The question of whether or not our world is real has beendebated since the time of the ancient Greeks. Recently,films like the Matrix have suggested that ‘reality’ could bean entirely artificial construction.

Now two scientists are saying that it might just be true.Physicist Martin Rees and mathematician John Barrowspeculate that the world that we know might be the creationof a gigantic computer located, perhaps, outside of theuniverse.

In fact, the universe itself could be a simulation, and, asDr. Rees speculates, it would not be necessary to create theentire thing, but only the appearance of it. Our reality, inother words, could look enormous but actually be quitesmall, easily manageable by the sort of supercomputer thatmight be available in just a matter of years.

John Barrow, also a Cambridge teacher, suggests that acivilization just slightly ahead of our own could create auniverse in which self-conscious entities could exist andinteract with each other. But Seth Lloyd of MIT says thatsuch a simulation would require a computer so large that itwould be virtually unimaginable.

Nevertheless, Barrow and Rees are being taken seriously inscholarly and scientific circles. If they’re right, then thequestion must be asked: was famed anomalist Charles Fortright? IS this a barnyard?

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