The simulation hypothesis (simulation argument or simulism) proposes that reality is a simulation and those affected are generally unaware of this. The concept is reminiscent of René Descartes’ Evil Genius but posits a more futuristic simulated reality.
There is a long philosophical and scientific history to the underlying thesis that reality is an illusion. This skeptical hypothesis (which can be dated in Western thought back to Parmenides, Zeno of Elea and Plato and in Eastern thought to the Advaita Vedanta concept of Maya) arguably underpins the mind–body dualism of Descartes, and is closely related to phenomenalism, a stance briefly adopted by Bertrand Russell. In a narrower sense it has become an important theme in science fiction, and recently has become a serious topic of study for futurology, in particular for transhumanism through the work of Nick Bostrom. The Simulation Hypothesis is a subject of serious academic debate within the field of transhumanism.