AbstractAbstract: In the last decade, an urban legend about “glitches in the matrix” has become popular. As it is typical for urban legends, there is no evidence for most such stories, and the phenomenon could be explained as resulting from hoaxes, creepypasta, coincidence, and different forms of cognitive bias. In addition, the folk understanding of probability does not bear much resemblance to actual probability distributions, resulting in the illusion of improbable events, like the “birthday paradox”. Moreover, many such stories, even if they were true, could not be considered evidence of glitches in a linear-time computer simulation, as the reported “glitches” often assume non-linearity of time and space—like premonitions or changes to the past. Different types of simulations assume different types of glitches; for example, dreams are often very glitchy. Here, we explore the theoretical conditions necessary for such glitches to occur and then create a typology of so-called “GITM” reports. One interesting hypothetical subtype is “viruses in the matrix”, that is, self-replicating units which consume computational resources in a manner similar to transposons in the genome, biological and computer viruses, and memes.
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