Virtual reality is giving Elon Musk an existential crisis

Elon Musk
'Tesla, Hyperloop, PayPal... all for nothing'

It doesn't sound like Musk has had a go on the Oculus Rift just yet, but virtual reality has certainly got him thinking about some deeper philosophical dilemmas. Principally, if he's even real.

Answering a question on the impact of VR on transport of the future at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit, Musk's response was "Maybe we're in a simulation right now". The audience thought that was pretty funny, before they realised he was being dead serious.

He went on: "From what I've heard of Oculus Rift and some of the other immersive technologies, it's quite transformative, you really feel like you're there. And when you come out of it, it feels like reality isn't real. So I think we'll see less physical movement in the future as a result of the virtual reality stuff."

Musk then mused further on the possibility that we're all living in one massive simulator. "If there's continued improvement, and you're in a full body haptic suit with surround vision, it becomes, beyond a certain resolution, indistringuishable from reality. And there are likely to be millions, maybe billions of such simulations, so then what are the odds that we're actually in base reality? Isn't it one in billions?"

After stumbling a little over his words (perhaps as he finally understood the magnitude of his own point) Musk concluded: "This feels real, but it seems unlikely to be real".

We feel you, Elon. See the whole talk below.

Hugh Langley

Hugh Langley is the ex-News Editor of TechRadar. He had written for many magazines and websites including Business Insider, The Telegraph, IGN, Gizmodo, Entrepreneur Magazine, WIRED (UK), TrustedReviews, Business Insider Australia, Business Insider India, Business Insider Singapore, Wareable, The Ambient and more.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider covering Google and Alphabet, and has the unfortunate distinction of accidentally linking the TechRadar homepage to a rival publication.