Which SaberMetric Geek’s Computer Simulation Are We Living In?
According to Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, and the man most likely to turn into a real-life Bond villain, “Chances are, we’re all living in a simulation.”
Musk believes the chances are billions-to-one that we aren’t living in a computer simulation, which leads to nearly as many questions as there are potential simulated universes. Assuming Musk’s point has at least some merit, the implications are far-reaching, and it’s possible (if not likely) that baseball could be to blame.
Stay with me here.
Considering the explosion in the use of baseball projection systems, aka computer simulation programs, like ZiPs and PECOTA, baseball is certainly doing its part to seed the field of artificial intelligence. With every front office in the game creating its own simulation program, why wouldn’t some baseball geek be just as likely to create Skynet as some other geek working in a lab at MIT?
And, lately, it does kinda seem like we’re living in a computer simulation. The entire premise of baseball projection systems is that they run thousands of simulations, then base their predictions on the average output. But when you run thousands of simulations, you get a lot of outcomes that fall on the absurd ends of the Bell Curve.
Occasionally, you get results that would never seem possible to rational minds. You get results as crazy as Mark Reynolds hitting over .300 or a 40-year-old leading the AL in OPS.
Hell, the Cubs are the best team in baseball and Donald Trump is a viable presidential candidate. It’s all so unfathomable that “computer simulation” sounds like as good an explanation as any. That, or a Cartesian Evil Demon. Both of those seem very plausible.
Maybe Moneyball wasn’t a quirky buddy comedy, but a dark portend of days to come. Paul DePodesta could be the The Architect from The Matrix. (By the way, what the fuck was he talking about in that scene? If it wasn’t for his cool beard, I probably would have fallen asleep in the middle of his monologue.)
Whatever the truth about our reality, there does seem to be enough variation built into The Matrix that we get completely shocking results all the time. Those mysterious outcomes are often what make life challenging, exciting, and worthwhile. Especially when they occur on a baseball diamond.
Now, excuse me while I go watch a 5’8″ dude who just hit five home runs in two games.