Well, OK, I'll grant that generally intelligent people seem to be serious.
Of course, the same can be said of every religion as well, and I find them even more silly then this idea.
My point about being a pointless trippy exercise is that even if it were correct, it would make absolutely no difference to our day to day lives, and it would be impossible to ever know either way.
The whole point of a model is that it is simpler to work with. If you wanted the most realistic possible environment in which to test predictions, you just do an experiment, in the actual world.
Just because the technology for something is available doesn't mean people are going to actually to implement it. We have flying cars and jetpacks and Google Glasses, but no one actually cares to use them.
In order to actually model all of reality, you also have to model the computer programs. So what happens when you try to model computer programs that model the universe? They would have to also have accurate models of the universe - including of themselves... endlessly recursive (reminds me of the full video game within Day of the Tentacle). It would require infinitely complex processing.
Moreover, this entire idea is a bit like the homunculus assumption of how the mind works. There is no tiny mind at the controls, and when you see something, there is no image of it anywhere in your brain. The simulation doesn't look anything like the experience and (this part is key) the elements of brain goo that process the information we experience don't themselves have any consciousness.
There is no reason to think that the products of such a simulation would have any consciousness. In our case - the only one that we know of that experiences consciousness - it is only the overall "simulation" as a whole, the total mind, that is more than just a stimulus-response network. Contrary to what "Inside Out" is teaching kids, each separate subroutine of the model of the world that is our minds does not have its own separate sentience.
The idea that we are "probably" in a model suggests that it is inevitable that all complex simulations would have to have individually and independently sentient subroutines in order to make an accurate model, but we know that isn't true.
If the point of the simulation involves tweaking variables, and perhaps has "bugs" of convenience, then all bets are off the table in terms of what the "real" world could be like. We are no longer talking about an atom by atom mock-up of the universe, we are talking about an entirely arbitrary "universe" created by something, with rules we can't possibly ever know for reasons we can never really speculate on. Maybe outside the simulation there is no such thing as atoms. Maybe there aren't 4 fundamental forces. There could be 25, or just 1. Maybe the entire concept of energy was invented by the programmer.
Then again, maybe our entire universe is itself a particle within a much larger universe. That is equally probable.
Or, like in my first post, this could just as easily be a hallucination or a dream. We know dreams exist, we know they are sometimes realistic, so why isn't it a one in billions chances (or at least 50% chance) that "we" (except really, "I") are living in a dream?
People today happen to be obsessed with computers and the internet and where it could hypothetically go, but that doesn't make it any more actually "likely" that we are in one than it was a hundred years ago, or a thousand years ago, or a million years ago.
Are all the stars fake? Or did the programmer actually build entire galaxies which would have zero affect on us, just to be more through? Or, conversely, did they take the time to program something as complex as evolving life with sentience in one random tiny corner of the universe when the real interest was the physics of the universe.
Say some brilliant computer scientist was able to simulate every atom from the big bang on. It would take a universe worth of energy to run, just like the actual universe does. To what end, other than perhaps entertainment?
Isn't this question equally valid when asked of our current real universe? To what end? Does it have a purpose? Does it need one?
Why is this question interesting when asked about a simulation but not when asked about a physical universe? Do we need a hypothesized external intelligence to give this existence meaning?
Difference is, someone would have had to made a conscious deliberate effort to make a simulation. In order to do that, they would need a specific motivation. If the universe is just the product of random physics, then there need not be any purpose.