Is this real life, or The Matrix?

Scepticism and simulation

Are we living in a simulation? Is there anyway to know we're not? The answer might not be completely reassuring, but we don't have to give up on knowledge altogether, writes Anandi Hattiangadi. 

It is the year 4000CE, and there are no trees, no birds, and no humans. The Earth has been taken over by artificial superintelligences (ASIs), who vastly exceed humans in their computational capacity. These beings have destroyed us along with most organic matter on the planet in pursuit of the materials and power needed for their existence. Though they care little for the natural world, the ASI’s pursuit of knowledge is rapacious. In order to understand their history, they have developed a computer simulation, much like the simulated world depicted in the film, The Matrix, but which is a perfect computational model of the universe down to the smallest subatomic particle, and from the very moment of the big bang. As the program runs, virtual organisms evolve, from v

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