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On 20th Anniversary of The Matrix, MIT Game Industry Veteran to Release “The Simulation Hypothesis”
San Francisco, CA – March 21, 2019 – At the Game Developers Conference (GDC), bestselling author, renowned MIT computer scientist and Silicon Valley video game designer Rizwan Virk announced that his book, The Simulation Hypothesis, will be released on the 20th anniversary of the release of the film, The Matrix. This is the first serious book by a video game industry veteran to explain one of the most consequential theories of our time, that we are living inside a sophisticated video game.
“When the Matrix came out in 1999, it was in the realm of science fiction,” said Virk. “In the 20 years since, with the evolution of MMORPGs, Virtual Reality, AR, AI, and Neuroscience, we are getting closer and closer. In this book, I lay out a clear path from today’s tech to building the Matrix.”
Virk is the founder of Play Labs @ MIT, a video game startup incubator at the MIT Game Lab, and co-founder, advisor and investor in many video game startups including Discord, Telltale Games, Funzio, Gameview, Tapjoy and Sliver.tv.
Pulling together concepts from computer science, artificial intelligence, video games, quantum physics, and both ancient eastern and western religious texts, Virk shows how all of these traditions come together to point to the idea that we may be inside a simulated reality like The Matrix.
Science fiction writers like Philip K. Dick have explored the idea of a simulated reality. More recently, prominent figures like Elon Musk, and scientists like Neil deGrasse Tyson and others have spoken about the idea. Futurists like Google’s Ray Kurzweil have popularized the idea of downloading consciousness, and Oxford’s Nick Bostrom published a paper in 2003 that concluded we are living in a simulation.
The book explores the history of video game development and brings together arguments from these diverse thinkers. The Simulation Hypothesis is for computer scientists, science fiction fans, video game enthusiasts, and spiritual seekers looking to understand the nature of reality.
The book includes endorsements by Noah Falstein, Tessa B. Dick, Jacques Vallee, Dannion Brinkley, Brent Bushnell and Diana Walsh Pasulka.
Endorsements for Rizwan Virk’s book: The Simulation Hypothesis
“The Simulation Hypothesis by Riz Virk lays out both the technical aspects of computer simulation and the mystical reasons why we can take Philip K. Dick seriously when he proposed that we are living in a computer-generated reality. His vision that this world is not quite real informed much of his science fiction. This book explains that idea from scientific and religious perspectives.”
~Tessa B. Dick, author of Conversations with Philip K. Dick, wife of Philip K. Dick
"The Simulation Hypothesis presents a radical alternative to current models of reality.
Many fields of human experience rejected or neglected by modern science can be brought under the framework proposed by Riz Virk, relying on the latest insights of computer science and on the author's unique experience with the design of digital games. The result is a stunning reappraisal of what it means to be human in an infinite universe."
~Jacques Vallée, venture capitalist and author of Forbidden Science, former NASA and Stanford Research Institute scientist, and basis for the French scientist in Close Encounters of the Third Kind
“In The Simulation Hypothesis, Riz Virk provides a deft and knowledgeable blend of video game history, hard science speculation, and science fiction references. Whether or not you believe we all exist in a simulation, I found it both fascinating and entertaining.”
~Noah Falstein, former chair of the IGDA, former Chief Game Designer at Google
“In The Simulation Hypothesis, Riz Virk takes current trends of immersion in video games and personalized entertainment to their logical conclusion: how to build a simulation as real as what we experience in daily life. While no one can say for certain how many lives we have, my advice is to the assume it's a "one-life game" and make the best of it!"
~Brent Bushnell, Founder and CEO of Two Bit Circus,
"My own experience has taught me that we live, teach, learn and love in a virtual world. In The Simulation Hypothesis, Riz Virk combines the mind of a scientist with the heart of a mystic, using video games to explain the virtual reality that we live in.”
~Dannion Brinkley, bestselling author of Saved by the Light and At Peace in the Light
“Rizwan Virk's book The Simulation Hypothesis is one of the few works that could convince me that I probably live in a simulated universe. Virk's breadth of knowledge encompasses the history of religions, philosophy, popular culture, modern physics and computer technology, drawing connections which show his theory is not only feasible but probably correct.
If this sounds mind blowing, it is! This book is also really funny and engaging, with references to popular culture and video games to keep the philosophy and science enjoyable. I highly recommend this book - it expanded my mind's bandwidth!"
~Diana Walsh Pasulka, Professor of Philosophy and Religion, University of North Carolina Wilmington, author of American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology
About the Author:
Rizwan (“Riz”) Virk is a successful entrepreneur, angel investor, bestselling author, video game industry pioneer, and indie film producer. Virk currently runs Play Labs @ MIT (www.playlabs.tv) a startup accelerator for playful technologies held on campus at the MIT Game Lab and Bayview Labs (www.bayviewlabs.com).
Virk’s books include: Startup Myths and Models: Secrets They Don't Teach You at Stanford Business School, from Columbia University Press (2020), Zen Entrepreneurship: Walking the Path of the Career Warrior (2013), and Treasure Hunt: Follow Your Inner Clues to Find True Success (2017).
Virk’s video games have been played by millions, including Tap Fish, and games based on TV shows like Penny Dreadful and Grimm. Virk has been an investor in many video game companies, including Telltale Games (creator of narrative games based on The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones), Disruptor Beam (creator of Star Trek: Timelines game), Pocket Gems, Tapjoy, Sliver.tv, and Discord.
Virk has written articles for many leading technology and spiritual blogs, including TechCrunch, Venture Beat, Hacker Noon, The Startup Grind. He has spoken at conferences on technology, entrepreneurship, video games at places as diverse as MIT, 500 Startups, The New Living Expo, Coast to Coast AM, and he was even skewered by the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
The Simulation Hypothesis, by Rizwan Virk | Bayview Books | March 31, 2019
Paperback ISBN: 9780983056904 | $12.95 | 300 pp