However, as long as the seat of your consciousness remains external to where the simulated reality is computed, you will be able to distinguish between the “real” world (where your consciousness is seated) and the simulated one. No matter how lost you are in space battles on the other side of the horsehead nebula, eventually your body will rudely interrupt with a growling stomach or by simply falling asleep. As much as some of us try to dismiss reality, reality cannot be denied.
To fully enter a simulated reality, you need to become part of that reality. What if the mind-computer interface included a robotic couch that popped Hot Pockets in your mouth and functioned as a toilet? What if your sleep cycle was incorporated into the simulated reality and falling asleep was part of the simulated experience and not an interruption? What if your personal reality was managed so well by the simulated reality that reality was incorporated into the simulation? Welcome to The Matrix.
Oof. Metaphysics is way too heavy for a blog post. Let’s try a fun thought experiment instead.
A more obvious clue would be changes in the laws of physics. If physics are simulated by software algorithms running on a supercomputer, then it’s possible that there are bugs in the programming that would cause shifts in say, the force of gravity. If the laws of physics remain unchanged then either the software is perfect or the entities who are running the simulation that we are part of are adjusting our perceptions and memories to compensate. In either case, from the viewpoint of the simulated, the simulators appear to be gods. Or God.
Which brings us back to metaphysics. My head hurts.
So now you see why VR can get too good.