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Rizwan Virk
The Simulated Multiverse
Rizwan Virk, author

Do multiple versions of ourselves exist in parallel universes living out their lives in different timelines?

In this follow up to his bestseller, The Simulation Hypothesis, MIT Computer Scientist and Silicon Valley Game Pioneer Rizwan Virk explores these topics from a new lens: that of simulation theory.  If we are living in a digital universe, then many of the complexities and baffling characteristics of our reality start to make more sense.  Quantum computing lets us simulate complex phenomena in parallel, allowing the simulation to explore many realities at once to find the most "optimum" path forward.  Could this explain not only the enigmatic Mandela Effect but provide us with a new understanding of time and space?

Bringing his unique trademark style of combining video games, computer science, quantum physics and computing with lots of philosophy and science fiction, Virk gives us a new way to think about not just our universe, but all possible realities!

Virk, an MIT computer scientist and author of The Simulation Hypothesis, makes a cogent, clear-eyed guide to the head-spinning science of parallel universes, quantum indeterminacy, and the possibility—terrifying or relieving—that our perceived reality is in fact part of a great simulation. That idea doesn’t just refer to a Matrix-style simulation of our particular patch of existence: instead, Virk entertains the idea that what we know is merely a part of a “complex, interconnected network of multiple timelines.” With an eye for games and pop culture, like Philip K. Dick and the “Arrowverse” TV shows, plus a willingness to dig into the metaphysical implications, Virk picks apart both the dead serious science supporting this hypothesis as well as quirky, quantum-flavored “speculative” ideas that tend to go viral, like the Mandela effect.

Especially interesting, after Virk has grounded readers in the science and the possibilities, is the author’s discussion of qubits and quantum parallelism, which rises out of a fascinating consideration of the convincing worlds conjured up by the creators of video games, reaching back to the text adventures at the dawn of the medium and then up to the current cutting edge. Virk takes pains to simplify the material for those not steeped in quantum or game mechanics, though the discussions can get heady enough that, when deep into some tricky passages, readers may find themselves having to return to an earlier point and start again, a “save state” process that itself resembles playing some of the games Virk examines.

Virk excels at working familiar cultural examples (Black Mirror, Star Trek, Devs) into his explorations, but the broader argument is never subordinate to his pop interests. Even deep into an explanation of quantum parallelism, considering the fate of the universes a quantum computer might create but essentially discard, Virk imbues the material with a sense of playful awe but also practical know-how, not just considering the possibilities but showing how they could be brought to life.

Takeaway: This head-spinning examination of the possibility of multiple realities argues that you, right at this moment, might be in a simulation.

Great for fans of: Tom Siegfried’s The Number of the Heavens, Carlo Rovelli’s Reality Is Not What it Seems.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A-
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A