Our universe certainly seems real, but in recent years a growing number of scientists have begun to wonder if it's all just a sophisticated simulation. Are we and everything around us nothing more than points of data in some sort of cosmic hologram?
A group of celebrated scientists, including Neil deGrasse Tyson, gathered at New York City's American Museum of Natural History on Tuesday night for a serious discussion of what may sound more like a sci-fi movie plot than reality.
Tyson was joined by Lisa Randall, a theoretical physicist at Harvard University; Max Tegmark, a cosmologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; David Chalmers, a professor of philosophy at New York University; Zohreh Davoudi, a theoretical physicist at MIT; and James Gates, a theoretical physicist at the University of Maryland. (Watch the event in the video above.)
So, how likely is it that the universe is a simulation? Tegmark jokingly said 17 percent, and Randall said zero. Meanwhile, Chalmers said, "We’re not going to get conclusive proof that we’re not in a simulation, because any proof would be simulated."
The event was part of the museum's Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate series, which is held each year to commemorate the life of the iconic science fiction author.
This article was updated to include comments from the debate.