Matrix madness

April 3, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Before starting this, I want you to know that I called the CBC where a bright young lady assured me that these interviews on Radio 1’s program, The Current, on Monday of this week, were not jokes but were conducted with all the seriousness in which all of the informative segments of The Current are habitually conducted.

In short, they weren’t kidding.

Good news – we’re off the hook. Whew! Just when the guilt for all our failings was starting to get to the best of us, we now learn that we don’t actually exist (maybe). It is highly -to not at all- probable.

However, it was on The Current, one of the most informed and reliable current affairs programs on the waves. There was Anna Maria Tremonti, host of the show, serious and straightforward, interviewing scientists who were speaking in their deep scientists’ voices, also quite serious, and saying that the reality of the movie, The Matrix, is very likely today’s fact.

Actually, the segment began with the voice of Morpheus offering Neo a choice of pills, which is the first pivotal moment of the film. (The young lady at the CBC suggested that I might have been put off by that opener and that was why I thought the piece was meant to be humorous.)

In very brief, for anyone who has not seen the film, the gist of it is that, having built machines that could take over the world and pervert humanity from an independent, possessed of self consciousness, viable species to a “crop” of laboratory- created source of energy, well, those machines did that very thing.

In the movie, there is an ongoing rebellion of humans, still whole and independent, and mostly in terror of the machines’ agents, police for the Matrix, and Neo, who, as he learns rather late in life, is to be the One to rescue mankind from its collective and misguided inventiveness.

Elon Musk, Tesla and Space X CEO, has added his voice to the argument recently, stating positively that he is “99.99% positive” that we are already living in a “computer simulation universe, created by a more sophisticated intelligence,” drawing a line in the sands of the universe over which scientists will cross and criss-cross in their ongoing disputes about the theory.

Some say it is impossible; others predict it in the sometime future and then, those scientists who buy into the theory talked about it on The Current.

Backing up the idea of our living in an alternative universe, was Rich Terrile, an astronomer and a director at NASA’s Propulsion Laboratory, giving as proof the  progression of ideas and inventions which can reproduce our world in a very realistic way, allowing us the chance, eventually, to live “virtually” in much more economical and convenient lives. If we are not there yet, we soon will be.

The scientific believers that we already live in this simulated world offered the mathematical structure of the universe to explain and defend the idea that you and I are figments of someone else’s imagination.

During The Current, there was a scientist, who denied the likelihood of our being part of a computer program run by an unseen and only barely imaginable world. The basis of his refutal was that “that which can be proven but cannot be disproven does not exist in science.”

Theoretical physicist, Sylvester James Gates Jr, also averred: “Science is about things we can measure. If we can’t measure it, it can’t be science.”

Historically, existing in another dimension or place has always fascinated literature and film. We have philosophized about it as though to place the blame for our behaviour on the shoulders of another being or thing.

Here is the serious side of this. Primarily, the late and very great Stephen Hawkins, amid his many warnings to mankind, he advised us that we must cease our work on Artificial Intelligence (AI) altogether because, “once computers can reinvent themselves, we have no idea how that reinvention will look.” Or, to enlarge on that in deadly seriousness, computers will very likely simply replace us with themselves and humankind will disappear. That was the tenant of Dr. Hawkins’ warning about AI.

The Current was not kidding, while it took into account the similarities of thought over the centuries, all the way back to the Greeks ruminating about “dreams within dreams.” Perhaps inadvertently, though, it did emphasize again the danger we run by turning our world over to the machines we build and building them to run out of our control.

One other scientist, talking to Ms Tremonti, declared that, as we have not yet found undisputed proof of life on another planet, “which we should have by now. So, it is very likely that we are alone in the universe.”

Maybe he is not a fan – a believer – in Men in Black…

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