One more story from SXSW today, and this one doesn’t have anything to do with AOC. Just to give you a flavor of the type of thinking that’s sweeping through the crowds, there was quite a turnout to see George Hotz. In case you’re not familiar with him, George is a hacker who gained fame for hacking the iPhone early on, or “jailbreaking” it if you prefer. But he’s not content with just helping you change the default start-up screen on your mobile device anymore.

Hotz presented a pitch based on the idea that all of us are living in a vast simulation, similar to The Matrix. While many have speculated on this before as some sort of thought experiment, Hotz seems pretty serious. And beyond that, he’s upset about it. So he’s suggesting that there might be a way to “jailbreak the simulation.”

The speaker starts out with some Rick and Morty footage about a kid who experiences his entire life, from childhood to death, and then wakes up in some sort of arcade, only to find out the entire thing was a video game. On the screen in the hall where Hotz is speaking are the stark, block-letter words, “THIS IS A VIDEO GAME.” He tells a strange parable he claims to have written about a tiger in a cage, only the tiger doesn’t realize it’s in a cage because the cage is built so cleverly that the tiger can’t detect it. He then asks the listener to consider that they might be the tiger and poses the question… who is your zookeeper?

But is there any sort of proof that we’re really just non-player characters in some vast video game? I mean aside from endless Reddit threads about people who have discovered a Glitch in the Matrix. (By the way, that is a massive Reddit community.) Here’s the thing. The entire premise Hotz is proposing is based on the following assertion: You can’t prove that we’re not living in a simulation.

By the end, Hotz explains that he’s selling his company and coming into a large sum of money. What does he want to do with it? Start a new company? Nope. He wants to start a church. And the purpose of that church would be to lead people toward a way that they can escape the simulation. Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds an awful lot like how Heaven’s Gate started.

If you’ve got the time, check out this video of his presentation. If you can’t make it through the whole thing, just the first five minutes will give you a good idea of where this train is heading. And remember… this is the same event where most of the prominent 2020 Democratic presidential contenders spent their weekend.