Descartes, the French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist suggested in the early 1600’s that there was no way to prove that the sum of the whole universe could be in fact due to the actions of an extraordinarily skilled illusionist through some unknown magic. Acclaimed lover of the paranormal and science Arthur C. Clarke later would make the statement that any sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic. Therefore, it seems possible that by combining both these statements we get a fairly clear picture of the future and realize that it could be today. Not only that, but we could live a billion lives only as ourselves and even achieve immortality.
It seems unrealistic and even ridiculous, but if Moore’s law of computer intelligence holds true for only a few more decades, then it seems quite feasible that computers will one day be capable of not only possessing human intelligence, but actually generating entire worlds within them where in the span of only a few seconds, every single thought process a person could have could be played out and replayed time and time again. A hundred billion Earths complete with histories, personalities, and people, could be programmed into them with the intention of reliving Earth’s entire history in one computer designed to rest on a single desktop. And then, each of these computer simulations, complete with thought processes and individual memories could be played in every variation.
Then, take the following into consideration. As each computer simulation is copied, the ratio of real people interacting and the facsimiles that were computer generated but in (almost) every way perfect would change as well. With time, new simulations and computer generated realities would eventually surpass the traditional “real world” realities. Eventually, the computer simulated realities would become so numerous that there would be infinitely more simulated realities than real ones. Everyone in these realities would believe they were in the one true real reality. So the question of whether any all of this is real or simply an incredibly well created illusion is not an issue of possibility, but of virtual (to excuse the phrase) certainty.
The possibility is very similar to the parallel reality theory in one simple way. Each simulation, given sufficient time, could see every variation of their own lives time after time with only slight alterations and differences. After a while these differences would become more pronounced and branch off in every direction with their own variations after a point. While the idea of computer simulated infinite alternate realities seems more like an exercise that would be more at home in the new age movement, physicists have suggested that if quantum computing does work, the likelihood of any of this being real at all are very slim compared to the alternative.
But there is a positive side to this. If we were created each moment as a perfect facsimile in the future, we would be guaranteed some level of immortality as well in this perfect computer simulation as we live a hundred billion life times on into the infinity.