This is easily the biggest question in our existence and yet sadly it doesn’t look like will ever be answered. However, one popular theory that is becoming more mainstream is the idea that our universe is actually a simulation. In other words, there are some who believe that everything that you experience and or will ever exist is within some kind of advanced simulation. These questions and more are explored in Rodney Ascher’s new documentary, A Glitch in the Matrix, which examines the science that may support this theory and asks, if true, what does it mean for our existence?
Now, admittedly, most people will completely dismiss this idea. Even atheists would think it’s just too out of this world. However, the film is able to explain the concept in a very digestible manner. Taking inspiration from Elon Musk, it’s worth noting that just 20 years ago, we were using dial-up phones. Now, in 2021, we have touch screens and smartphones more powerful than any computer that existed back then. VR (Virtual reality) technology didn’t exist 10 years ago and now is fully functional for mass consumerism. If we even have just 0.01% rate of improvement each year, we will eventually reach a point when VR technology is so good that it is indistinguishable from real life with interactive characters who seem alive and have their own intelligence. It may seem crazy to think of but Glitch argues that this could be what our reality is right now. Wasn’t it only a few hundred years ago that humanity collectively agreed that the world was flat? So, who knows what the real answer to our universe may be?
Personally, I really enjoyed how the film compared our reality with a video game and the questions that immediately follow. Are we all in virtual reality? Or is intelligence an illusion and you and everyone around you is merely an NPC that you’d find in a video game? If so, does that mean everything renders when you also look at it? How do you know for sure somebody else exists when you are not directly looking at them? Who is the creator of this reality and what is their purpose? Are some alien scientists using us to observe and learn? Or are we just a fun little video game that’s stuck as a gaming app in some everyday phone? A Glitch in the Matrix takes a deep dive into the high concept ideas of what a virtual reality could look like and it makes you really question your existence.
The film does end on a strange note. As the film progresses, it interviews people that are firm believers of the theory to an extreme, even including people that believe that they’re actually Neo from the Matrix films. As a result, the film’s narrative does seem to take a sharp turn into the bizarre as it moves from theories based on technology and science to high-concept variations of the theory to people that come across as a bit looney. In doing so, the film undercuts its own arguments and even makes the theory look ridiculous.
Overall, A Glitch in the Matrix brings light to an ever-growing theory about what could be the truth of our reality. Taking ideas and knowledge from various sources, it brings legitimacy to the concept but also recognizes the extremes of the theory and what the implications are for those who believe. Wild and fascinating, Glitch is definitely a must watch as simulation theory continues to become more mainstream.
A Glitch in the Matrix is available on VOD platforms on February 5th, 2021.