The universe is a really strange place, and as science progresses, it just keeps looking weirder. So when fringe theories like the below come about, your first impulse is to laugh them off, but then you think, "Is it really that much stranger than what we know now?"
So we're not saying that any of these mind-blowing theories about the nature of everything are accurate, we're just saying that they were proposed by people smarter than us, and it's fun to think about how ...
6 We Might Be Living in the Matrix
In The Matrix, Keanu Reeves is horrified to learn that the universe he's been living in is actually a computer program designed by a giant, malicious robot intelligence, and that he's actually a hairless man-baby swimming in a vat of goop in the bowels of a dystopian machine-brain. That's about as fictional as science fiction can get, but there are working scientists in the real world who wonder seriously about the idea that we might be living in an actual Matrix.
"Shit. So that red pill wasn't Ecstasy."
First, there's British philosopher Nick Bostrom, who came up with a statistical argument that we're living in an extremely sophisticated version of The Sims. The idea is that we have the ability and the inclination to build our own simulated realities, as evidenced by the growing video game industry. Thus it's inevitable that we'll build our own Matrix one day, when our level of technology allows it. That simulation will continue to grow in realism and complexity until one day it will have its own civilization, who will want to build a simulation of their own, and onward to infinity.
How much pixelation do you have over your junk? If your answer is any at all, you're probably living in The Sims.
If that's true, then there might be a virtually infinite number of simulations out there, so the chances that we're one of them are actually much higher than the chances that we're not.
Then there's physicist Silas Beane from the University of Bonn in Germany. His theory is that, if we are actually living in a computer simulation, then our universe should have a "resolution" -- in other words, there should be a limit to how small something can be, just like nothing can be smaller than the pixels on your computer screen.
Now, is the universe in VGA or super VGA?
And, incidentally, they have found such a limit. It's something called the Greisen-Zatsepin--Kuzmin or GZK limit. It's about as technical as you'd expect for something with that many hyphens and consonants, but Beane thinks it might be the first evidence that the world around us is made up of artificial bits created by some other intelligence. Of course, this evidence might not be that compelling by itself, but Beane and his colleagues are busy thinking up new ways to detect the computer we might be living in, presumably by mapping the universe in search of the Blue Screen of Death.
Congratulations -- proof we're all living inside a computer! Also, everyone's now dead.
As with all of the fringe theories on this list, there are those who scoff at such a notion. And they will continue to, right up to the point that a team of superpowered Matrix Agents storm their office.