This is by far the most commonly held answer to the Fermi Paradox, even though the faithful don't usually think about their beliefs that way. Indeed, it's one of the more interesting arguments for the existence of God. Or rather, of a Designer.
A Designer of the physical universe? Or of a Simulation? And is there a difference? Brin returns to the theme, albeit without mention of my favorite paradox:
Contrary Brin: Design? Accident? Or Simulation?Any fan of the genre knows from the start how Brin's story will turn out, so it's mostly interesting for the digressions along the way. If one were looking for evidence of a simulation, I'd suggest looking for hacks and shortcuts. Computation is never free; any deity running our simulation would be doing something recursive, like reusing an intermediate output as a part of more than one result. One might be able to create an experiment that would stress the system, and expose the hacks. Something using a quantum computer ....
* Leonard Susskind's new book, The Cosmic Landscape pits intelligent design against string theory and the megaverse. Surprisingly, Autodesk founder John Walker sides with intelligent design, but not by a deity -- by post-Singularity intelligences creating a reality simulation: "What would we expect to see if we inhabited a simulation?" Yes, I have discussed this in fact & fiction, many times. But the “symptoms” delineated by Susskind are definitely the kind plumbed by theoretical physicists who have a more extensive union card than I do! http://www.fourmilab.ch/fourmilog/archives/2006-03/000664.html
To see this scenario played out in one of my short stories, go to: http://www.davidbrin.com/stonesofsignificance1.html