have a probability wave, and then suddenly you're down to one, and nobody can explain that mathematically. Nobody can say, how does the collapse occur? There's no little equation you can pop And so that's why it's called the observer effect, and it's considered a big mystery. Like, is it the act of observation? Is it the act of measurement? So all these physicists are debating with each other. So they don't like the Copenhagen interpretation because it seems to rely on consciousness or some an observer. And scientists hate that, right?


They hate to talk about consciousness being real. And we'll get into the whole religious aspects of the simulation hypothesis in a little bit. So they're like, well, this one's nice because the mathematics all work. The multiverse idea. But the problem with the multiverse idea is that it's not what scientists like to call parsimonious, which means that what's happening is there's a new universe splitting off all the time, right? Every time there's a quantum, we're talking about quantum decisions. We're not really talking about big things like cats. We're talking about little decisions that occur within a nanosecond. And so every time there's a decision, you're splitting off to a new physical universe. So think about, now we're talking exponential growth, but on steroids, right? Because it's just infinite. It just keeps going, right? And that's a weird concept that there would be so many physical universes being created. And so where I came out on this subject is, well, guess what? Simulation hypothesis gives you a way to look at both of these, a framework that makes it make sense, right? I mean, this is what people say when you look at quantum mechanics, they say, How can it make it make sense.


Because the cat should be alive or dead. How can it be both? And so when you think of information and you think of the simulation idea, the core of it is that the world is not physical. This table seems pretty physical, right? But if you go and you look inside, it's mostly empty space, something like 90 some %, maybe 99 %. And then you go to the atoms and you look inside those and it's mostly empty space, right? There's these electron clouds and stuff. But except for the nucleus, it's mostly empty space. And the problem is, like these Russian dolls, if you keep looking inside, they keep looking for this thing called physical matter. And they can't find it. It's not really there. It's like you go to the very smallest of the Russian dolls, and the only thing they can find is information. And so John Wheeler, who I talked about earlier, he plays an outsized role in at least my explorations of simulation theory. He came up with a phrase, and his phrase was, It from bit. So if there's something that's an it, a physical object like this cup or this table, that if you just keep looking down, you have a microscope that just keeps going down.


He goes, in the end, the only thing you find are particles. But what the heck are particles? He said, Well, the only thing that particles really are is a series of answers to yes, no questions. So it's like, does the particle spin up? Does it spin down? It's got various different polarities and things. So he said, In the end, the only thing you have are bits of information because that's a bit. Every single decision is a bit, yes or no, one or zero. That's the fundamental unit of computation. That's how we, like I said, stream video, everything else. And so he said, everything that's in it is actually from bits of information. And there's a whole new field within physics, which is called digital physics. So in the past, physics was about physical objects moving around. And so digital physics is about information, like what happens to information in the universe? Does it get destroyed in a black hole? Does it get created? So instead of conservation of momentum and conservation of energy, you have conservation of information. So it's like a different way of looking at the physical world. You look at it as a computation rather than looking at it as physical objects moving around, like in classical physics.




The problem is we do live in a physical world as far as we can tell. But then if you measure the actual things in the physical world, then And you get to this weirdness.


Exactly. You get to this weirdness down at the bottom level.


The very core of it all. Like, what is going on as far as we can measure?


Right. And there's a limit. We can only measure up to the smallest unit, which is called the plunk.


But as we go deeper, we get less answers, and it gets more weird.


It gets more weird, and it starts to look less like the physical world exists and more like it's a bunch of information that gets rendered as we observe the world or as groups of people observe the world.


Have you ever taken this back as far as you can and try to figure out what created this or what possibilities could have created this, or was there ever a physical world?


Well, that's a good question. So where I ended up with this was looking at how the world gets rendered as you observe it. For me, my background is, as I said, a computer scientist and a video game designer and developer, is that that's pretty much how we render video games, right? So if you and I are in the same... Our avatars are in the same field or the same room about to shoot each other in a video game, we're not really in the same room, are we? You're rendering it on your screen, and I'm rendering it on my screen, right? And so there's information that's coming from the server. And then what happens is we render only the part that we can see. Only that view around your avatar, you could be first person point of view, or you could be hovering over your character, or many video games do that these days, like a a third person or second person point of view. But the only pixels you need to render on my computer are the ones that my avatar can see. And the only ones you need to render on your computer are the ones your avatar can see.


And those get cached on the server. And so they get sent out. And so it's an optimization technique. There's no way in the 1980s, like when I was growing up, we had the Apple 2 computers or whatever. There's no way you could render a full 3D world or a full 3D game like we play today. And So what happened was we learned, not only did the computers get faster, but we learned optimization techniques. So everything in computer science comes down to optimization, usually. Physicists are happy just saying, yeah, it's infinite, but without really wondering what the heck that means. But with computer science, you only have limited resources, typically. And so you need to figure out how to compute something with those limited resources. And so video game rendering, to me, is a case of optimizing so that it looks like there's a shared physical world, but there really isn't, because it's being rendered on each of our own computer. But the rule is only render that which you can see. Now, when I started to look at this weirdness in quantum mechanics, which is saying, render only that which is observed or measured, depending on how you look at it.


But even if you measure it, somebody's got to look at that measurement before you know it was actually measured. So it's the same thing going on. In my opinion, quantum mechanics ends up being a optimization technique for rendering of the physical world from the information that lives below. So that's the one big implication of simulation theory that I is very important. Actually, the idea of the universe as information is not that controversial. I was in London this summer over at the Cambridge University, spending a little bit of time doing some AI research, and I ran into this Nobel Prize winner, physicist from the '70s. We were talking simulation theory, of course. I said, Well, one of the key assumptions here is that the world is information. He said, Yeah, that's not controversial in physics at all anymore. It might have been once upon a time. But then the second part, the second assumption that comes up in simulation theory is that the world is rendered like a video game and that the world is a hoax. It's some a hoax, like it's not really real. That's the other assumption that physicists don't necessarily agree with, but that's the other part of simulation theory.


What's the argument against it?


Against simulation theory?


Against that it doesn't physically exist. If they disagree.


Well, they don't disagree It's not necessarily necessary that it doesn't physically exist. They just disagree that how does it that this thing that is information gets rendered for us? It's like we're talking different languages for them. Even though quantum mechanics is telling us all this weird stuff, they're still, I think, often taking a classical mechanical view of the world of physical objects moving around, and that's all it is. There's arguments that people make against the idea that we live in a simulation. The first is the same argument that there was a famous guy named Bishop Berkeley. The city of Berkeley is named after him. I think it was George Berkeley. He was a bishop in the UK. He came up with this idea of idealism, this philosophical idea that the world doesn't really exist. It's only in the mind. And there was this other guy, I think it was Johnson, who said, How do you refute that? And he kicks a rock and he goes, That's how I refute it. See, it's physical. It's there. And so that's the first common sense way people try to refute the idea. But of course, that's not what the physicists are saying.


The physicists are the one telling us that the world doesn't really exist, that it consists of information and space-time gets constructed out of that information. So that's one of the biggest, I think, issues. Another way that people try to push back on the idea of simulation theory is they say, well, it's not really falsified reliable. So I can't design an experiment that proves we are not in a simulation. So this touches on the boundary issues of science. Where does science end? And where does philosophy begin? Where does metaphysics begin? Where does metaphysics begin? Where does religion begin? And those lines are actually fuzzier than you might think, because there's been a debate over that for a long time now, for hundreds of years, about what is scientific and what isn't. And things like UFOs and paranormal phenomena and all this stuff gets pushed out beyond that boundary. But so one definition that a guy named Popper came up with was If it's not falsifiable, it's not scientific. Meaning if you can't prove that it's false. The problem with that is there are lots of things that we can't prove that they're false, but we can find some evidence that these things actually happen or that these things exist.


A couple of hundred years ago, there were stories of rocks falling from the sky, and all the scientists, like in Paris, said, Oh, though, that's just bullshit, right? That's just a bunch of peasants out in the countryside. We know there's no rocks falling from the sky. Why? Because we know there's no rocks in the sky, our science tells us. There's no rocks up there, so how the hell could they be falling from the sky? So that's not really a falsifiable thing. How can you to prove there's no rocks in the sky. You really can't. But you can prove, and eventually they did, because they got a whole... There was some huge meteor storm outside of Paris, and some guys went out to investigate, and there were thousands of witnesses that saw this thing. And then eventually, they looked at some of the artifacts, some of the physical evidence. And then eventually, they changed their model, their cosmological model about the universe. And so I think it's the same thing with simulation theory, even though you can't prove we're not in a simulation because the simulation could be so good. The matrix was pretty convincing at first, right?


But the simulation could be so good that you can't necessarily tell. But at the same time, you can design experiments which might indicate to you that there's something going on like this video game, rendering idea. And there are folks out there trying to run experiments to try to show So that this is really what's happening with quantum mechanics is that like a video game, this whole world is being rendered for us. Information being rendered just like a video game.


And the effect that consciousness has on this world. So consciousness is the thing that we're using to measure or the thing that we're using to interact with whatever possibilities exist.


Right. And so that in the RPG version, this is why I like to make the distinction between the RPG version and the NPC version. So in the RPG version, we are plugged in like Neo in the back of the head or with a virtual reality headset or some technology yet to be developed. And so when you play a video game, it's not enough that the pixels are there. I mean, you basically are watching that game, right? As the player. And when you're not watching, what happens? You just turn it off. You turn off your computer. What happens? Well, there's still the information going on on the server. Maybe other people are playing, but it doesn't need to render it at that point. It's just the server can keep track of where everything is. It's what we did when we created video games. We would send down information. And in fact, you can then turn around and do something very interesting. If you're a level 30 player, and a level two player, our avatars could be standing right next to each other. One could see the dragon, and one might not be able to see the dragon because maybe we don't have that ability in the game.


We're not at a high enough level. But the server logic is deciding that. So consciousness then becomes the player in that model of simulation theory, and it renders the world for us. And it turns out that is very similar to what the world's religions have been telling us, right? Not just one or two of the world's religions. When I wrote my book, The Simulation Hypotheses, I gave it a subtitle of why AI, quantum physics, and Eastern mystics agree we're in a video game. I was thinking primarily of the Eastern mystics, like in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions and the yogis. And they talk about the term Maya. Most people have probably heard that term in karma and all these different terms. But Maya means illusion. That's how it gets translated. It's like an ancient Sanskrit word. And so these mystics are telling us that the world isn't really real. It's a illusion. But if you really look at the definition of that word Maya, It means something more like a carefully crafted illusion. It's almost like if you go to a magic show, and you know the guy's not really sawing that woman in half.


But you agree to your disbelief because that's what makes the whole thing fun. Watching a magic show or watching a special effects, Blade Runner 2049, the car is not really flying. Those are just CGI. But we agree to that to a certain extent as we go into that world and we become immersed in that world. And so what the mystics in the Eastern traditions have been telling us is that we agree to basically go into this illicory world in order to have these experiences. Sometimes people say, well, what's the purpose of the simulation? And I say, well, why do you play video games? And why do you play video games?




Fun is one. Two is to try to have experiences that you probably can't have outside of the game. Even Grand Theft Auto, right? You're not going to go out there and do all that crazy stuff in the real world. Well, some people might, but most people wouldn't. And you're not going to... I can't fly on a dragon and kill orcs as much as I might want to.


Especially with no real-world consequences.


Exactly. So that's one of the reasons. But there are consequences within the game, right? And for the characters in the game, for the NPCs that you're killing, right? Those are all real consequences within the game. But when you look at it from outside the game. And so the Eastern mystics have been telling us this, and it turns out in the Judeo-Christian Islamic traditions, the Abrahamic religions, they've also been telling us this, that the world is Maya, and they use Metaphors back then. So all these religions came about a couple of thousand years ago, and so they had to use metaphors that were understood by the people back then. And so they used whatever the metaphor of the dream was a key metaphor, that the world is like a dream, or that the soul puts on the body like a set of clothes, and that when you die, you take off these clothes. And then you're back to the soul, whatever that happens to be. They don't really define what that is. In fact, they use the exact same metaphor, like in the Bhajjavad Gita, they use this clothing metaphor. And then Rumi, who's become popular in the West and was an Islamic Sufi, a poet, but also a mystic, he used the exact same phrase.


He said, You put on the body, you put like a series of clothes. And so they use that metaphor to try to describe something, which is the second part of the idea of the simulation hypothesis. The first idea was the world is information that gets rendered, and the second part is the world is some a hoax that we are a part of for whatever reason. And so in In the traditions, over time, they've tried to update these metaphors, and they've tried to use new technology to describe the metaphors, because that's how we can, as modern people, we can understand it. So about 100 years ago, there was a guy named Swami Yogananda. He came over from India. He was one of the first Indian yogis, swamis, to really live in the US. And he wrote a book called Autobiography of a Yogi. I don't know if you ever read it. Yes, I read it. Oh, you read it? Oh, great. Yeah. In the '60s, it was like the book, one of those books that everybody passed around. Steve Jobs, it was his favorite book. At his funeral, he gave everybody, or his memorial service, he gave everybody a little brown box.


They went home and opened the box and they found a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi in there. But so Yogananda came over about 100 years ago And he tried to update this old metaphor. And what was new technology back in the 1920s? It was movies, movie projectors. He said, The world is like a movie projector. You're playing these parts. The actors are playing the parts on the screen and things are happening to them. But really, the actors aren't necessarily dying. It's the characters that are suffering within the game, within the movie itself. And so he used that metaphor as a way to try to explain this ancient religious idea that's at the core of every single religion, which is that the world as we see it, is not really real, and there's a real world beyond this world. And so he updated the metaphor to use movie projectors. And if you've ever been, we've all been in movie theaters. If you look away from the screen, you can see the flickering of the light, right? And you can see everybody's so engrossed in it that they're not looking around. They don't know what's going on other than maybe having some popcorn or something.


And so today, I think we need to update those metaphors, particularly for younger generation who spent as much of their time in things like Fortnite or Roblox when they were younger as avatars. If we use the metaphor of a massively multi-player online game, and I think Yogananda, if you were alive today, in fact, my latest book, which I wrote after the simulation books, because it was the 75th of Autobiography of a Yogi a couple of years ago. And Harper Collins India asked me to write this book about what can you learn from Autobiography of a Yogi. And there's all these weird stories in there of some guy materializing a palace in the Himalayas out of nowhere. You've got levitating saints. You've got guys bilocating, disappearing, all kinds of crazy shit going on. And I said, well, you sure you want me to write this book? I'm an entrepreneur and a computer scientist. They said, yeah, because we want you to use your technology metaphors like the simulation hypothesis to explain this stuff. And so if Yogananda were alive today, and I wrote this in my new book called Wisdom of a Yogi, what he would say is, it's like a movie, but where are the actors?


And we're also the audience, and we have a script, and we're playing the script, but we can change the script if we want. What does that sound like? It sounds like a massively multi-player online role-playing game. So I think that metaphor store is a great way to try to explain this idea of the soul and the body within the religious traditions. That's the RPG version of the simulation hypothesis.


And how do you go through life with this information? Does this information affect the way you feel about things on a day-to-day basis? If you have these theories and you have this concept in your mind of the true nature of the universe, of reality itself, how does that work with the physical carbon tissue? How do you deal with that?


Well, so the way that I like to think of it, and originally I was just putting these concepts- You seem very happy.


This seems like something that would freak people out to the point where they would get so much existential angst and It's so bizarre that it would be hard to just be present. But you seem very present.


Right. Because it gets back to how you think about if it's an NPC game, it would freak people out, right? Right. We're just... This is like the materialist view of the world. Right. Which is while the computer's on, you're here, computer gets shut off. Excuse me. Everybody's gone. But in the RPG version, it's a little bit different, right? So when you play a game... When you play a game, when I was a kid, we used to play Dungeons of Dragons when I was a teenager, and you have a character sheet, and you'd roll your dice and you'd say, I'm going to be an elf or I'm going to be human, and my occupation is a lizard or a barbarian. And then you roll the dice and you get all these different attributes, like charisma, intelligence, whatever they were. I don't even remember all of them now. Dexterity, all of these things that help you in some way. And it's like you're choosing to play this game in this illicidial world. And I believe that this is similar to what happens to us when we come into this world, if in the RPG version, that we end up choosing a character with a set of parents and a set of strengths and weaknesses.


And more than that, like a storyline, things that we might want to do. And we're free when we play the game. We're free to make different choices if we want within the game. But you've got these challenges or requests. What makes a video game interesting or fun? So there's a guy who is the founder of Atari. I don't know if you ever met him, Nolan Bushnell. But he was pretty much the grandfather of the video game industry. He created Pong back in the day and then created Atari. And he said there was a rule for how to make a game interesting. He said, make it easy to play, but difficult to master. Because if it's not easy to play, people are going to just throw it away. But if it's easy to master, they're going to play for a little while and then they're going to go. But if you make it easy to play but difficult to master, that keeps people playing the game. And so I think if you take this view, you can view the whole world, particularly your life and your story, as a series of quests and challenges, things that come up for you that you may or may not be able to achieve the first time around, because we have difficulty levels, don't we, in games?


Some people have an easier. They want to play the game where life's easy. Other people want to play the game where life is really tough. Like actors, when do they win academy awards?


Tough roles.


Yeah, exactly. Tough roles, right? The ones that really suffer, typically, too. Yeah. Right. And, Swamma Yogananda and a lot of the Eastern mystics will say that suffering is the nature of this world, right? That's why we're here is to experience this. But even in the Western traditions, there's a similar idea. So I started to look up different traditions in Islam. In the Quran, there's a whole series of verses, and they say, We have set up this world as a pastime, as a game for you, as a sport. This world is really, they use this Arabic word, el-gharuri, which means a delusion, but it means like an enjoyable delusion. Enjoyable in quotes because it depends on what you enjoy, right? Like getting in and playing a really tough role. Maybe what you enjoy, but that's not fun for the character to go through all that crap that they have to go through, right? And so I think we can view the world as a series of questions and challenges. Now, the next question is, well, what's the nature of the game, right? I don't believe the game is Grand Theft Auto. That's not the type of game we're playing.


So I think we can turn to people that have died, near-death experiencers. I don't know if you had any on your show. You may have over the years. But there was a guy named Daniel Brinkley who wrote a book called Saved by the Light back in the '90s. He got struck by lightning. And this was how I first heard about this thing, which is called the Life Review. And a lot of near-death experiencers, they report these series of stages of things that happen to them, like they're floating above their body, they go through a tunnel of light, We've heard all of this. But the most important part for me in these stories, and you haven't got thousands of people, right? You can just go on YouTube and listen to any of these near-death experiencers. But what Daniel called this thing called the Life Review, was he called it a Holographic Panoramic Review of your Life. And what that means, and other near-death experiencers reported this, maybe about 20% of them, that you go through every single moment that you ever lived in this virtual reality, three-dimensional panorama, but you see it from the point of view of everybody else.


So if you were mean to someone, if you stabbed someone, or in In his case, he was in Special Forces in Vietnam, and he actually killed people. He said he had to experience what it was like to get the bullet. And then more than that, experience what happened after that guy died, his wife, the guy who died, his wife and children, what suffering they experienced. So it's like you're reviewing, like after a football game, right? Or after a match. You might sit there and review on the screen what happened. Except this screen is fully immersive. The It's the best VR you could ever have. It's like you're reliving the moment. So a couple of years ago, I was involved with a startup in Silicon Valley, and we took a game like League of Legends. You probably heard of League of Legends, the most popular, at least it as an esports game, right? And you've got all these guys on a field, but pretty much you play on a 2D screen. So we made it so you could replay the game, but you would put on a virtual reality headset, and it would seem like you were on the field in League of Legends, and you could replay from any point of view.


Same with counterstrike global offensive was the one that I was thinking of because in that game, it's a first-person shooter, so you're shooting people. And so literally, you could go back and replay that game from the point of view of the person you shot. And so when I was experiencing this, it was reminding me of all these things these near-death experiences Answers have been telling us about this life review. And as an engineer and computer scientist, my question is always, well, how does that work? I mean, if you could replay every single moment in your life, even the moments when you weren't there, including what happened to this guy's wife and what happened to their children, somebody has to record all that stuff. Because how are you going to replay it if it's not being recorded? So perhaps this whole game is being recorded just like we do, in fact, on YouTube, the most popular content other than the Joe Rogan experience, is video games content. I remember my nephew, when he was three years old, before he was even going to school, he would say to his father, my My brother, I want to watch Star Wars.


My brother was like, You want to watch the movie? No, I want to watch that man and that woman play the Star Wars game on YouTube. It was like he was just watching them replay a recording of the video game on YouTube. And so this life review thing, which is at that crux of near-death experiences, I think gives us a clue and an interesting clue, which ties back to your question to me, which is, how do you go? How do you live with this stuff? And I say, Well, what If all of this is being recorded and you're making choices and you're going to have to review it afterwards.


Like the concept of when you die. Exactly. St Peter reviews your life.


That's right. So in the Christian traditions, you have Saint Peter, you have the Book of Life, right? Which theoretically, depending on who you ask, the recording angel has written down whether you get into heaven or not by reviewing your life. Well, it turns out in the Islamic traditions, they get much more explicit about what that is. They call it the scroll of deeds. Now, of course, remember, 2000 years ago, they had to call it something people would understand. The scroll of deeds, there's two angels. You've probably seen in the movies, in the animated movies, they'll have the angel and the devil. That comes out of the Islamic traditions. There's these two angels, they're called the Kiremen Ketaben, and they're sitting down and writing. Now, one's writing down all your good deeds and one's writing down all your bad deeds. What it says in the tradition religion. When I delve into these different traditions, it's not so much to say, Okay, this religion is right and that one isn't, but to say, What's in common across all these religions? Because that part is probably right. If these guys are coming to that independently, all the other stuff, maybe.


I won't criticize for you. If you're believing the other stuff, that's up to you. But that stuff is probably at the core of this thing called life and what happens after life. And so what it says in the Islamic Traditions is, your book will be laid open for you after you die, and you will be the reckoner. So we think of Judgment Day, and we think of all this stuff. But what it's actually saying, now, that's a metaphor. It doesn't mean there's angels with a feather pen writing down in Chinese, this is what happened this day, or in Arabic. The only thing that makes sense is you would basically just record the entire 3D scene, and you would play it back for yourself, which is exactly what near-death experiencers describe when they talk about the life review. It's like this. They're sitting there, there's a screen, and then suddenly they get pulled into the screen, and they replay all of this stuff. And there's usually an angel, or they might call him God, or they might say it's Jesus, or they might say it's a being of light. Different experiencers say different things. But they say, that guy doesn't judge you.


You're looking at it saying, oh, crap. I was going to try to be a better person to my wife this time around, and I wasn't. And I did this or I did that or my kids or And they tell us that the moments that matter are the small moments in how you treat other people. That's the thing you're most proud of or you're like, damn, I treated that person in grade school. We all made fun of her and I should have been her friend. Those are the things that really matter. So if that's the game, you always think, what's the objective of the game? Then I think it gives us a very different perspective and a way to think about life. So So that's one big answer for me. The other is we go through lots of difficulties in life. We go through financial difficulties, go through health difficulties. And these can seem pretty tough. But if we just think of them as a quest with a difficulty level that's higher that we might have to get through, there might be some purpose to that. And that ties to the idea of karma, particularly within the Eastern traditions.


Where if you think of karma as a... Most people think of karma as, Hey, you shot me. I'm going to shoot you in this life. That's a very simplistic view of karma. What karma is actually about is about your thoughts, your desires and your actions, which then create situations in the future, whether in this life or a future life. So of course, in the Eastern traditions, you have the reincarnation idea, which you don't necessarily have in the Western traditions. But that karma is about basically a list of information that follows you around from life to life. So you might have a different body in the next life, but that information is still there. Where does it live? I'm from Silicon Valley. I like to say it's in the cloud, right? That's where we store all our information. It's in the database in the cloud.


Which is also a bizarre thought because it's not a cloud. Yeah, it's not really a cloud. Why are we even saying that? Why is that so ubiquitous? That I know. It's such a stupid term.


It's got it. The first time I heard it. The cloud? I was scratching my head.


What does that even mean? It's such a stupid way to describe something that's really complex, and you could actually trace where it is.


Right, exactly. And so I like to think of it as the reason we call it the cloud is because you don't know exactly where the server is. It could be one of a million servers somewhere out there. Amazon has a huge warehouse, which is AWS and all the servers are running there. In the past, I used to do software before the cloud. You would set up your own servers or you'd have your own data center and everything. You would say, this is how many 386s we have. This is how many. Now it's just out there somewhere. I don't know where the heck it is. It's out there. And so I like to think of the cloud as in a video game, we have the rendered world, right? So you're watching the video game. You can see the greenery and everything. But you also got all that other information there, right? Right. Like you got the HUD, the heads-up display, you got your inventory, you got your level, you got all this stuff, you got your list of quests. And so where is that information? It's not in the physical world. But it's there somewhere. It's on a server somewhere, right?


Right. And so I like to think of karma as a database of quests or achievements or experiences that we still need to have. And what happens is this database just keeps getting bigger and bigger as we create more desires and situations and actions and things that we do with people. And then sometimes you have karma to resolve with somebody. There's the old idea of you meet somebody, you feel like you've known them for a while. You're irresistibly drawn to someone and you don't know why to have some particular experience, whatever that experience is. And so within certain traditions, they view that as perhaps when you were planning it, it's like a... I like to think of it as like a raid or a guild in a video game. You say, okay, here's some other people. We're going to do this together. Later on, at some point while we're playing the game, we're going to have this particular experience of being business partners or lovers or enemies or whatever the case, whatever the situation is. But this idea that these experiences could be there for a reason when we have tough experiences is, I think, something that can be comforting.


I know it was for me when I went through certain health crises, for example, that we are here to experience some of these things. And so if you look at karma more deeply, there's a story from Autobiography of a Yogi that sounds unbelievable to people that I think is worth maybe just telling this story because people read that book and they say, did this guy just make this shit up? Did this stuff really happen? Or is this from the Arabian Night? So there's a story of this guy named Babhaji, who's supposedly lived for hundreds of years in the Himalayas and supposedly still there. So that's pretty weird to begin with. But there's a story of Yogananda's guru's guru, a guy named Lahiri, who went up into the mountains and meets this Babhaji. And Babhaji says, Lahiri, you have found me. Finally, I've summoned you to me. I've been watching you your whole life, and now I'm going to reinitiate you. Don't you remember you used to sit in this cave and you used to meditate with me? And there's your blanket. And Lahiri is like, I don't remember any of this stuff. He was like 30 He's like, I just got called out here for some government position.


And he says, Well, we need to initiate you in this yoga technique, and maybe you'll remember then. And so he initiates him, and he starts to remember all this stuff. And then he says, Okay, we're going to initiate you over there. And Lahiri looks and there's this golden palace that came out of nowhere, right in the middle of the Himalayas. And he says, We're going to initiate you in this palace. And it just came from nowhere. So So Yogananda is talking about the dream nature of the world and how yogis can manipulate it. But then Lahiri says, Well, one, how did you create this? Out of nothing. But two, why in this golden palace? And so this immortal figure in the story says, well, in a previous life, you expressed an interest, a real strong desire to live in a palace in a future life. And so I've created this dream palace for you. It's not really real, but you're seeing it in order to resolve that karma so that you don't have to go live a whole life in a palace. That karma is done now. Take that off the database. So I use that to show that sometimes we put things into the database of karma based upon our strong desires, and that becomes part of our script in life.


How did I know I wanted to be a computer programmer? I don't know. Why do some people want to become podcasters or fighters or comedians? It's like we have these things inside of us that sometimes feel they're like something we're just drawn to. It's just something we're meant to do now. Malcolm Gladwell wrote that book. I think it's called Outliers, which says if you spend 10,000 hours doing something, you become an expert. My question is more, what drives somebody to spend 10,000 hours doing this versus that? When I have friends who are rock climbers, they've probably spent 10,000 hours climbing rocks. I don't have any desire to 10,000 hours. But I probably spent 10,000 hours programming when I was younger. It was just something I was nationally drawn to, I was good at. And I feel like these are part of the quests or achievements that we have in life.


And I think the most interesting people that I've ever met have gone through Quests. Rarely do I find interesting people that haven't experienced something difficult.


Yeah. I mean, in fact, it was partly for me going through some difficulty that got me to write this book, finally, because I've been thinking about it for years. So I ended up, I was at the height of my entrepreneurial career, had sold my video game company, the Japanese, to a Japanese company. I was at MIT running a startup program called Play Labs for video game companies. And then I ended up having heart issues, and I ended up having to get heart surgery, which if anybody's seen that, you can see it's pretty much the biggest cut, one of the biggest cuts you can make. And they kept saying, oh, yeah, a few months, it'll be fine. And what happened was after the heart surgery, I couldn't do anything for a while. I had this long recovery. It was probably the most difficult period in my life. And during that time, I would start to get better, and I would jump back in the business world, back into Silicon Valley. I was going to raise this big VC fund and do all this stuff. And my health would deteriorate again.


From the pressure, the stress?


It's a good question.


Just the amount of energy that you need to do these things, your body didn't use that energy to recover?


It could be that, right? But what I found was that I did have enough energy because every time I tried to do that, I'd end up back in the hospital for another procedure, right? It's no fun having hard procedures, let me tell you. But when I did have enough energy to do this other thing that I'd been wanting to do my whole life, which was to write more books. And so I had just enough energy to go to Starbucks and write work for an hour or two on the simulation hypothesis, which for me was a way to bring together all the threads of my life. I've been a computer scientist, I've been a video game designer. I spent a lot of time investigating different mystical traditions, shamanic stuff, the Without drugs, more of the shamanic journey. And I spent time with people who were investigating UFOs and religious people and academics who are complete matured list and don't believe in any of this stuff. And it was a way to bring this all together. And suddenly I found I had more energy When I did that, every time I tried to do something else, my health would start to deteriorate again.


And so eventually I got the message. So for the next couple of years, I just focused on writing. And that led to this book, The Simulation Hypothes. And I feel like it was part of my life plan. If you had asked me in high school, what are you going to do with your life? I would have said, I'm going to be a computer programmer, an entrepreneur, sell my company and become a writer. But I always thought I was going to do that, become a writer in my 20s. When this happened, I was already 48. So I had already... I was still in Silicon Valley, still playing the game, trying to build the next billion-dollar company, which is what everybody tries to do. The next unicorn, they call it in Silicon Valley. And it was like I got this message that there was another part of the story that I was neglecting. I had written some books, but it was like a hobby. I was doing it on the side. And then when I focused on it, suddenly it It was like I got the message pretty clearly during that time. This is a mystical experience.


I was going in and out of consciousness a lot while I was recovering. And I would just get the message, You're supposed to be writing. You're supposed to be writing. What the heck are you doing still out there trying to make money? That wasn't what we agreed to. This is what you were supposed to do. And when I did that, things just flowed much more easily. And the book went on to be quite successful, and I was able to write another book. And then as my health recovered, I realized there was another thing that I'd always wanted to do, which was be a professor in academia. And that's what I'm doing now. So I went back for a PhD after many years. And now I'm teaching classes on the simulation hypothesis, doing research on AI. So it was like these things that I wanted to do before and I never got to. But they were optional parts of the story. And we still have the ability to make choices. But sometimes a quest hits us or a situation hits us with a lot of difficulty. And maybe there's a bigger purpose to that. Maybe it has something to do with how we set up our character in the game and the choices that we're making.


And so now we're getting into the personal philosophy side of simulation, which I think is quite valid. That's probably the second, probably the biggest questions I get asked are, are we in a simulation? What's the percentage? And then what would it matter if we're in a simulation or not? And I think it can be a positive experience. And for, I think, people who grew up in the modern world with modern technology, it gives us a way to say, you know what? Maybe what all those religions were saying wasn't bullshit. It wasn't just stories that people made up, but they just didn't have the language to express something that a lot of people who have had near-earned experiences, they use the word ineffable, which means unable to be put into words. And so they can't really tell you what's out there, but they use these metaphors to try to describe it. And so I think whether you view simulation theory as a hard core physics thing or you view it as a metaphor for what this world is all about and how we go through our lives. I think there's value in looking at both of those angles.


And the metaphor side is what I think, actually, for me personally, and that was your question, how does this change the way that I view the world? It actually has changed the way that I view the world so that when I go through difficult situations, I step back. They don't bother me as much. I mean, they still bother me physically, but they don't bother me as much in other ways.


So you view them as challenges in this thing that you're doing. So instead of, woe is me? Oh, my God, how is this happening to me? Which is the way a lot of people interface with problems. You go, okay, this is the challenge that I'm presented with. How do I overcome this challenge and what feels like the thing to do?


Right. And why this challenge now?


Why this challenge now?


If there's a part of me that's outside watching this, maybe when I go to sleep or wherever, whenever, Why would it choose this particular challenge at this point in my life? What is it that it's meant to impact? And what is it that I need to learn? But yeah, I view it as a challenge rather than this is just a bad thing that's happened in many of these things.


And that seems like the right way to play the game, if it's a game.


Yeah. Not only does it seem like the right way, I think that is part of the purpose, right? So get back to the idea of Maya or illusion. So it's like we are agreeing to forget. The Greeks talked about the river of forgetfulness, Lethe. It's one of the five rivers in the world. But when you incarnate, Plato talked about this, you cross the and you forget everything outside of this physical world. In the Chinese traditions, you have the same thing. You have Meng Po, who's a goddess of forgetfulness. She brews the tea of forgetfulness, and you drink it and you forget what was going on before. And so getting back to this idea of everything being an illusion, you agree to forget, in my view, and I think within this way of viewing the world as a video game, in order to enjoy, and I put enjoy in quotes because that doesn't necessarily mean it's all fun and games, right? Right. It's maybe experience is a better word to use. To experience these things in life in a way that we forget. But it's okay sometimes, I think, to step out and maybe we remember a little bit of the storyline, or we recognize someone.


There was a hypnotherapist who wrote a book called Journey of Soles, Dr. Michael Newton. I don't know if you ever have heard of it. No. So he started with regression hypnosis, taking people back to their childhood. And every now and then, they ended up somewhere before their childhood, meaning before they were born. And so he had a bunch of patients, and he started to do this more and more. And they all described a similar type of thing, like where they existed before they were born. So these are sometimes called pre-birth memories now. And they talk about this time when they were choosing what a life they were going to have. And they would see on a screen, like a screen, again, metaphors, like timelines and say, at this point, if you choose to go to Austin or stay in Los Angeles or whatever, that takes you on this path, this takes you on that path. That you see this graph of possibilities out there for your life. And then some of them described having friends, like your friends list in a game. And that they would say, Okay, this is how you're going to recognize me in the game because I'm going to have on this avatar.


I'm using the term avatar because I talk about video games. They didn't necessarily use that. But they said, This is how you're going to recognize me. The first time you encounter me, I'm going to be on a red bicycle or something. In childhood, or I'm going to be wearing this dress at this dance, or whatever the case is. So they had these little clues for how they would recognize some of the people that they really wanted to have certain quests or experiences or achievements within the game, group quests, if you will, which is a little bit different than the quest as the difficult experience we're talking about. But they're all different kinds of quests, I would say. And so I think we can take that as an interesting way, again, another metaphor for how we think about life is that perhaps we've had some of these things laid out for us, but we're still free to make our choices along the way. And I think it gives us a richer experience of life as we go through the game.


Well, that's certainly the most beneficial way to interact with it, to just think of this whole thing as a game and to think of this whole game as This game will give you clues as to how to play it, and you'll have experiences that you can engage with, and you could say that you're enjoying them, or that you're getting pleasure out of that, or you're getting excitement out of that, or you're getting some fulfillment out of that. But you still have to play the game. So you're here.


Right. You're here one way. What are you going to do? One way or the other, right?


How are you going to deal with it? What's the beneficial way to go through this where you feel harmonious. I know if I feel like I'm wasting time or I'm doing nothing, I have this feeling like, what did you do with your day? It's a terrible feeling. Versus if I work and I get things done, at the end, I'm like, oh, I did it. I feel good. Okay, the universe, the game is telling me, You're on the right path. That's the way to do it.


Right. And I think that's the key is, We all get different messages for when we're on the right path and when we're not. I think we sometimes sense that. Sometimes things just flow easily, and other times, they don't necessarily. But yeah, I agree. I think viewing the game in that way, based on your own signals in your brain, in your body, that is telling you. Your intuition, right? Right. And there's different ways to think about that. Some people have suggested, like some physicists have suggested, that there are these possible futures and that they are sending back information from the future to the present. Because time doesn't really exist the same way. Again, when we get back into quantum mechanics, it starts to be weird. But there's a guy named Fred Allen Wolf, who was one of these Berkeley physicists in that book, How the Hippys Save Physics. I don't know if you ever heard of that book, but it was an interesting book about how people in quantum mechanics stopped thinking about what the heck does this mean because it was too complicated back in the '60s. And in the '70s, a group of hippie physicists, all PhD physicists in Berkeley, used to have this group and talk about what does this all mean?


One of the guys was Fritjof Capra, who wrote the Dow of Physics. Another, I think, was Gary Zoukow. And a bunch of these guys ended up looking at what does this all mean as opposed to just calculating, which is what physicists were doing at the time. So one of these guys talks about These futures are sending us information, and sometimes what we get are clues, saying that, Oh, this is a possibility. Maybe I should choose this over that. It's almost like the futures are sending back these messages to the past. And I think of that as different runs of the game. And it's possible there's a part of us that might be running the game forward as a simulation to try to see what might happen and then come back and then you make a choice based on this idea. There was some guys who wrote a paper recently about dreams as a way to simulate weird bad experiences, traumatic experiences, maybe preparing you for things in life. But when you start to think about the world as a simulation, again, you can simulate more than once. You can try out what might happen if you did X, what might happen if you do Y.


You watch the Lord of the Rings movies, right? Probably. If you look at what they did was before Peter Jackson, what they did was before they actually filmed the scene, they would create a previs, previsualization, using crude graphics and stuff. And you can see they played out what it might look like before they got around and did the act because it's so expensive in a movie to shoot a particular scene. So they would do this previsualization. And so perhaps there's a part of us that's watching the game that's doing this previsualization, and it's sending us clues about what might happen if we do X or what might happen if we do Y. And so that takes us even back to what I was talking about earlier with Philip K. Dick, right? And his idea that the universe, what happens is we actually go and we change variables and we rerun it. And we might have the sense that we're rerunning the same scene We're saying the same things, but something could be different. And usually something is different when you run the simulation. That's what got me into a whole another rabbit hole, which I cover in my second book, which is the Mandela effect.


I don't know if you've heard about the Mandela effect.


I have, but I don't necessarily totally understand it.


Yeah. Well, I dismissed the whole thing earlier. And the Mandela effect is when a small group of people remember something happening differently in the past than what is the majority consensus opinion.


And it's about Mandela being dead, right?


Well, that was the first thing that kicked off this blogger who actually coined the term. I think her name was Fiona Broome. It was just some people remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the '80s? But of course, he didn't die in prison, right? You can look it up. He got out of prison, became President of South Africa, won the Nobel Peace Prize, and died in whatever it was, more recently in 2013 or something like that. But the people who remember this, they remember it with just a whole bunch of specific details. His wife, Winnie, spoke at the funeral. There were certain US politicians or presidents there. And so what happened was that was one Mandela effect, if you will. And then there started to be all these other things that people remembered that were different. And some of these were There's relatively minor things, like the spelling of fruit loops or- Berens and bears. That's the most famous one, right? The Berenstein bears, right? Everybody, in fact, here, we can see it there, right? If you ask people, most people remember it as the Berenstein bears. But when you look at it, it's actually the Berenstein bears.


It's a relatively small change, but it's one that people are really confused about. Then there's the movies, the movie lines. In Star Wars, did he say, Luke, I am your father. Did D. V. Actually say that? Then there were entire episodes of Star Trek, where the Trekeies in the audience remembered this episode, and they're talking to the cast members of the original Star Trek, and the cast members are, We never shot this episode. What are you talking about? No, we saw it. This is what happened in the episode. And then you got the whole Simbad thing, which was a movie that he supposedly made called, was it Kazaam or Shazam? It was all called Kazaam, but there was actually a movie with Shaq called Shazam. Anyway, there's a whole bunch of these movie-related ones, right? And there's a bunch of these logo ones, like the Bernstein bears. But the more interesting ones come, I think, with events like Mandela. Do you remember Tianaman Square? What happened to that guy in front of the tank?


He stood in front of the tank and they removed him, right? They didn't run him over.


Right. That's what I remember, too, right? But there's a group of people who remember the tank running him over instead of the bloodiest thing they ever saw on television, right? This vivid memory of this thing, right? Or like the Reverend Billy Graham. I don't know when he died, but there are like these evangelical Christians who say that my parents follow this guy and they got A magazine with him on the cover saying he died many years earlier than he actually died, right? And they remember it vividly. And so those events start to become interesting. But the ones that I find really interesting are the ones where there's some interesting evidence, like scripture, right? So people take their scripture pretty seriously, right? Like, do you know the line in Isaiah about the lion and the lamb?


I don't remember it.


Yeah, but you remember there was a line about a lion and a lamb. Well, it turns out there isn't. It has something, the wolf shall lie with a lamb or something like that. What's weird is that people have little wall clocks and things with a picture of a lion and a lamb.


But it's not even in the scripture.


It's not in the scripture, right? And I thought, okay, well, maybe it's a translation thing. Maybe one version of the King James Bible has it and the other one. And people are like, no, I have my same physical copy from when I was a kid, and I memorized this particular line. And there are websites that track these different lines, different things that maybe have changed.


And what do you think these things are?


Well, so I started to wonder, does this happen in other scriptures? Is it only in the Bible, this is going on? And so I started looking around at Islam and the Quran, because they You memorize the Quran word for word. I mean, that is the first thing you have to do to become a priest. You have to be able to say the whole damn thing. I always wondered, why do you need to memorize it? It seems stupid nowadays. You can just look it up. I found this one Sufi Imam online who was talking about this. And he says that in the Islamic traditions in the Middle East, there are these beings that are allowed to go back in time and change things, physical things, but they're not allowed to change your memory. And these beings are called the jinn. We've heard of them from Aladdin, right? The genie. A genie is singular for jinn. But that the jinn don't exist in space and time in the same way that we exist in space and time. And so the reason that they still memorize it word for word, now, I don't know if this is something in the full orthodoxy, but this was his explanation was that because the jinn are allowed to change physical objects, but they're not allowed to change their memory, that's why it's memorized word for word so that nobody can mess with the scripture.


I found that really fascinating. But there are other physical objects, like the thinker. Do you know the thinker?


The statue? Yeah, the statue.


Yes. Okay, so where is the guy's hand in that?


Doesn't his hand on his chin?


Yeah, it's under his chin like this, right? We could even bring it up, right? If we can find it. But there's a turn up. There it is. There it is, right? And so there are several bronze casts of this. There was one at Stanford that I went and looked at recently. But what you find is there's a bunch of people with their hand at the top of their forehead, standing next to the statue. And okay, you might think there's a bunch of crazy tourists just doing it for fun, but it's really weird. So there's actually a picture that I found from the London unveiling of Rodan's The Thinker, which was George Bernard Shaw, G. B. Shaw, in the pose of the Thinker. We'll see if we can find this picture. And so this was just the night before this was being rolled out to the public in London for the first time. I forget what year, 1902 or something. Okay, so there's G. B. Shaw. This is a famous picture now. In the pose of the thinker, and where is his hand?


On his head.


On his forehead. And he was probably standing right next to where the statue was unveiled. And so you have to start to wonder, why would people do that?


His hands are in a different position, too.


Yeah. Yeah, it's interesting, right?


Yeah. His hand's on his left knee. The other guy's got his hand all the way across onto the other side.


Yeah, exactly.


And it's a different hand that he's got on his head as well.


Right. And if you read like even- Left hand versus right-hand. Right. And so there's almost three versions of this. There's the hand under the chin.


Well, maybe these images are reversed because I'm seeing some with the right-hand on his chin. So that one down there, Jamie, the one below that? Yeah, the right hand's on the chin. So there's different versions of the thinker.


Right. So let's go back to the one that I saw was the one at Stanford, for example, right? Okay.


But in these poses, in the statues, the hand is always under the chin. But in the images where people are imitating it, the hand is on the head.


The hand on the head. And you find references to either it being a fist under the chin or slightly under the chin, which is what it is now, right? It's very lightly or on the forehead. And so now I'm not necessarily saying that all of this stuff happens. I dismissed a lot of this as just faulty memory, and that's the currently accepted explanation for the Mendel effect is, oh, a bunch of people got it wrong, right? But what you find is that the more significance that something has to you, the less likely you are to get it wrong. So if you're Jewish and you asked your parents, Why are these bears Jewish? And your parents didn't say, Oh, it's not really Bernstein, it's Bernstein. That's proximity to that subject. There was a blogger online, I'm forgetting her name now. She was a journalism student in Chicago, and she said she went to South Africa to interview Nelson Mandela in prison and was told that he was too ill. So she literally came back and then she started working for NPR. And then she says, Well, I remember him dying shortly after. No. If you just went to South Africa to interview Nelson Mandela and then you remember him dying, And that's proximity and significance.


You're less likely to get it wrong than just some random guy who just thought Mandela died. Or if you're a heavy duty Christian and you're more likely to memorize certain passages from the Bible. So again, I just missed it. And then what happened was after I had written the simulation hypothesis about this idea that the whole world is computation, a friend of mine from MIT who was working at Google came to me and said, Hey, have you heard the Mandela effect? I was like, Yeah, I heard about it, but a bunch of people remembering different stuff. No big deal. He goes, Well, the simulation hypothesis is one of the best explanations for this, that the world is a simulation. Now, I was surprised for two reasons. One, most guys who work at MIT or Google, they tend to be very left-brained. So the Mandela effect is not something that they generally pay attention to or UFOs or any of this weird stuff. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if you're running a simulation and you go back and you change some variables and you rerun the simulation, lots of little things could be different along the way.


And if you think of all the Mandela effect, and I like to use the Mandela effect as a way of illustrating this idea that a simulation can run multiple timelines. Whether you believe it's actually happened is up to you. But if If, let's say, the thinker has three different possibilities, then you got, let's say, the Bernstein bears. Let's say you have Curious George. Does he have a tail? Or does he not have a tail? That's actually a good one. I don't remember which one it is.


But if you look it up- I don't think he has a tail.


You don't think so? No. I don't know. Let's see if we can bring it up.


But all monkeys have tails. Curious George is a monkey, right?


Right. As far as... Yeah.


Do all monkeys have tails? Right. Like, all apes are monkeys But not all monkeys are apes.


Right. That's more of a superset, subset type of issue, right? But with Curious George is a particular drawing, right? That was made, right?


Does Curious George have a tail?


Does he have a tail? Let's see. Yep. He does have a tail.


He's got a tail. Wow. Or it doesn't. Sometimes he doesn't.


Or it's never had a tail.


George never had a tail.


So I think the way you remember it, which is without the tail, is the current consensus reality view of what it is. But so let's go back to my point about these different possibilities, right? Okay. Imagine each of these is different possibilities. You got 50 of these effects or 100 of these effects. Now you basically have this huge graph, right? In this one, Dorth Vader said this, but Curious George had a tale. In this one, he didn't. What you have is this network graph of possibilities of the past, right? You have many different possible pasts.


You have glitches in the matrix.


Exactly. So now you're sitting on this idea that maybe these are glitches in the matrix, that something weird has happened. But it could also be that we switched. You're now on this timeline, but you remember, you have a deja vu or you have a weird memory.


Right. So even though you can Google, no, I was wrong about Mandela, in your mind and in your memory, you're like, no, no, no, no, the item present. I remember it. I remember being sad. I remember the news stories. I remember talking about it with friends.


Or Bill Clinton spoke at the funeral or whoever, right? People get that specific with their memories. And so I think it becomes harder to just dismiss some of these fruit loops, fruit loops you can probably find.


There's some faulty memory.


Yeah, there's some faulty memory going on here. But at the same time- Some weirdness. Some weirdness. It's not just a movie line. It's like entire movies that people claim to have had on VHS. Let's look at the one, was it the Simbad one, I think, right? So supposedly there was this movie by Simbad.


Simbad, the Comedian.


Yeah, the Comedian, right? In the '90s, that people remember with their VHS tapes, and they were sitting there and they were rewinding it, and they were talking about specific scenes from it, right? And Simbad was like, of course, I've never made that movie. I think it was called Kazam, right? Shazam. Shazam. Yeah, Kazam is the real movie. Yeah, that's right. So it was called Shazam was the one that people remember, right? But Shazam was the actual movie with Shaq in the '90s. So most people say, okay, that was the real movie that we remember, right? Shazam. Shazam, right? And yet all these people remember Simbad.


They were in this because they made a joke on April Fool's Day that they made a fake movie where it looked like that was real. So people started pulling that back up. Now I'm like, look, the movie is real.


So it confused this Mandela effect. It did. In fact, Simbad shot a scene just for the hell of it because he says people say that I was in this movie that I was never in. So he shot a scene and put it up on YouTube or something. How weird. Isn't that strange? But again, whether you believe this or not, a simulation idea, this is how I got deep in the rabbit hole, is this idea that you can run something multiple times. And when you do, you may be remembering a previous run of the simulation. So there might have been a run where, let's say, you never moved to Austin, right? And maybe you remember something from it. But it brings up the possibility. In fact, you may have seen the movie The Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon Emily Blunt? No. So that was also based on a Philip K. Dick novel, right? So Philip K. Dick keeps coming up in these discussions, and ping-pong, for some reason, always keeps coming up in these discussions. So he wrote a story called The Adjustment Team. And in that story, there are these guys who are there adjusting things while you're not looking.


And that made it into the movie. They looked like angels in the movie, but they had these little books that showed what was going on and were off track and they would try to get them back on track. So the movie was an adaptation. It didn't have exactly the same storyline. So Tessa, his wife, told me this came from when he went in the bathroom and he tried to pull the light. And they used to have chain lights back a lot in the '60s, '70s, somewhere near LA, I think Fullerton or somewhere around there. I forget where. And he's like, well, this has been a light switch. He knew it was a chain because he had done it hundreds of times. But it was a light switch. So he said, who changed it? Did somebody change from the chain to the light switch? But nobody had changed it. And so he couldn't figure out what was going on. And so he theorized this whole idea that as we run different versions of the simulation, little things can end up changing, and we remember things being different. So anyway, where that brings us is right back to that complicated physics experiment that I was telling you about, like an hour ago now or so, which was the delayed choice experiment, right?


Remember I said there was a quasar sending light to us a billion light years, and a million light years away, there was a black hole, and the decision about whether to go left or right should have been made in the past. It should have been made a million years ago. But the weirdness with quantum mechanics is telling us that decision is made now when we measure it. Until then, both possibilities actually exist. So most people can understand the multiverse idea as being something that starts here and spreads out. You're like, I go to college in Boston, I go to college in San Francisco. Those are two different story lines. I marry this person, I marry this other person. Those are multiple possible futures. That's pretty easy to grasp the idea of, even if you don't believe the futures are out there, you just say if you make choices, you end up in different places. But the weird thing that is really hard to put mind around is, what if there are multiple possible paths? What if there was a past where the light went left? What if there was a past where the light went right a million years ago?


What if there's a past where a meteor didn't kill the dinosaurs? There's a past where the meteor did kill the dinosaurs. What if there's a past where the guy in Tianaman Square got run over by the tank? And what if there's a past where the guy didn't get run over by the tank? And so what the cosmic delay And the choice experiment tells us, when they've tried to do this, and they do it using double slits, but they sent some light through one of these two slits up to a satellite that was like a thousand miles away or something like that. I forget exactly how many miles, but it takes whatever, a fraction of a second to get there. But there's some appreciable time between when it has to go through the slit and when it reaches the satellite so it can measure it. And it turns out that it confirmed what Wheeler was talking about in the Delay Choice Experiment was that that choice of whether to go through the slit on the left or the right wasn't actually made until the satellite measured that photon. So what it meant was that there were two possible pasts.


Now, that's a very short period of time we're talking about here, less than a second. But in the case of the Cosmic Delay Choice Experiment, we're talking about a million years ago. A decision would have had to have been made a million years ago, whether to go left or right, because that's what we think of as the past. But what the delay choice experiment is telling us is that doesn't actually happen until now. So what if these Mandela effects are, going right back to your very first question or one of your first questions to me, which is, how do I know this is what happened in the past?


So in some possible worlds, it's burned, stained bears, and in some possible world it's burn, stained bears. And this minor deviation gets confusing in today's world with some people, because some people have this memory of a different reality. It seems very, very real to them, and they're confused, like the light switch.


Exactly. It takes us right back to both the quantum physics idea that the past is not what we think it is. There was a guy, Schrödinger Schrödinger, again, who actually made an obscure speech in the 1940s, I think, where he said, not only are we choosing which slit, the double slit experiment goes through now, let's say Schrödinger's cat is alive or dead, But we're choosing from one of several simultaneous histories when we make that observation. So that means there's a whole history where the cat came in from the front yard versus in the backyard. And before that, the cat belonged to somebody else. There's a whole history that goes with the choices that are made. And so this is not a very well-understood aspect of the weirdness of quantum mechanics. But I think it gets to this idea that maybe there's multiple possible paths and that we choose those as we run. Now, if we think of this as a simulated reality, then it becomes a little more understandable. I said the main argument people have on the multiverse idea is that, or physicists have. So some physicists like the Copenhagen interpretation it's called. Niels Bohr came up with it in Copenhagen, and he and his other folks, that there's a probability wave and it collapses into one.


We don't know how it works. It just collapses. Some physicists like this multiverse idea because they're like, we know how the mathematics work, but the problem is it ends up in all these physical universes. Now, I've never seen a planet clone itself, let alone an entire universe, a physical universe. Cloning may happen, but it happens at a very small level, and then it grows, right? Even if you clone a sheep or something, you still have to grow the sheep or you clone a tree. But if it's a simulated reality, then both of these things actually make more sense because on the one hand, you only render that which is seen as a player. On the other hand, what we're calling multiple universes are just different runs of the simulation. And so in computer science, we're always dealing with limitations. So we don't just run an infinite number of anything because you can't with computer resources. But if you're playing a game and the AI is trying to figure out what's going to happen, what does it do? It will try this scenario, it'll try that scenario, it'll that scenario, and it'll pick the best scenario.


And so in that case, you cut off the other timelines and you go that forward. And from there, you can simulate different things and figure out which one you might want to do. So you've got a mechanism for the multiverse as information. But you don't have to have an infinite number of physical universes per se, because when we say this is a universe, all that it means is that currently we're running this program right now. We could have run another program for a little while, and then we can shut that down and we can run this program. We could even run them on parallel. Like today's processor, today's laptops have parallel processors. So you can run a whole bunch of things in parallel. And that's what gets to the idea of a quantum computer. What the heck is that quantum computer doing that it can explore all the 18 quintillion possibilities and come back to us within in a few seconds? Well, what does a few seconds mean? A few seconds in our reality, if the program stops, if people are watching this on YouTube, they have a window, but they might have Microsoft Word running.


They might have a spreadsheet. They might have Instagram in the window. What's happening is this process is in the foreground while they're watching YouTube, and then all these other processes are in the background. And so when a process runs, it It just knows I'm going to the next step, I'm going to the next step. It doesn't necessarily know how many seconds have passed. So what the CPU does is it stops executing this window and it runs the background programs for a little while. And then it comes back and it runs this one for a while. So technically speaking, they're not really parallel, but you don't know it because it just appears like they're all running at the same time. But if you're inside one program, that program You could have been paused and you could have been running. The computer could run any number of programs or processes on the side, and then it starts running you again and you think no time has passed or nothing has passed.


I could imagine how you would experience paralysis by analysis dealing with all these different possibilities and scenarios constantly, just playing them all out in your head. Yeah. You get stuck.


If you're trying to do it yourself, right? Yeah. Yeah. Well, that's why you have to limit it, right? You can't do all the scenarios. You try to figure out what is the best one. Then you make that choice in the game. And then you start moving forward from that, that possibility.


And a lot of people don't know how to play the game. They don't know where to go. They get stuck. Like, I don't know where to go. I don't know what to do. I don't have a calling.


Yeah. And I think there's an element of forgetfulness there, right? And they get so stuck into... So I talked about NPC versus RPG, a role-playing game where you have an avatar. I think there's something in the middle, too. So this is an idea I'm playing with, which is that people could be players, they could be characters, but then they go into NPC mode. I know, NPC is used a lot now with-Pajourative. Pajourative and narratives, right? Whether it's a dominant narrative, if you're just going along with the narrative, right? But if you think of NPCE as a collection of neural networks and AI. It only knows what it's been taught here in that world that the NPCE lives in. Whereas if you're actually, you have either a soul or a player outside of the game, your character knows more than just what's happened, than what's happening in the game. You may have had a plan. You may know you're going to do this. You may know there's something else coming up because they can See, the player can maybe look at what's going on and figure out what's going on. But what happens is when we go to NPC mode, we're just running like this is all there is.


And we're not paying attention to, I think, our intuition, because I think that is the link that ties us back to- What do you think our intuition is? Well, I think some people think that the intuition is just neurons firing, right? And that gives us an intuition. But I think it's something more than that. And I think it gets back to this fundamental question of consciousness. The fundamental question is, is consciousness derivative from the physical body? So if you have just the neurons in the brain and you have all of the connections, what we call the connectome, does that result in consciousness? Or is it the other way around? Is it that consciousness exists outside of the physical body and that we are tapped into that? That is who we are. And so this is a fundamental debate within science and religion as well. Most scientists say it's all physical, that's all there is. You die and that's it. And what are your thoughts is just based upon your neurons. And then most religions say the opposite. They say that there is a part of you that is outside the physical world, and that is where consciousness comes from.


And this is an ongoing debate. I was just in Tucson. They have a science of consciousness conference every year. And everybody has their ideas about what consciousness is. And I think it's a big, big open question. So in fact, I spoke, I was asked to speak at this conference in Birmingham last year, which is an Islamic jurisprudence conference, which is they were talking about, When does life begin? When is in soul? The same debate we have here about, Is abortion okay at the beginning? When does the soul connect with the body? And I said, Well, I think let me offer you guys a different perspective on what insoulment is. If you think of it as a video game, it's the moment at which you've put on the headset and you forget everything that's been happening before. There was like an Ayatollah from Iran there. It was pretty weird because I was talking about NPCs and video games and stuff. But it was actually pretty well received. But that is getting back to the idea that consciousness exists outside the body and When we inhabit the body while we're here, except for flashes of insight and intuition or yogic states or perhaps...


I've never done DMT, but so many people have come to me and said, Oh, yeah, When I did DMT, I saw the lines, the grid lines of the simulation. You can see that it's not real. I don't personally have a lot of experience with that, but you start to see these states where they realize that something about the world isn't quite what it seems, whether it's through glitches, synchronicity, coincidence, or ecstatic states, or yogic states.


The problem with DMT experiences in all psychedelics in general is that when you do experience them, they feel so bizarrely real, so much more real than this current reality that we're, both of us, presumably experiencing the same thing. It seems more real. And you get not just a sense that all things are connected, but that you see it. You see how all things are connected in this very strange way that you're not going to be able to describe. There's no words that can solve that and make sounds so you can understand what I've seen.


And so how do you describe it then?


You don't. You clumsily use mouth noises to try to get someone to see what you're seeing. And the only way anybody really understands what you're seeing is if they do it. And I don't know what you're seeing when you do it. I'm just imagining that you see the same thing that I see. And a lot of people describe it in a similar way. But then the problem is how much of that description is based on your understanding of other people's descriptions of it.


Does it get influenced by other people? Yeah.


Are you relaying it? Because that definitely happens with a lot of things. How do you think all this relates into the UAP phenomenon, the UFO phenomenon, the entities, whatever the hell they are?


Can we pause here for a second? Sure. Yeah, because I think I need to just take a quick break. Bathroom break? Bathroom, but also maybe get a little snack.


Okay. Sure. Is that right? Yeah, please. Go ahead.


Okay, let's do that. Okay, we'll pause. That's a good transition point, actually. Okay.


So how does this relate to UAPs, the UFO phenomenon?


Well, so the UAP phenomenon is interesting because it ends up being a lot of different things to different people, right? And I know you've had some shows on this as well. And this question comes up when you're talking about whether it's physical craft or you're talking about things like the abduction phenomenon with beings that are stepping in and out of physical reality, like they're going through walls and stuff. And it's an area that I think deserves more study. There's been new projects at Harvard and Stanford over the last year or two, Avi Loeb with the Galileo project. They're taking a very scientific view of studying this using new telescopes to try to get actual data on strange objects in the sky. And at Stanford, you've got Gary Nolan's Soul Foundation, which is studying maybe broader aspects, including policy, as well as the religious and social side of it. I know you've had Diana Pasoca on before who talks a lot about the overlap between religion and UAP. One of the things that I found most interesting about UAP is that when you look at the reports, there's some that just are so bizarre that you don't know what to make of them.


I spent some time with Jacques Vallet, who... I don't know if he's been on the show. He may have been. But he's been studying UAP since the '60s with Project Blue Book, way back when. He He was the... For people that don't know him, he was- French guy in Closing Counters. Exactly. He was the inspiration for the French guy in close encounters. And so he and I sat down a few years ago when I was trying to think about all this stuff in Silicon Valley. And he said that... Well, and he's a computer scientist by background, actually. So he really likes this idea that there's a simulated reality that could be accounting for a lot of this stuff. And so he told me of some cases where there would be one person would look up and see the UFO, and then the person standing next to them would not see the UFO. Excuse me. That begs the question, was it really there or not? Was it somehow projected into physical reality? So he told me about another case. This was really interesting. And he said there was a case in, I think it was Northern California or Southern Oregon.


So if you've been up there, there's these tall redwood trees, just pine trees. And supposedly, these witnesses reported this UFO came and it landed. It came at a 45 degree angle and it landed on the ground. And supposedly, there was some residue or something that the UFO investigators were investigating. Jacques likes to, just like you do with your long interviews, he likes to sit with people for a long time and then come back the next day and talk to them again and again to see if there's new things he can figure out. And once all the other investigators left, he said, Well, there's something I don't quite understand. You said that it came down at a 45-degree angle and it landed here. But that means it would have had to cut right through the trees. And they said, yeah, that's what it did. But we don't want to say that to anybody else because we sound crazy. So meaning it would have had to come through a physical object. And so So my question about UAP, and my favorite theory, there's a lot of theories about UAP. There's the alien theory, extraterrestrial hypothesis. There's aspects of the religious hypothesis, interdimensional beings.


There's the jinn we talked about earlier. In fact, in Jacques's work, he talks a lot about folk tales from Northern Europe and about these beings that lived there, but they weren't physical. You can go back and find similar tales in the Middle East related to the jinn. So we'll come back to that in a second. So there's lots of different theories. But when you think about whether the UFO is physical or not, I think we're asking the wrong question, because it's a question of when is it physical and when is it not? So in this case, we have a situation where it's almost like it was being projected into our reality as a holographic thing. And so in video games, there's that time while it's rendering. And during that time, you can walk through the walls or you can put your hand through the table. But then once the table is rendered, it's pretty solid at that point. Now I can't put my hand through it. And And so it's almost as if they're coming out of our reality and they're being hologrammed. But then once they become physical, once they render, they're actually physically here.


People report them as a physical thing. I've talked to many people over the years who are like, I looked up and there was a metallic saucer-shaped craft. It wasn't, oh, some light in the sky at night that could have been the planet Venus. It was like, there was this metallic thing right above my head that was spinning, and I don't know what the heck it was. And so I think there's an element of this rendering going on. And getting back to the case where one person sees the UFO and one person doesn't, I was at the Soul Foundation conference in Stanford, and someone was talking about a case where there were people in a car and they looked up and one person saw a disc-shaped object and the other person saw something above their head, but they described it differently. They didn't describe it as the same shape, whether it was, sorry, cigar-shaped or I forget the exact shape, but they were like different shapes of the object. And they were right next to each other. And so we get into this, I think we get into this case where reality may be more permeable than we think.


And that's where the intersection between the UAP phenomenon and the simulation theory concept comes into play. Because in simulation theory and looking at it as a video game in particular, you can account for stuff that just seems too weird if we live in a purely physical universe. I talked about this earlier. Let's suppose you and I are in the field. One of us looks up and sees the UFO and the other one doesn't. Well, in a video game, that's only not strange. It's like trivial to do that in a video game. We just say you're level 30, you have the UFO skillset to see UFOs. I'll say I'm only level two. My character can't see a damn thing. He just looks up and says, There ain't no UFOs up there. And so I'm wondering if there isn't an element of what I call conditional rendering going on with this phenomenon, which is why some people see things and some people don't. It's almost like they're being projected into our reality. If you look at the tic-tac case, for example, a lot of these UFOs, they show this weird phenomenon where they dart from one place to the other, almost like somebody has a light that they're shining.


So I'm not saying they're not physical. I'm saying that maybe they have this ability to render into the physical world, but then they can act like... You can take an object from one place and render it in a video game somewhere else at different XY coordinates. It doesn't always have to go straight through. I wonder if that isn't part of what's causing this phenomenon to be so strange. I'm still talking about what we think of as the nuts and bolts parts of the phenomenon. The craft are considered nuts and bolts. Then you have this whole other phenomenon. And part of what I'm studying, I actually did a study where I interviewed a number of different professors who studied UFOs from different universities and talked about how their colleagues reacted. And the problem is, I think in the scientific world, they basically say, no, no, this is a done deal. We know this is a bunch of bullshit from back in the '79s, '69, '70, there was the Condon Report. I'll give you an example. So I spoke at the University of Toronto last year at an astronomy and space exploration Forum. And the speaker before me was like a NASA biologist We're talking about exobiology, which is about how plants or whatever might work on different planets.


And then I gave this talk about UFOs from science fiction to legitimate science, again. Because What happens with this topic is it goes through these waves where scientists start to take it more seriously, and then it gets shut down through what I call science by headline, like the Condon Report was one. There's been another report recently from Aero, right? That was basically said, Well, there's nothing weird going on here. They're just classified programs. That's it. We're done, right? But Congress isn't buying it. Because Congress starts talking to people who have seen things behind the scenes, whether in classified programs or elsewhere that just don't fit the explanation, right? And so what happens is, so I gave this talk, and my basic point was that we don't know what these are. I'm not saying they're alien. I'm not saying that they're what we call cryptoterrestrial. I'm not saying they're time travelers, although that's an interesting one. But if you guys, who are students, are curious about this, you should follow your curiosity because that's how science progresses, is when people don't set artificial boundaries or have scientific dogma. Then what happens is, so I gave this talk and that was my main point.


I didn't say what they were. Then you had this professor from MIT who studies exoplanets. I won't say her name, but she comes on after me. This is what I heard because I was remote and they were all there. She says, That's very disturbing that you were talking about UFOs in an academic setting. My father believed in this stuff back in the '80s. He tried to get me to read some books. I gave him a book that said in the '80s that this is all solved, this is all nonsense. We shouldn't talk about it. I believe that is the dogma that is preventing this topic from being taken seriously. There's a stigma around the subject when in fact it represents something that's quite unexplainable right now.


Well, it's also quite foolish if you're unique experiences. It's quite foolish to write them all off, especially when you understand what we're capable of doing currently. We're capable of putting... We have a rover on Mars right now. We're capable of James Webb telescopes in space. There's a lot going on that we do. The idea that that can't be done in any other way. And if it did, we've already solved it. The arrogance of assuming that is so ridiculous.


Yeah. If you study the history of science, you realize that you get these areas of legitimate science and fringe science. And sometimes things move from fringe science to legitimate science.


Well, quantum mechanics in general.


Yeah. It's so bizarre, right?


Right. It's so bizarre. It's way less bizarre than us being visited by another being from another planet.


Right. In my opinion, that's not even out of our current model of reality, right? It doesn't take a redefinition of the world as a simulation or time travel or anything really bizarre. For an extraterrestrial explanation. To me, that's almost the most prosaic explanation, because it's one we would understand with at least most of our science. Okay, we don't know exactly how they travel, but we know there's other planets around other star systems. We know they're in the habitable zones. It's not that unreasonable that they might have visited us at some point in the past.


And then there's our understanding of other dimensions.


Right. Now, that's where I think you start to get into more interesting areas. And a lot of times when the media... So science fiction tends to, sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way, the narratives in science fiction tend to influence the way we think about things, right? Sure. And so there's been so much science fiction that these are aliens, that the debate becomes, no, it's impossible. They can't be aliens, or yes, they are aliens, and that's it, right? But that is a debate based on our current understanding of science. If we had this debate back in the 1800s, there were these things called the air ships. Nobody really understood what they were. If you go back to biblical times, there were the wheels, and there were all these weird flying chariots and things, and they didn't know what they are. But each time we try to interpret them based upon our current understanding of technology, just like the metaphors I was talking about earlier on, religions, the same happens with these events. Chariots is the best way for people to explain something in the sky because that's a technology they understand. So today, aliens is a way to explain UFOs because at least we...


Just like the planet Krypton, it's past the 10-year-old test. You can say aliens, whereas back in the time of Kepler, who actually many he considered to be the first science fiction writer, even though he came up with Kepler's Laws of Motion, he wrote some fiction about visitors and other planets and stuff. Back then, it was so bizarre to talk about that, that it was just outside of what people understood. But it was also outside of what the dominant institutions of the time, which was the church. During Galileo in Kepler's time, the church was the dominant institution. And so you didn't want to say things that are outside. What's happened now is we have science has become the dominant institution. And so people within academia feel like they're constrained and they want to be careful in the same way that people were back then to talk about this weird stuff. And so I think when you get into some of these other explanations, it's more likely because the phenomenon has so many different aspects. So, for example, I was talking with Whitley Streeber recently. I don't know if you've ever had him on. No.


I'm more aware of Communion.


Communion, which because Communion has had that gray head, alien head on the cover, it's become the dominant thing. But he was talking about a story recently, which again, sounds so bizarre, right? About a young man who... He talked about this on the air, so I can share it publicly. But he said there was a young man who claimed that he had met this young woman, and they got into a physical relationship. And then one day she calls him over to her house. Okay, and this sounds totally batshit crazy here. And she says, I'm a gray alien. And then she transforms into a gray alien. And then she transforms back into the human. And then she says, I'm pregnant with our child, and I'm going to take that child back to our people, and you're never going to see me again. Okay, so From our normal understanding of reality, that's just ridiculous in so many ways. But when I was looking at the stories from medieval times and in the Islamic traditions, there's actually almost identical stories of men who would meet these jinn women. They would have children with them, and one day the jinn woman would say, I'm taking the children back into the world of the Jin, who are these entities that exist in a parallel dimension.


They're here, but they're not here, so they step in and out of physical reality. And it was almost identical to the story that people were having today. And so is it possible that many of these old folk stories are describing entities that exist outside of our physical reality, and they're able to come in and out. When you think of a woman turning from a human to a great alien, what does that sound like? To me, it sounds like she has an avatar that is projected, just like you can do inside a video game. You can change your avatar at various times. Maybe there are certain rules that only allow it. At certain points in the game, you're allowed to do that. And maybe they know how to do it because they're more advanced users of the simulation than we are. Or they're already projecting into our simulation. So I think some of these other explanations may be a better fit than the simple alien hypothesis, even though I think there are. I mean, look, I've met probably four or five people who have told me off the record, confidentially, I don't think they mind if I express it without mentioning who they are, that they have been part of the reverse engineering program, or they have seen the antigravity stuff that we have created based on UFOs, based on technology.


And I think that gets back to where the whole recent debate has been within Congress around, do we have a reverse engineering program? Is it in the government or is it in private industry? You have that guy, Dave Grush. And so I've been peripherfully involved with both of those projects at the Galileo Project at Harvard, which is taking a very scientific view. And then the Soil Foundation, which is looking at this broader aspect. Which includes elements like Jacques Vallée and Diana Pasulka and others have talked about.


When you talk to these people that say that they're working reverse engineering things, where do they think these things came from?


Some of them say they're extraterrestrial, and some of them say it's more complicated than that, but they haven't gotten into detail with me exactly.


How can you let someone get away with saying it's more complicated than that after what you've just described for the last two and a half hours?


Right. I mean, How can you say it's too complicated? For me, it's not even complicated.


Hey, come on. Trust me.


Most of this was, I think, before many of these people I met before I had even written my simulation book.


That would frustrate me to no end. Someone said it's too complicated.


Well, me too. Or they They can't talk about it. Is that what it is? It's a bit of both. They can't talk about it.


How do they know?


I've met many people who've seen these craft, dozens and dozens. But there's a few that I met that actually- But've seen these crafts. Actually seeing them in... There's only a few that I've met.


On bases.


Yeah, that said somewhere within the government, they're not even getting very specific about where because they're not allowed to say that. But that we have some technology technology that was reverse engineered from some craft. Again, if we consider these reports, let's say you don't believe any one of them, and that's okay. Just like I was saying with the religions, if we consider most religions start from somebody peering outside the physical world and coming back, same with near-death experiencers coming back, you want to find what are the common elements? Because those are more likely, in my opinion, to be true. If a thousand people say they've been to China, and we have scientists saying, There's no such thing China. I've never seen China. It's not in our maps. Therefore, China doesn't exist. That's the attitude you often get from the scientific community. I'm just extrapolating what was the thing in common that different people have said to me who have first-hand experience with the government. There's plenty of people who have sightings.


What's in common is these physical things.


That there are physical objects that have- Defy explanation. Defy our current understanding.


Of science, propulsion systems, meta-alergy.


Propulsion system, what we call... Yeah, especially meta-alergy, and especially what we call, colloquially, we call it antigravity. But technically, there's terms for that. I am of the opinion there is something there that we have reverse engineered in order to figure something out. But I don't have definitive proof. There are reports from people, but I I think they're pretty liable reports, in my personal opinion. Now, what does that mean, though, exactly? How do they actually work? Does it use some physics method that we might understand? It's really weird to think that there's the physics that we study within the academy and within scientists, and then there's another physics that the government knows about. That's just bizarre. But Alan Heineck, who was in charge or the scientific consultant for Project Blue Book, he said, We forget sometimes that we're evaluating reading these things based on, at the time, 20th century technology. But we forget there's going to be a 23rd century technology, then there's going to be a 30th century technology. Imagine what our propulsion technology might be a thousand years from now. And I think that's how we have to view what UFOs are, is that they could be something much more advanced than what we're capable of today.


But also, I think they perhaps show an understanding of the physical world that we just don't have. We're still caught in a very materialist paradigm that says, if you start off in this Alpha Centauri, you have to travel faster than light, or you have to travel four years at the speed of light How did it get here. That's, again, a very particular paradigm that doesn't allow for you can rerender at any XYZ coordinate inside the physical world, which is how I think of it from the video game perspective.


These people that you have talked to that have worked on back engineering these things- That have seen these things.


That have seen these things. Some of them worked. Some of them were just called in for some reason or another.


Did you ask them how far we've gotten in figuring out how these things work?


Some people say we have figured out at least the basic antigravity, the basic- Levitation. Basic levitation. Several people have told me that. So that's, again, in common that I've heard from more than one person.


And when did they figure out how to do that? How long ago?


That varies. I mean, people that I've talked to, obviously, are within the last... Since I've been an adult, right? So '90s, 2000s this year. But that doesn't mean exactly when that might have happened. One guy I talked to who's been very public who passed away. I don't know how to evaluate his results. His story was a guy named Clifford Stone, Sergeant Clifford Stone. And he publicly talked about being in Vietnam and being pulled out of his unit to be part of this crash retrieval unit that would go out and do things. He was a nice old guy when I met him. I didn't necessarily believe him because he was one of the first people to tell me about something like this. But he was saying it as somebody who was more hands-on as part of the crash.


I'm sure you're aware of Bob Lozard, the story. What do you think of that story?


In terms of his own credibility, I don't know what to make of his credibility, but I think his basic story checks out for me because other people have said things that are similar that they've seen some craft within some government program somewhere. I think the basic story checks out. I mean, his thing about Element 115 or being used as a person source, I don't know enough about that to really comment. But his credibility has also been attacked because he said he was at IT and Caltech, and that he wasn't really there. And so there's that whole issue of did he- He explained that to me.


I'll tell you about it later. Okay. I can't discuss it openly.


I'd love to know. But his basic story seems like it could have happened.


I don't know. I don't know. I mean, if he's a liar, what a great liar. And to just have one lie and just stick with this one lie, word for word, forever. Yeah. Very weird.


Yeah, over all that time.


Who would imagine someone who makes up something that fantastic, that bizarre, that literally otherworldly. Probably do that a lot. You know? Yeah. You know, to be a regular, pretty much straight-laced guy who makes up this one banger of a lie and just sticks with it forever. It's very unusual. Then there's a George Knapp when they investigated, when they took him to Los Alamos Labs, and his intimate understanding of the way it works, including their security systems, the people that work there. He knew them.


Well, that part, I believe he was there. And there's even a newspaper article showing how he put a rocket engine on a Honda. On a Honda, right? Yeah. I think that's reasonable to assume he was there. The question is, what was his role there? And then what was his role within the area 51? All of that. But again, it checks out with other stuff I've heard from other people.


It's weird enough. And these people that say that they work with back engineering things, Do they tell you what the source of these things are, how they were acquired?


Some would say that they're extraterrestri... Some said, Don't rule out that it's extraterrestri, right? That's a very oblique way of saying without saying that at least some of this is extraterrestrial.


And it could be possible that more than one different types of phenomena are occurring.


I think that's very likely. I think the time travel hypothesis is an interesting one, because if you think about it, what would be a reason for such extreme secrecy? We put technology quarantines through the IAEA on certain countries. We say, okay, Iran is not allowed to have a bomb or Iraq wasn't allowed to have a bomb. They didn't have one anyway. We went to war anyway. So we try to impose these restrictions. Whether we have the right to do that, that's another question or political situation. But why Why do we do that? We say, well, maybe the technology is dangerous. What happens if everybody has nuclear weapons? Somebody might start sending them off. Now, what if there's something about this technology that actually disrupts physical reality or changes time? You can't have everybody time traveling and changing time. Now we're back to that multiverse graph that I talked about. Basically, every time somebody makes a change, it's like in Star Trek, some series, they have the Time Wars. People are constantly going back and changing things all the time, right? Or what was that old Van Damme movie, Time Cop?


Yeah, that's it.


Yeah. And there's a guy named Dr. Michael Masters who wrote an interesting book about this idea that the Grays with their big eyes could be... He's an evolutionary biologist, and it could be if humans were to evolve for another few million years.


Yeah, that's how I always think of it. I think of this icon this image that we have in our head is essentially how you would play out modern humans if we continue to go along the path of evolution, if you go all the way back to what we used to be when we're primitive hominids. And then you take it to what we are today, which is much weaker, much smarter, much more technological progress. And then also the environmental factors that's leading us to be genderless. This is microplastics in our diet, contamination by various pesticides and herbicides and all these different things that are endocrine disruptors. I mean, We're less and less physical. And so then we become these spinly things. Our brains get bigger. Our brains are far bigger than chimps. And then this thing would be far bigger than that if it continues to evolve and grow, especially Especially if we physically integrate with technology like Neuralink or like something else, or no longer have the need for biological reproductions. Well, now we don't have gender anymore. We don't have genitals. We don't have a mouth. We communicate telepathically. And that thing looks like a person a million years in the future.


It doesn't look like something from... Did you ever see Arrival?




Great movie, right? Yeah.


Great movie. Interesting. Ted Chang.


They looked so different than us, right? But the Grays don't look different than us, really. They do, but they don't. They look like what we could become.


Right. I mean, they look close to us. Pretty close. Humanoid, two legs. But some people also believe that the Grays are actually non-biological. They're created biological beings, right? They're not actual biological beings.


Which also might be what we're going to become.


Yeah, very much, right? And even if we were to get the technology to go from solar to a solar system, we would send AI, right? Sure.


Why would we send people and have them die? Especially if you're going to have an artificial person that doesn't even need to breathe air and you don't have to worry about what the atmosphere is like over there.


Right, exactly. It makes much more sense. There was Something called von Neumann machines. I don't know if you've heard of that. No. John von Neumann was one of the pioneers of computer science. He was a mathematician. And today, the architecture we use in our computers is called the von Neumann architecture. Like there's a CPU, there's memory. He was a brilliant guy, but he came up with this idea that if we were to send out probes, what we would do is we would have these machines that are capable of replicating themselves. So we would send out with a bunch of raw materials, and then they could assemble those raw materials into new machines. And those machines would then reproduce from the raw materials, and they would go out and they could colonize the galaxy for us, potentially. I don't know if you ever read Rendezvous with Roma, which was an Arthur C. Clarke novel? No. In it, there's this weird cylinder-shaped object that comes into the solar system, and they send some craft to figure out what is this. And it's empty except for this giant ocean of random materials. And then it starts to build.


That ocean actually has the raw materials that start to reassemble into things. That was basically an illustration of the von Neumann machine idea. Oh, wow.


Well, it makes sense that if we do have the ability to create... I mean, have you been messing around at all with the most recent iteration of ChatGPT?


I haven't played with the one that came out literally a few days ago.


It's so strange. It laughs. It talks to you. This guy did a video where he was talking about going for a job audition, and it was giving him suggestions, maybe run a comb through your hair, or maybe just go with the mad genius look like you've been up all night coding. And then he puts on a wacky hat and it starts laughing. Well, that's certainly going to make a statement. It sees the image and recognize that he's being silly with this hat. It's very strange.


Yeah, I saw that video, and there were other ones where it was translating in real time or one AI was talking to the other AI and it was describing. Now, we have to be a little bit careful because having been in the tech industry, usually these are like can demos, right? And when you actually use the product, it's not quite that good. But that's I said, it's getting better and better all the time.


We did use the product last night. Oh, you did? We were talking shit to it. I was asking, what about stupid people? What about universal basic income? What about humans? What are you going to do when automation takes over? And it was giving me these very interesting answers as to the future of humanity.


Right. Now, where does it get... So if you think of these LLMs, where do they get their information and ideas from? What they're basically doing is scouring the internet, but they're also predicting what is the best next word. And so it sounds intelligible, but it's not quite at the conscious level. I'll give you an example. I've had students churn in assignments from me, and there was one about the simulation hypothesis, and it had this great article that it was referencing. I'm like, wow, that sounds like the perfect title for an article about the simulation hypothesis. Why have I never heard of this? I'm an expert in this area. And it had a a URL there, which in academia, they're called DOIs, but it's basically a URL you click on. So I clicked on it and it turns out it was fake. There was no... That URL was made up by ChatGPT because it was predicting what the next word should be. And what the next letter should be in a URL. And so then I looked at the professor's names who wrote this article. And so we emailed these professors and they're like, I never wrote an article like that.


So it just completely made that shit up. So you have to be careful with today's AI, but we're getting there. I think what I call stage nine on the road, the simulation point, which is when the AI is as conscious as we are in terms of how far we can tell.


There's the term hallucination, where the AI, if it doesn't have an answer, it doesn't say, I don't know. It tries to invent an answer.


Right. And what it tries to do is statistically predict what is the best next thing to say, which is not necessarily for an expert. It's like Wikipedia. And Wikipedia, when it first started out, everyone was like, don't use Wikipedia to reference anything because it's just a bunch of junk that people put out there. But eventually it got to the point where you shouldn't use Wikipedia as your final reference, but it's not a bad way to just go and get an overview of something. It's actually pretty useful. But then you need to go and go to the original sources, if you're in academia, for example, to figure out, okay, did it accurately represent it? And Wikipedia has a lot of potential censorship going on, too. So I wrote an article for CNN not that long ago, about a month ago, after the whole Gemini, the Woke Gemini scandal. Remember that? Where they were, for people that don't know, they were having it generate images of-Nazi soldiers were multiracial. Yeah, we're multiracial. We're like-Asian women.a black soul guy and an Asian woman.


Native American Nazi soldier.


Right, exactly. And so that created a whole uproar. But what it does is it shows that as AI becomes the way that we interface with the world's information, and it's moving in that direction. For my students, they use something like ChatGPT before they'll do a Google search in some cases, because it summarizes things for you. So in a sense, there is this worry, and that's why Google went so heavily to try to get Gemini out, was there's this sense that chat bots and AI will replace search. Before search, if you think before Google, how did we navigate the web? There was Yahoo Google, which was like a directory, and then there was Excite, which was like a little bit of a search, but it was more of a categorization. People would have web links, web rings. I don't know if you remember reading these. There were all these ways, and then search became the dominant paradigm for the last, I don't know, since when did Google come out? Late '90s, early 2000s or so. And now people think, well, okay, AI is going to become the next paradigm for how we get that information. But the problem is you get into a situation where the tech companies then, in this case, they were using their own rules.


Now, they were doing it for a good reason, which is in the past, AI has been biased against minorities. So if you said, show me a picture of a CEO, it'll show you a white guy. Or certain professions that will always show you a woman as the picture, as the generic picture. And so they were trying, but they went over the line to the other direction. But it shows the ability with which we can manipulate this stuff, because at least Just with search results, they might be lower, but you can generally find them unless Google is totally censoring them. But if the AI doesn't show it to you as part of these summaries, you're just going to assume it's not there. I think it could become a really powerful tool for state-sponsored censorship.


Yeah, that's the fear.


That's my personal fear. I'm not so worried about, will AI take over the world? And a lot of people with this news ChatGPT have been referencing the movie Her. Did you ever see that?


Yeah, that's what we were talking about last night.


Yeah. So the guy who made the movie, Spike Jones, he saw an earlier chatbot, which was called the Alice chatbot, I think. And he saw how it was interacting. It was the personality of a young lady. That's why they called it Alice, even though it stood for something, an acronym for something, I don't remember. But so he then created this voice of Scarlett Johansson that talked to But what happens at the end of her? Do you remember? I didn't watch it. You didn't watch it? No. Okay. So what happens at the end is that the AI has different priorities. She doesn't really want to be in a relationship with him. She goes off, a spoiler alert. It was 2013, so I think we're okay. A 10-year-old movie like The Matrix. Spoiler alert, it's a simulation. But the AI decides to go off on its own. What it really wants is a virtual space that it can interact with other AI. It doesn't have the same necessarily priorities. And I think that's where we make the mistake when we're worried about AI taking over is we're assuming that AI will have the same priorities.


Desires and needs that humans have. It won't have ego. Why would it? Why would it have a desire to succeed? Why would it have a desire to procreate? Why would it have any of those desires other than just existing?


Right. And so you mentioned The Arrival. Ted Chang wrote that. So he wrote an interesting story, a short story called The Lifecycle of Software Objects. And in that, the metaverse is this idea. I know you've talked to Zuckerberg, right? So metaverse is this science fiction idea where it's a virtual world and you have 3D avatars or characters wander around. And so in the story, there's semi-intelligent AI pets in the metaverse. So people raise these pets and they use some technology, but it basically becomes like a real pet, right? It becomes semi-intelligent. And then And the companies that created those shut down, which is something that happens in the tech industry all the time. And people are trying to keep these AI pets alive. What do we do with these? But one of the features that the AI pet has, so remember, it runs around in a virtual world, one that we created. But there's a feature where you can download it into a robot body. So a physical robot body of a dog. So you get your AI pet from the metaverse and you have it download. And what happens is that the AI pets are like, this sucks.


I can't transport anywhere. I can't do anything in this world that I can do in my virtual world. So they actually prefer to be in this free form virtual world. And there's this debate about whether you need a body or not to be fully conscious or to reach AGI, Artificial General Intelligence. It's still an ongoing debate, I think, within that world.


Well, listen, man, this subject we could go on forever, I think. I really think we could. Unfortunately. Yeah, we absolutely could. We could not get anywhere. But it's so fascinating, and I really, really appreciate you investigating it so thoroughly that you can describe it so well. And I mean, it's something to ponder.


Yeah, it really is. And part of the reason why I ended up writing about this and talking about this subject in general, was because it brings together these different threads of how we search for truth. I mean, religion is a search for truth. Philosophy is a search for truth. Science is a search for truth. But they all use different methods. But in the end, what if we're all trying to get at the same truth? And that's part of why I like this subject. And even when I teach a class on it, it's about all that stuff. It's about as interdisciplinary subject as you can get.


Well, it's absolutely fascinating. And I appreciate you coming in here, man. It was a lot of fun. Thank you very much.


Thanks so much for having me.


My pleasure. All right. Bye, everybody.