In 1999, the first in a series of movies came out suggesting that we are all parts of a computer simulation. The Matrix was the ultimate horror story of artificial intelligence gone wrong. But could it be true? Could we be living in a computer simulation? And how would we ever know?

A British philosopher, Nick Bostrom, hypothesized that we might in fact be living in a computer simulation being run by our descendants in the future. Bostrom, a philosophy professor at the University of Oxford, published a paper in Philosophical Quarterly in 2003 arguing that one of three possibilities is true: