BANK OF AMERICA: There’s a 20%-50% chance we’re inside the matrix and reality is just a simulation

The thing is: We’d never know it anyway.

In a note to clients out Tuesday, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said there’s a 20%-50% chance that we’re living in the matrix – meaning that the world we experience as “real” is actually just a simulation.

The firm cites comments from Elon Musk, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Nick Bostrom’s seminal paper on the issue as the basis for its 20%-50% view.


Here’s BAML (emphasis added):

“Many scientists, philosophers, and business leaders believe that there is a 20-50% probability that humans are already living in a computer-simulated virtual world. In April 2016, researchers gathered at the American Museum of Natural History to debate this notion. The argument is that we are already approaching photorealistic 3D simulations that millions of people can simultaneously participate in. It is conceivable that with advancements in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and computing power, members of future civilizations could have decided to run a simulation of their ancestors.”

BAML also notably highlights Nick Bostrom’s three probable scenarios for the human race, which are 1. extinction before reaching a “posthuman” stage, 2. reaching posthuman existence but not simulating evolutionary history, and 3. we are in the matrix already.

Reading Bostrom’s 2003 paper, however, makes clear we’d never really have access to full knowledge of any of these scenarios because, as Bostrom concludes, “Unless we are now living in a simulation, our descendants will almost certainly never run an ancestor-simulation.”

This “if true, then true, otherwise false” construct means none of this philosophical struggle really matters anyway.

We’re either in the matrix or we’re not. And if we’re not, we’re unlikely to create the matrix because if the matrix were plausible it would’ve been created anyway. And we’d be in it.

The investment implications remain unclear.