Do Ethics Matter in a Simulated Universe?

Analyzing the value of ethics in the potential that we live in a computer-generated universe

David Hundley


“Universe - God = Chaos.”

That’s basically the worldview I grew up with.

As somebody who grew up in a Christian environment, I know all the little mechanisms the Christian worldview uses to justify why it is the correct worldview.

Just to be clear before moving on, I want to be careful not to paint Christians in a negative light here, particularly as all major worldviews have their own self-preservation tactics; for better or worse. I’m naturally most familiar with Christianity’s self-preservation tactics, which is the primary reason I choose to talk about it as opposed to some other major religion.

One of the most common self-preservation tactics is the “formula” noted at the outset of this post. To the credit of Christians, they tend to take ethics very seriously, so much so that if you told me I had to do business with a somebody who adheres to a worldview that places a serious value on ethics vs. anybody else, I think I’d be inclined toward working with the former person since I could have some level of reassurance that they aren’t going to screw me over. (Of course, I am speaking more generally; some “Christians” are morally reprehensible people.) They take the value of ethics so seriously that they essentially envision a “Godless universe” as one that would collapse into utter chaos.

It’s a very valid concern!

So when a worldview comes around that purports we live in a simulated universe, the tendency is to want to crap on it because “a godless universe devolves into chaos.” In fact, I’d take it a step further to say that worldviews like Christianity offer many very convincing rebuttals toward the a simulated universe, like noting how it seemingly takes out any meaning for living.

Here’s the problem… that thinking is too narrow.

It’s too narrow because it treats a simulated universe as if it’s just like The Matrix. Spoiler alert for The Matrix: we discover in that movie that humans find themselves trapped inside a simulated reality by machines in the real world who are essentially feeding off…



David Hundley

Principal machine learning engineer at a Fortune 50 company, 5x AWS certified, 2x HashiCorp certified, 1x GCP certified, M.A. in Org Leadership, PMP, ChFC, CSM