Yes, for now...
Yes, for now...
"Is reality a simulation?" seems to be a loaded question that most people find mind-bending in both implication and potential.
For an excellent review of the issue, watch this video.
Also, it's worth watching these three short videos on the Game of Life simulation (which, BTW, was first invented on a Go board, not on a computer).
However, it seems to me the bigger, or more relevant question is, how does this theory change our lives?
I have no problem accepting that reality is a relatively sophisticated simulation, just as I can easily accept the idea that intelligence, human or otherwise, is a form of AI within this simulation. In fact, it makes perfect sense that we are a form of error-correcting algorithms embedded in a class of self-preserving functions. Rationally speaking, there is no reason to believe we are not advanced computers programmed to express the ideal form of Intelligence, which we have labeled "divine". The only opposition to this idea is our own sense of self-importance, that we are somehow more than simply organic circuits (which requires we deliberately limit our idea of what a circuit is).
A thought-provoking side note: The goal of AI is to create "rational agents" that will work faster and better than humans because humans are not very rational or efficient. We may have discovered the rules of reason, but we tend to ignore them more than not. Given that, one might hypothesize that if sentient life is a form of AI within a simulation, then our goal may be to, likewise, become more effective agents of the intelligence that created us, as they (our hypothetical creators), presumably, tend to not be very good at whatever they are trying to do, and for which we were programmed. Given the chaos and drama of the life of the gods as described in myths, I would say this makes perfect sense.
On the other hand, I also have no problem imagining humanity as the battleground of good and evil ruled over by demons and angels, gods and mythical monsters, as it was believed for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
If I could see through the eyes of a dog or a bird, I suspect I would have no problem seeing reality, in whatever way dogs and birds understand that, as perfectly valid as well.
Our level and perspective of understanding are going to be the lenses through which we see reality. In 1,000 years I am sure reality will be seen in a radically different way, and it too will be perfectly valid for our descendants 33 generations from now.
Personally, I believe that we discover the reality that we are looking for. Modern scientists will tell you that photons existed since the beginning of time, but they will also tell you that nothing exists until it is observed, nothing but a probability field. It does not seem unreasonable to me that just as the act of observation causes a shift that collapses wave functions to particles, the act of searching causes a shift in probability fields. i.e. if we are looking for atoms, then the self-organizing properties of reality will create the fields that would most likely be necessary to allow atoms to exist, and viola, we "discover" quanta. But this is a topic for another post.
This perspective and understanding of the times will also attempt to answer the question "Why?", regardless of whether reality is a divine testing ground, a simulation, a journey of survival, or whatever question is relevant to our models of reality?
But an even bigger question has been asked throughout all these interpretations, one that has not changed for the plant, the cat the human or even the gods, and that is, what shall we do with/in this reality? What is important?
There are two potential answers to this question
1) What is important is to discover the Great Truth, be it in the form of God, or Unification Theory, self-realization, or however one understands the Great Truth.
2) Exactly the same as Option 1, but without the assumptions that the Great Truth is something that already exists but rather something that we are trying to create.
Option 2 makes a lot more sense if we are indeed a simulation. What would be the point of creating a simulated reality just to see if the inhabitants can find the answer, like rats in a maze? We create simulations to test out various scenarios in order to learn something, to test a hypothesis.
However, Option 1 makes more sense if we believe that reality is a testing ground wherein we prove to the gods we are worthy.
This is a good metaphorical example of Option 1
Still, in both scenarios, the questions of "what is important?" is equally relevant.
So, because I am supremely lazy and not as smart as I'd like to be I choose to focus on that question, as it is the only question I can answer with absolute certainty, and which is in my control. I think it is better to ask "Where am I going, and why am I going there" when I get into a car, rather than asking "How do combustion engines work, and why?" (and hope my car doesn't break down).
So, my answer to "Do we live in a simulation?" is ", maybe... I don't know, nor do I care. What I will do in this reality, simulated or otherwise, is what is important to me."