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FQXi FORUM
April 20, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: Removing the Element of Surprise by Aaron M. Feeney [refresh]
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Author Aaron M. Feeney wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 11:23 GMT
Essay Abstract

How should humanity steer the future? Does this phrasing describe the ideal relationship that a civilization might have with its future? Maybe our concept of steering in this context has always been reversed with respect to what is fundamentally optimal, which would serve to explain all the crashing. This paper will establish that there is a potential technology which would instead allow the future to steer humanity.

Author Bio

Aaron M. Feeney was born in Buffalo, NY, in 1974. He received a B.A. degree in philosophy from Binghamton University, and later received an M.A. degree in the same field from The University of New Mexico (2002). In addition to pursuing his music and writing projects, his current program of study is focused on electronics, computer-aided design, and industrial technology.

Essay removed at author's request.

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Michael Allan wrote on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 03:00 GMT
Hello Aaron, May I offer a short appraisal of your essay? It would be a bit on the critical side, if you could return the favour. - Mike

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Michael Allan replied on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 13:30 GMT
(You replied in my forum, thanks again.) Your essay makes me (a non-philosopher) think hard, but then puts me in two minds. So I begin with a question to help me choose between them. You claim that a foreknowledge machine (error-free, definite future viewer) is possible. Would you defend that claim in the case of an outcome that is non-trivial in regard to steering humanity? What sort of non-trivial outcome would it correctly predict? Please give an example, if possible.

If you'd defend the strong claim, then I'd try to refute you. Otherwise I'd re-read your essay in light of the imperfect future viewer of reason, and mind (which you sidestep on page 1), because I feel your insights are still applicable in this weaker application. - Mike

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 1, 2014 @ 03:00 GMT
Hi Mike,

Let me clarify and then you might change your main question. You ask: "What sort of non-trivial outcome would it correctly predict?" Foreknowledge machines are not in the business of prediction at all. (Yes, I know I used the description "predictively useful," since predictions could be based on viewer foreknowledge and they would always be right. However, viewer foreknowledge...

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Michael Allan replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 23:44 GMT
Thanks for explaining so patiently, Aaron. Such a machine is infeasible, but I was wrong to imply that it would always be so (sorry); I can't prove that. I still want to re-read your essay from the vantage of reason as an imperfect past/future viewer (not a predictor, but a fuzzy viewer). I'll do that shortly (on a clear thinking day!) and see what comes out of it. - Warmly, Mike

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 20:15 GMT
Dear Mr. Feeney,

I tried my level best to read your essay; unfortunately, it contained an error in the second paragraph that was so egregious, it made it impossible to read further.

You wrote: “Every eye, camera, microscope and telescope is a line-of-sight past viewer. This is because it always takes time for light from any source to reach any lens. You are completely and utterly...

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on Apr. 24, 2014 @ 01:23 GMT
Dear Mr. Fisher,

Your critique does not disprove what I wrote, or show it to be in error. Can you prove that no interval of time (the way we measure time) transpires between the emission of a laser pulse and its reception a meter away? If you cannot, you will have to retract your objection, because my statement was made in the context of the way we measure time. On the other hand, if you can prove such a thing, I will certainly be impressed.

Now, of course, a photon doesn't age or "experience" any time; this fact emerges in standard relativity as a limit of time dilation. However, time from the photon's perspective is irrelevant in the context of the statement from my paper that you found objectionable.

At the end of the day, I am primarily concerned with the advancement of knowledge, so if you still feel that my statement really is wrong (in terms of the way we measure time), please explain further. If you cannot establish such a case, it would be a simple matter to concede that you had been interpreting my statement out of its inherent context, and to then state that you are willing to accept that it is correct within its appropriate domain of application.

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Joe Fisher replied on Apr. 24, 2014 @ 14:40 GMT
Dear Mr. Feeney,

There is no such thing as time so it cannot be measured. A clock does not measure anything. A thermometer can only measure the temperature of its immediate surroundings. A speedometer can only measure the immediacy of the vehicle it is moving in. The way the scientists used to to measure the so-called “speed” of light was to fabricate a straight lined vacuum tube and fire a laser beam through it a few thousand times. Supposedly, one end of the vacuum tube had a light sensor affixed to it. Except as light does not have a surface, it cannot be detected. The only thing that can be detected would be trillions of real particles that have been agitated by a light radiant as each particle has a surface that light can attach itself to. A computer program was then devised to calculate the maximum “speed” the light would be able to travel from a fixed commencement point of time at one end of the vacuum tube to the so-called light sensor. Of course the computer program gave the approximately 186,000 mps as being the speed of light. Please take out a piece of paper and a pencil and a stopwatch. Now with one hand start the stopwatch and with the other hand draw a line on the piece of paper. As you complete drawing the line, stop the stopwatch. Do this several thousand times carefully recording the line drawing times as they occur. Then calculate the mean time and you will be able to establish the “speed” of line drawing.

Joe Fisher

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 13:00 GMT
Thank you, Mr. Fisher. Your comments are now sufficient to allow anyone who reads our conversation to decide for themselves whether your objection is relevant.

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Peter Jackson wrote on May. 2, 2014 @ 19:59 GMT
Aaron,

Lovely essay. I'm sold. Can I order two please, with an option on a dozen more (once I've checked the first ones work!).

And I always used to think our foreknowledge machine was the one full of wisdom in out heads... Aha! I now see the massive market potential!

Seriously though, a lovely idea and well written, turning the whole question inside out and back to front. If you'd like to go upside down and the other way round as well do check out my essay where Bob does just that - some time in the future!

Thanks for a fascinating read. Now I do have a couple of problems scoring it. Can you please check your future machine and help me out. The first one was that as you have no scores yet it would put you in the lead! No problem, except with a 10 the trolls would all pounce with the ones! (as they did mine). Worth the risk? or perhaps a lower score? Better to wait? But what's going to happen? I suspect you've already used your machine and responded because suddenly I can't score at all! The button has stopped working. I'm logged in and all. I've made a note and shall return! (or remind me on my own blog).

Best of luck. I hope you get some scores in the meantime.

Best wishes

Peter

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Member Marc Séguin replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 20:20 GMT
Aaron,

Your essay is very interesting to read and thought-provoking, as the very funny comment above by Peter Jackson demonstrates. I really liked the way you tackled the problem of "seeing the future" by distinguishing between 3 types of machines: Everett, Cassandra and Foreknowledge. Of course, if our world operates along the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics (Many Worlds), we have many futures and we will discover that it is impossible to make a Foreknowledge machine work. But our failure to make a Foreknowledge machine work could also be caused by the fact that our future is so messed-up that any information given by the machine would cause us to try to change what we see... a very dark possibility indeed!

On the other hand, if a Foreknowledge machine could be constructed and would begin to give actual foreknowledge, it would be a wonderful thing indeed, because it would prove that we have a future worth pursuing! It would also create a "virtuous paradox": our foreknowledge of our "positive future" would make us behave in the precise way to create that positive future! What a wonderful idea for a Sci-Fi novel: a Foreknowledge machine is constructed but refuses to give results, so humanity has to embark on all sorts of "positive" reforms, until finally we are on the right track and the machine starts giving results!

I teach physics at the college level, and when I talk about relativity, I always take time to talk about time travel and paradoxes: in the future, I will certainly use the ideas that you presented in your essay in my teaching, and I don't even need a Foreknowledge machine to tell me that!

Speaking of teaching, in my essay I propose that we increase the ability of humanity to steer the future successfully by refocusing education on the knowledge that is the most relevant to the future of humanity. If you have time to check it out, rate it and comment on it, I would certainly appreciate it.

Marc

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James Lee Hoover wrote on May. 5, 2014 @ 05:28 GMT
Aaron,

Your abstract does draw in the reader, dangling a technology before us that has the future steering humanity. Building a foreknowledge machine is perhaps more reasonable than trying to get humankind to work together on a solution that provides survival and a future.

I would wonder how long it will take to build a foreknowledge machine. Will we not destroy ourselves before that happens? Most of us speak of the right approaches and means of steering the future. Yours is ready made -- at least upon discovery.

Jim

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 6, 2014 @ 00:04 GMT
Hi Jim,

Thanks for your supportive comments. I'm glad to see these ideas taking root. Yes, such technology would guarantee that all parties who use it will end up working together toward the same goals, no matter what their agendas may have been previously. I honestly think we can figure out all the necessary mysteries in order to build the first foreknowledge machines within the next thirty years. I refuse to believe that we might destroy ourselves before the great breakthroughs emerge... but until they do, one can only hope for the best.

Aaron

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James Lee Hoover replied on May. 26, 2014 @ 16:01 GMT
Aaron,

Since time grows short, I revisited those reviewed and found that I rated you on May 12th.

JIm

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James Lee Hoover replied on May. 26, 2014 @ 22:10 GMT
Aaron,

Thanks for the post and the comment. Will contact.

Jim

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on May. 6, 2014 @ 00:42 GMT
Your paper is an interesting topic. Time travel and obtaining information from the future is an interesting subject. I will be honest that I doubt it can become a practical technology, well not in the way most people think. I am bumping the score of your paper back up.

On the plus side with time travel, it can only work in a quantum universe. A closed timelike loop exists only if the...

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Lawrence B Crowell replied on May. 8, 2014 @ 00:55 GMT
Copied from my essay blog site

The (Closed Timelike Curve) CTC quantum paths I discussed yesterday are not something I entirely understand. It is I think likely that these CTCs are entirely contained inside event horizons of black holes. I doubt these exist in spacetime we causally interact with. Of course I might be wrong, but time travel seems to pose troubles that I doubt exist.

Though CTCs exist inside black holes quantum states in the exterior that are entangled with interior states will serve as a quantum computer. The closed paths interior to black holes will permit second order λ-calculus and computation of NP hard problems in P time. States exterior to the black hole will compute them as well. Of course there is a bit of a problem, for while this entanglement exists to properly read the output a classical key must be transmitted from the interior. That is a difficult question. The black hole quantum mechanically decays and this interior key does in effect escape. Whether or not the quantum information that escapes can be “used” as the key is unknown.

Of course from a practical perspective I doubt that black holes will be used as quantum computers any time soon. Quark-gluon plasmas have quantum gravity amplitudes in the quantum gravity – quantum chromodynamics correspondence, and this physics may influence the types of scattering processes involved. So it is not likely this will be a practical technology.

If you want to send material to me my address is lcrowell@swcp.com

Cheers LC

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George Gantz wrote on May. 9, 2014 @ 14:28 GMT
Hello Aaron - As promised, I read your essay and here is my comment. Score will follow. I agree with the comments above - your essay is fun to read and easy enough to follow. While there is the feasibility issue, and also the technical one of non-predictability, I'm also intrigued by the sociological issue. This is not necessarily a new point of discussion, since physical determinism and divine omniscience have similar attributes to the foreknowledge machine and they have been around for a long time. (See my blogpost on this topic: Time and Free Will. So here is the question - would a truly rational human, having in hand one of your foreknowledge machines, be inclined to give up the human struggle to make his or her own choices? Would they still be human?

Much thanks and best of luck! - George Gantz (author: The Tip of the Spear)

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 23, 2014 @ 21:42 GMT
Hi George,

I have been catching up on all the many questions and essays recently, after completing my whirlwind of a semester. Thank you for your excellent two-part question, I will get right to it:

"[W]ould a truly rational human, having in hand one of your foreknowledge machines, be inclined to give up the human struggle to make his or her own choices? Would they still be...

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George Gantz replied on May. 27, 2014 @ 01:33 GMT
Thanks, Aaron. Excellent clarification in your reply. Now, here's another question - your description of foreknowledge machine and the influence on individual human behaviors seems to echo in a remarkable way the laws of Divine Providence as postulated by Emanuel Swedenborg, here paraphrased: All humans have free will; God wants all humans to achieve their maximum potential for good (in spite of their inherent tendencies to be selfish / evil); At every moment in a person's life, God is providing learning opportunities and feedback to each human seeking to help him/her achieve that maximum potential; Of necessity, God's divine providence must be invisible to the human awareness or they would then perceive their actions or choices as compulsions or rebel against the very thing God wants to achieve.

How is the foreknowledge machine different?

Many thanks - George

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Member Daniel Dewey wrote on May. 9, 2014 @ 18:38 GMT
Hi Aaron,

The concept of time-viewing is interesting! I like how it interacts with images from distant places/times. I went into the essay skeptical, since I don't think travelling back in time is likely to be possible, but I like your conceptual approach to "foreknowledge machines", which could just as well be implemented as very powerful computers.

It is interesting to think that, assuming that humans wise enough to discriminate between desirable and undesirable outcomes are in charge, desirable outcomes would more often be fixed-points under foreknowledge, and that undesirable outcomes would more often not be fixed points, so whenever a foreknowledge machine did return a value, it would be more likely that we would see (and end up with) a desirable outcome. Again, I wasn't initially sure that this would really work, but it does seem right on closer inspection.

My only complaint is my first one: my limited understanding of physics is that sending information backward in time isn't a reasonable possibility. We could build prediction machines of some kind, but making them powerful enough to serve as foreknowledge machines with long-range abilities doesn't sound like a likely possibility (or, if we could, then we could also build other machines that would make a much better difference).

Overall, though, interesting essay!

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 11, 2014 @ 18:12 GMT
Hi Daniel,

Thanks for reading my essay. I am glad you see the potential that foreknowledge machines promise for the amplification of beneficial outcomes. However, this effect would not depend upon the wisdom of people in charge. If you were to read my longer ebook on Amazon, you would get a lot more detail about the nature of the mechanism.

Now, it is my duty to respond that foreknowledge machines could not be implemented with very powerful computers, as you wrote. Prediction is very limited. Foreknowledge machines represent the transcendence of prediction, forecasting, simulation, et cetera, in favor of viewing the real thing whenever possible. No matter how powerful, no computer could ever become a foreknowledge machine.

I understand your complaint. We don't know how to build one, or even all the principles upon which one could be based. The point of the paper, however, is purely logical--it specifies the kind of machine that is both logically possible and useful, and then advocates for what beneficial purposes such machines could serve. The technical details of actually building one will have to wait for our best scientists and engineers to crack one day, if such machines, in addition to being logically possible, are also physically possible.

Aaron

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Tommy Anderberg wrote on May. 9, 2014 @ 20:21 GMT
Let me tell you a story.

A Foreknowledge machine was built in a secret location and its existence announced to a stunned world. Suitably white-haired and bespectacled wise men were trotted out in front of TV cameras to explain how powerful security protocols and AI censors had been put in place to only allow the prediction (or non-confirmation) of positive outcomes. Politicians backed up...

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 10, 2014 @ 01:31 GMT
Hi Tommy,

Thank you for reading my article. I enjoyed your entertaining story, and it is clear that you put a great deal of thought into it. Of course, in addition to being a story it is also meant to constitute an objection. As an objection, I will show that it misses the mark. It will be shown that it is not a story about the technology I specify in my article.

First of all, your story discuss the concept of prediction. However, foreknowledge machines do not predict anything (for essential further details about this, see my response to Michael Allan at the top of the page). This is the case insofar as there are only two outcomes possible. Either they show the future exactly as it will happen (i.e., they provide viewer foreknowledge), or, if they encounter an interference viewing scenario, they could provide only ambiguous information (if they would operate at all).

The other place where the story diverges from foreknowledge machine technology is found in the quote, "every single scenario submitted to the Machine was now being returned as not confirmed." No scenarios are submitted to a foreknowledge machine. Instead, a 4-D spacetime coordinate is dialed in as a viewpoint, and a polar coordinate is selected to specify the direction in which to view from that viewpoint. Then, the machine would either provide viewer foreknowledge, or not.

In light of these two clear differences, I think you will see that your story was about a technology other than what I was describing. What you described is very similar to what was depicted in the movie Paycheck, which I think you will enjoy immensely, as I did. However, that film was riddled with inconsistencies. For a much better story, which is perfectly consistent, read Philip K. Dick's short story of the same title--though the two plots barely resemble one another.

Aaron

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Tommy Anderberg replied on May. 10, 2014 @ 02:09 GMT
Hi. No, not really a great deal of thought, I typed it out immediately after reading your essay.

Regarding your objections, the predictions in this little story are not produced by the machine. They are produced by submitters who want to have them verified by the Machine, typically as part of a scenario which may require the verification of multiple predictions. A simple example given in your essay is the prediction that an airplane will arrive at destination according to schedule.

So no, I do not agree that there are "clear differences".

The serious point here is that your proposal for taming the potential risks of the hypothetical Foreknowledge machine is incomplete. If the machine consistently fails to provide foreknowledge about an exhaustive range of desired outcomes, you will know that something undesired will happen, even if you do not try to directly obtain foreknowledge of the undesired outcome.

My little story is about a particularly simple case in which all foreknowledge proves unobtainable beyond a certain date, thus identifying that date as The End, ironically due to a sequence of events caused by the very existence of the Foreknowledge machine. It's written in jest, but it exploits a real hole in your argument.

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 10, 2014 @ 03:19 GMT
Hi Tommy,

Please explain this hole you perceive further. Remember, the example about the airplane does not involve a prediction at all. One gains foreknowledge from a FM, not prediction. Prediction is something we do now. After foreknowledge machines are invented, if they are invented, prediction will be a term reserved only for the scientific method or for activities where foreknowledge machines are not used or cannot be used. In a world where foreknowledge machines are in widespread use, meteorologists and seismologists will no longer be necessary, or even useful, in their traditional roles. Their skills could be applied to something useful, and then no more would be trained after they retire. Please re-read my paper with these concepts in mind, and if you continue to see some hole, I would love to hear what you have discovered. This is a helpful process for me, and I thank you.

Aaron

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Torsten Asselmeyer-Maluga wrote on May. 9, 2014 @ 20:35 GMT
Dear Aron,

I like your essay, it is thought-provoking and also fun reading. I never had this point of view but why not. I like also the 3 types of machines.

My own work (exotic smoothness and cosmology) uncovered the mysteries of CTC's, I was unable to avoid them in my theory, but maybe you point to an interesting solution where I have to think about.

In particular you carefully discuss the problems of time travel (also possible avoidance of paradoxa).

For more comments I have to dig deeper.

Best Torsten

PS: I like it so much to give score 8!

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 10, 2014 @ 03:34 GMT
Thank you, Torsten! I'm glad you liked it so much. I look forward to your further thoughts. I have now put your article in my spreadsheet, to read and rate. Have a great weekend.

Aaron

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Georgina Woodward wrote on May. 10, 2014 @ 01:21 GMT
Hi Aaron,

I have read your essay for a second time.

The kind of foreknowledge machine that you have said can be made just shows all of the possible outcomes. Isn't that like a chess player can look ahead and compare the outcomes of different moves by visualization. Perhaps our decision making/steering, is reliant upon us not weighing up myriad possibilities but only considering a limited range of possibilities. Important if urgent decisions are needed or the consequences are of little importance whatever choice is made.

Is the machine's accuracy outweighed by the information overload as all possibilities are given? Or is its value in allowing us not to think about consequences of actions but to allow a machine to do that for us?Isn't thinking and even making mistakes part of what makes us human? For usefulness there would need to be probabilities assigned to each foreseen outcome. That may be useful for accurate risk assessments. (Just me thinking aloud.)

There is a good example of the 'Cassandra type' machine in the film 'Paycheck', writer Philip K Dick, directed John Woo, 2003 with dire consequences of self fulfilling prophesy writ large. I don't believe in time travel, it is incompatible with my way of thinking about the universe and physics.Interesting to hear you views and the references to work overcoming the temporal paradoxes.

Regards Georgina. I will be voting when I am ready to do so. I'd like time to digest all that I have read.

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 10, 2014 @ 02:53 GMT
Hi Georgina,

Thank you for reading my essay. I would like to respond to your second sentence: "The kind of foreknowledge machine that you have said can be made just shows all of the possible outcomes."

There are two things here. The machine you have described is called an Everett machine, a foreknowledge machine is something else entirely. Yes, I do say that an Everett machine is logically possible, but I also say that a foreknowledge machine is logically possible, and that a foreknowledge machine is the only kind of future-viewing machine that would be of tremendous value. The key to the whole article is never losing sight of the definition given for the term "viewer foreknowledge."

I am glad you have indicated that you haven't rated my article yet, because I believe that when you skim it with the above clarifications in mind, you will be able to assess it for what it attempts to express within the 25,000 character limit. (Also of relevance in this context, I am in the process of adding a postscript to my community letter, so you will get that in a few minutes as well.)

Warmly,

Aaron

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Anonymous replied on May. 10, 2014 @ 23:13 GMT
Aaron,

Yes, I see where I have muddled the Everett machine and the later Foreknowledge machine. How does a Foreknowledge future viewer differ from for example a climate model, which will make predictions with an accuracy dependent upon the completeness of the information supplied and thus also computing power available?

To be honest I find the explanations difficult to get my head around. I don't understand why undesirable outcomes are not viewed because lots of undesirable things happen. What happens to free will if you have to make the outcome match what you have seen happen? Who then is steering the machine or the human mind? There would be no need to consider why choices were made only that they were made, it seems to me. The advantage of a model is it is only indicative of what might happen under certain circumstances and the circumstances can be altered. Steering to avoid them.

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Robert de Neufville wrote on May. 10, 2014 @ 04:49 GMT
Very interesting essay, Aaron. I think your ideas are valuable, although I have my doubts about the feasibility and value of a foreknowledge machine. A few thoughts:

1) I don't think a Cassandra machine is possible either, but I don't think you demonstrate this logically. Your thought experiment seems to me to assume that the machine that executes the program on the basis of the Cassandra...

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 10, 2014 @ 23:57 GMT
Hi Robert,

Thanks for reading my work, I look forward to reading your paper after finals in my technical program have concluded next Friday. Thanks also for giving these wonderful points of critique which provide me with another opportunity to clarify.

I will go point by point:

1) I don't think a Cassandra machine is possible either, but I don't think you demonstrate this...

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 11, 2014 @ 00:18 GMT
5) I found the idea that foreknowledge machines would end war intriguing. You are right that countries that go to war generally (but not always) do so because they disagree about what the outcome will be. But it seems to me--perhaps I have misunderstood what you are trying to say here--that outcomes that depend on the human use of information about the future are precisely the kind that a...

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Robert de Neufville replied on May. 11, 2014 @ 12:45 GMT
Thanks for the interesting clarifications, Aaron. I'm glad if my comments were helpful. I have a few more quick responses:

1) I'm not sure what you mean when you say that it is logically possible for a computer to follow a program accurately. Computers certainly can follow programs accurately. But that's an empirical fact, not an analytic statement. I don't think we can ever guarantee that...

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Ross Cevenst wrote on May. 10, 2014 @ 08:54 GMT
Hi Aaron,

That's quite an interesting analysis. I think I couldn't help but take your foreknowledge machines as a metaphor for the scientific project. In this way its an interesting analysis. In particular a Cassandra machine illustrates the concept of how as we know more, we can appear less and less able to cheat fate because our predictions are inevitable, and at they same time they grow in number.

It almost made me think that at least in its use as a metaphor, a foreknowlege machine implies the viewer as an active participant, rather than a separate observer. That is, in viewing the future in enough detail, they are able to trace some of the events back to their own decisions (or decisions of others that they might influence). In this sense it doesn't disempower us as often depicted in scifi/fantasy, but instead links the future to our own actions, giving us the control to shape our own destiny. That's not to imply that our choices are somehow removed or separate from causality, but merely that our choices are a powerful part of causal reality that shapes our fate.

Perhaps science and foreknowledge machines are different then, in that science can never wholely predict an event that in turn relies on the choice we make, if that choice relies on our observation of the event. In other words, a discrete future prediction is inherently paradoxical, but a probabilistic one that refers to our choices is not only possible but desirable!

Your essay was certainly different, and certainly thought provoking. Thanks!

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Christine Cordula Dantas wrote on May. 10, 2014 @ 10:37 GMT
Dear Aaron,

I wrote a comment here, but for some reason it went to nirvana. I'm writing again, but now in short.

I find your essay interesting. There are 2 intertwined issues, I think: outcomes and decisions, which generate an information overload that place limits on practicability. However, your essay interests me more in the foundational side, and I will be rating it based on that solely. I think that removing time travel from your essay would bring it a better rating, but I will not place weight on the latter on my rating, but more on the idea of foreknowledge machines.

Best,

Christine

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Alan M. Kadin wrote on May. 10, 2014 @ 15:06 GMT
Aaron,

It is difficult to find time to read over 150 essays carefully. I read yours in response to your comment on my essay page about the Community Rating system. While I would like to read your essay through more carefully before final rating, I understand that your essay focuses on the possibility of a foreknowledge machine, essentially a simulator that runs faster than real-time, so that we may accurately predict the future. Further, you make an interesting argument that people would behave better if they knew what the results of their actions might be. While I agree that more accurate information is generally better, people often do not behave rationally, even in the presence of reliable predictions. For example, the evidence of anthropomorphic global warming follows from extensive computer simulations of the global climate system. These simulations are scientifically well established, but the long-term implications are widely either denied, ignored, or put aside for future generations to deal with. In my own essay "Just Too Many People: Towards a Sustainable Future Earth", I argue that the key problem facing humanity (and giving rise to a variety of climate and resource problems) is that the global population is already unsustainably large, and must be reduced going forward. This is not a popular argument (as perhaps reflected in the relatively low Community Rating), but the facts speak for themselves.

Alan Kadin

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 11, 2014 @ 00:23 GMT
Hi Alan,

Thank you for taking the time to read my offering. I will read yours soon as well. I would like to correct the characterization of foreknowledge machines given in the following excerpt: "your essay focuses on the possibility of a foreknowledge machine, essentially a simulator that runs faster than real-time, so that we may accurately predict the future."

It is important for me to clarify that this is not an accurate description of what a foreknowledge machine would be, since they would not predict anything. Instead, they allow the operator to actually peer into the future to see exactly what will occur (i.e., viewer foreknowledge), or they will encounter an interference viewing scenario. Seeing the future would be "predictively useful," since with such access one could always formulate predictions that would be 100% correct, but doing so would not itself constitute the reception of a prediction.

This kind of technology may not be physically possible, but it is logically possible. Please skim the article with these clarifications in mind, and pay particular attention to technical note ten. I see clearly now that I must emphasize in future papers or a book on the subject that foreknowledge machines represent the transcendence of prediction. For additional clarification, please read my conversation with Michael Allan at the top of this page. All the best to you here, and in all things.

Warmly,

Aaron

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Kevin O'Malley replied on May. 11, 2014 @ 23:36 GMT
Hello Aaron:

Per your post on every author's page regarding the internal rating practices, no, I do not think it is ironic that self-interest is involved in the rating practices of such authors. If we cannot harness self interest as a species, we will by no means be able to "steer humanity".

Looking at your article, I find a future predicting machine to be very impractical. And since my main focus is on practicality, I'll be rating your essay accordingly.

But there is a silver lining on this cloud. I have been involved in a wisdom-of-crowd project in the past, and it DEFINITELY harnessed self interest. That prediction "machine" was called Intrade. Alas, Intrade shut down because it was blocked from opening up in the USA. But while it was open, I enjoyed it immensely because it gave me a chance to put my money where my mouth is. And I even wrote a very pertinent article about my experience with Intrade with respect to LENR:

How I Made Money from Cold Fusion

How I Made Money from Cold Fusion

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Anonymous replied on May. 12, 2014 @ 05:16 GMT
Hi Kevin,

Thanks for stopping by and conversing with me. I first want to say that I really meant obvious lack of integrity. While self-interest and obvious lack of integrity are two different things, I think maybe putting "obvious lack of integrity" on everyone's page might have been a bit too much. However, whenever a person tolerates an obvious lack of integrity, it is at the service of...

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Steve Agnew wrote on May. 10, 2014 @ 19:19 GMT
Okay...time travel. As a devout quantumologist, I must conclude that traveling to the future as a way of predicting the future from the present is necessarily futile. QM tells us that there are a very large number of possible futures, but we only ever know one future. Your future viewer would only see one of those futures or would see a superposition of all of the them and therefore also not be very helpful.

As you can see, there is no problem with causality since a future viewer would not provide any better information than the physics we already have and so the changes that you cause are already in one of the possible futures anyway.

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Ajay Bhatla wrote on May. 11, 2014 @ 06:12 GMT
Dear Aaron,

Very interesting idea, indeed, of a foreknowledge machine.

The future-viewing machine you propose is very interesting because it seems to incorporate my definition of science. Let me explain:

Science is about finding causes of results. When we see a result, science can tell us what the root cause(s)of the result are e.g. the air is heating up because we are adding more carbon dioxide. The reverse, the cause seeding the impact, is not always true e.g. if we add carbon dioxide the only result is not warming.

Your foreknowledge machine seems to correctly predict the result of an action (cause). Am I understanding your thought correctly?

What is the implication of the fact that different people will have different foreknowledge? If no foreknowledge exists, will the future-viewing machine show any result?

- Ajay

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Domenico Oricchio wrote on May. 11, 2014 @ 10:53 GMT
It is interesting the Cassandra machines; some time ago I thought a strange tachyon machine (a story for the grandchilds), where a machine that write in the present write in the same machine in the past, so that who write a text? The ink disappear in the present, to appear in the past, and the pen in the present delete the old writing! There is a book in a temporal loop, and no one write the book.

The computer can be a Turing machine that write in the past, deleting the present tape, so that the computer have the result before of the calculation (always a story).

I am thinking that each weather forecasting is a Cassandra machine, if the forecasting is perfect, and the prediction time is not high: if there are classical equations, and weak quantum effect, then the Cassandra machine work well.

Each dynamics have forbidden trajectories, so that it is true that not all the futures are possible (simmetries and invariants), and each real Cassandra machine can say this prohibition.

A machine that reduce locally the entropy, for example cooling a system, or concentrating a system, is a local Cassandra machine? Is it possible to include information in the system, to send locally message in the past?

If an essay make you think, then it is a good essay.

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Anonymous replied on May. 11, 2014 @ 17:40 GMT
Hi Domenico,

I'm glad you enjoyed my essay. I found your "strange tachyon machine" idea interesting, as well as the Turing machine which has the result before the calculation. There is a history of this kind of musing.

I would like to respond about your repeated mention of Cassandra machines. Cassandra machines are not logically possible, they are like round squares. We can talk about them, just as we can talk about round squares, but neither can ever be real. So, the phrase "each real Cassandra machine," is as nonsensical as the phrase "each real round square." Instead, I suggest that you may mean to refer to foreknowledge machines, as they are both useful and logically possible.

Now, with this change in terminology in mind, perfect weather forecasting would not be a foreknowledge machine, because foreknowledge machines do not forecast or predict anything. They see the future as it will happen, or they give only vague information or fail to operate if they encounter an interference viewing scenario. Also, I would not say that a machine which reduces the local entropy is a foreknowledge machine, since every living organism does exactly this.

I recommend looking over my article again and reading the conversations with Michael Allan, Tommy Anderberg, and Robert de Neufville above. I would love to hear your further thoughts after this clarification.

I now have your article in my spreadsheet to read, and I look forward to it. All the best to you here, and in life.

Aaron

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Domenico Oricchio replied on May. 11, 2014 @ 20:41 GMT
I am thinking that the single antimatter particle dynamic can be interpreted like retrocasuality dynamic (Dirac equation), so that can a macroscopic mechanism with a prevalence of antimatter be interpreted like a local pastward time travel?

How an antimatter universal computer (analog or digital) work, with interaction with the matter (photons of measurement)?

It seem more and more interesting.

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Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on May. 11, 2014 @ 12:36 GMT
Dear Aaron

You have put in a lot of thought into this. The concept of a foreknowledge machine is the stuff of science fiction, but you have considered the possibility of their being real - like one day we can download an app that will tell us what we will do in the next 24 hours or week or year. I would imagine that if such a machine were possible its accuracy would diminish with the distance in the future of the setting.

Unfortunately, from my own point of view, and more specifically from the physics of my Beautiful Universe theory , there is no time dimension. Past present and future are just outcomes of memory, perception and speculation successively. All we have is one universal 'now' state that changes.

You can counter by saying, yes but what will future 'now' states be? I do not subscribe to many-world theories, so the future such a machine would read would be a Laplacian causal projection. Alas it has been repeatedly argued that any tiny variation in setting the initial conditions (the butterfly flaps its wings, or not) will cause a large change down the causal chain (the storm, or not).

As for the single photon experiment read Eric Reiter's experiments on his unquantum.org site. He has proven that there is no such thing as a point photon - ie the photon goes through the two slits all the time.

I wish you all the best, and do not worry nobody is going to tell about WWIII through a foreknowledge machine. Be happy ...now.

Vladimir

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James A Putnam wrote on May. 11, 2014 @ 20:08 GMT
Aaron M. Feeney,

Responding to your invitation to rate your essay: I do not think that relativity theory is correct. I do think that the effects known as time dilation and length contraction are real. In the case of time dilation, I don't mean a property of time, I see it as the observed effect that events slow down under the correct circumstance. There are two points that follow from this: One is that I do not accept the idea of space-time or general relativity. The second is that these ideas are accepted physics theory with a long history of effects that are interpreted to confirm the theory. Therefore, investigations into further development of the effects predicted by relativity theory are certainly justified. In other words, your essay presents something that deserves serious consideration in line with accepted physics theory. That is how I judge it. I think physicists should seriously evaluate your essay and in keeping with that opinion, I am pushing your essay up for greater visibility hopefully to be evaluated by the judges. Your essay is a far better fit, in my opinion, for the subject of this contest than are many others that are presently highly rated. Good luck.

James Putnam

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 11, 2014 @ 20:36 GMT
Hi James,

Thanks so much. I am glad you see the feasibility and promise of what I have been working on, as well as its fit to the contest. (To really see what I've been up to for the last few years, take a look at my ebook on Amazon.)

Your website looks interesting. I agree that physics could use a shakeup or two, and I enjoy reading works from authors who suggest new ways to do that. I've got it bookmarked. As well, I have your FQXi article on my spreadsheet to read. All the best and good luck to you too!

Warmly,

Aaron

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Luca Valeri wrote on May. 11, 2014 @ 22:59 GMT
Dear Aaron,

Excellent essay! A pleasure to read. I had some loosely thoughts that I want to share.

We don't need to hurry to invent a future viewer. We can wait until past travelling is invented and come back and change nothing.

The oracle of delphi was an early future viewer, who told Oedipus that he would kill his father and marry his mother. To avoid his faith he left for Thebes, where he killed his father on the way and married his mother. It seems, that the future viewing provoked the events it viewed. Same as in your P-0 program in the computer. It will do, what the future viewer tells him. It's a bit the chicken-egg problem. But I can't avoid the horrifying picture, that its' the future viewer that is steering us.

I wonder whether we could decide if the future viewer is telling us something about the future or the past. If there are only deterministic reversible laws the future viewer could not tell us anything, that we could not know now. Future and past have not a real meaning. If we add the second law of thermodynamics - entropy increase - and the future viewer would tell us something, that increases the relative information to what we know already it would be almost sure an information of the past and not from the future. How comes? This is the topic of my essay.

I met a boy with a story coming from the future. The fool thought he could change his past.

We shall not know the future otherwise we would not act in order to steer it.

Best regards,

Luca

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Charles Gregory St Pierre wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 04:13 GMT
Dear Aaron,

Read your essay. The foreknowledge machine is an interesting concept. I'm not sure if I got it right, though.

If I got the gist, I think your claim is that a foreknowledge machine will only show future events that would not be/are not changed by the observer. Or anyone or anything. And that if a 'successful' result of an event is not shown, that is, no clear result is shown, it should not be attempted. Is this the case? This seems to imply that many future events can only be observed at most once. Indeed, that many (most? almost all?) future events cannot be observed at all with such a machine. Unless perhaps there is only one foreknowledge machine, and its results are not shared.

Like to know if I got this right. Thanks.

OH, yes. Thanks for your observation, and your helpful scale. I am not down-voting either.

Charles

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Christian Corda wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 09:32 GMT
Hi Aaron,

As I promised in my Essay page, I have read your nice Essay. Here are my comments/questions:

1) "Displaying for its operator every possible future, but could not show which one will occur" is similar to the collapse of the wave function in quantum mechanics. This should be the Bohr's point of view, while the Cassandra machines should represent Einstein's point of view. I think you suggest a third, intermediate point of view. Something like "a deterministic quantum mechanics".

2) I like your statement that "One must realize that we are still at a very early stage of science and technology". In science we need both humility and optimism.

3) Don't you think that it is, in a certain sense, a full circle that a case wherein an individual or group helps to bring certain future outcomes to fruition, based upon what has been learned in viewer foreknowledge?

4) What is the difference between "unmistakable viewer foreknowledge" and "effectively unmistakable viewer foreknowledge"?

5) What is called "second-time-around fallacy" in philosophy is called "chronology protection conjecture" in physics.

6) When Kurt Gödel have shown that closed timelike curves could in principle exist in general relativity, Einstein claimed that "such a potential existence gives me shivers running down my spine"

7) On one hand, the idea that the future will steer humanity looks intriguing. On the other and, don't you think that removing the element of surprise could mean that life will become bore? See also point 3).

In any case, your Essay enjoyed me a lot. Thus, I give you an high score.

Best luck in the contest.

Cheers, Ch.

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 12, 2014 @ 23:27 GMT
Hi Christian,

Glad you enjoyed my work. I look forward to reading yours soon.

Thanks for putting your questions and comments in a numbered list, so here I go point by point:

1) "Displaying for its operator every possible future, but could not show which one will occur" is similar to the collapse of the wave function in quantum mechanics. This should be the Bohr's point of...

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Christian Corda replied on May. 13, 2014 @ 06:17 GMT
Dear Aaron,

Thanks for your kind clarifications. It is my pleasure discussing with you. Let us keep in touch then.

Cheers, Ch.

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Peter Jackson wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 12:18 GMT
Aaron,

I've returned as promised now the buttons at the top seems to be working again. I agree all scores are too low due to the rule breaching 1's flying about. I've refused to join 'tit for tat' and derived a cunning plan which I've suggested to Brendan; anyone giving a 1 (or poss any very low score) where clearly not warranted has it removed and applied to their own essay! That may eradicate the dishonest practice completely.

Anyway, your own fair and well deserved score is now applied.

Best wishes.

Peter

If you're not using your machine full time may I borrow or hire it for a day?

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Wilhelmus de Wilde de Wilde wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 15:18 GMT
Dear AAron,

In my last article that I wrote for COSMOLOGY (it is still under peer review) I created a "time-machine" that is in fact an "Eternal Now Hopper" so it could also be used as a time machine.

I quote you the text just for fun:

quote

5. Time-Travel Becomes “ETERNAL -NOW- MOMENT HOPPING”

The splitting in the original Many Worlds I interpretation goes...

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Aitor Elorza wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 17:19 GMT
Dear Aaron,

In responding to your invitation, I've read and rated your essay.

I think it is interesting and well written. Your idea is valuable but in my view, only theoretically: I don't think that obtaining information from the future is physically feasible. Anyway, who knows?

Moreover, I think that it is very difficult to predict the effects of such a machine. Who would have access to it? Everybody? How people would react if free will is only an illusion?

I have also discussed about the double-slit experiment in my essay, from a different perspective.

Regards,

Aitor Elorza

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Judy Nabb wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 20:05 GMT
Aaron,

I managed to read you essay. Fascinating. I fear for the future, particularly now the future of physics. The guilty seem blind to how low they've sunk. It's endemic, almost a pandemic. If your machine can give us the vision to wake thm up it can save humanity! Nicely written. I'm marking it now. I hope you do well.

Judy

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Gbenga Michael Ogungbuyi wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 23:26 GMT
Dear Aaron,

Your name came to limelight by your invitation on my wall. I have replied your comments on rating issue wrote about. Since you will revisit the essay it is needless to paste it here again! Please kindly read it.

About your essay, I can see that you have a concept. And I do commend you for that instinct. I have also rated you!



I want you to read mine STRIKING A BALANCE BETWEEN TECHNOLOGY AND ECOSYSTEM See the link here http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2020

I anticipate your comments and rating as well.

Wishing you the best in this competition.

Regards

Gbenga

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Rodney Bartlett wrote on May. 13, 2014 @ 08:54 GMT
Hi Aaron,

I've given you that rating you deserve. Haven't had time yet to get your book from Amazon. I keep getting lots of ideas which I turn into articles at my page on vixra.org. My computer screen turned pink 6 months ago, and is extremely hard to read now, so I hope your book is available in printed form.

Regards,

Rodney

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Anonymous wrote on May. 13, 2014 @ 14:45 GMT
Dear Feeney,

You see? I told you you'll be bombarded. Yours is a bold essay.

What I personally find intriguing (even frustrating) is that without having before set a camera therein we cannot just walk into a room and decide to view say its past 1 hour or 30 minutes etc. Feeney, once we can get a method to zoom in and out of space-time then future and past viewing will become one. In fact I wager that past viewing in this sense will be far more useful because it will revolutionize crime investigation, privacy, etc.

Now to the practical side, isn't a conservation law actually kind of a natural future knowledge “machine”?

In other words, to adopt a different “conservation law” (universal constant) is to adopt a different observer/space-time.

I take this approach , so you can understand that our thesis somehow merge, namely: man will be then the “space-time” i.e. the de facto unit for measuring/predicting space and time.

I appreciate your statement that: “…not only will viewer foreknowledge eliminate the uncertainty and deception that warfare requires for its existence, it will also gradually eliminate the concept of collective enemies.”

In your own words I'll say, your essay was very good and I learnt a lot!

Chidi

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Chidi Idika wrote on May. 13, 2014 @ 14:54 GMT
Was me above.

and, does this computer have mind of it own? Keeps logging me out!

Chidi

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Anonymous wrote on May. 13, 2014 @ 22:35 GMT
Dear Aaron!

I read your essay. It is well written, and yes theoretically or factually there may be already 'future viewing machines' in operation.

However, there are some crucial questions worth considering applying such kind of 'machines'.

1. Everything start there - we all are able to control at least estimate the possible outcomes of our own thoughts, before inventing any kind of technology.

2. Is there a necessity to establish over us a sophisticated intelligence who controls our thoughts?

3. As a human can't you enjoy when happening getting some surprise?

As per my consideration, because every past experience action, event based on thoughts and the thoughts can be changed, so the past unfortunately can't be fixed also the future can't be predicted unambiguously. Everything is tested in a present moment of thinkers' actual focus but based on their individual experiences and controlling or not their own thoughts, and that is what very difficult to predict using only a human mind.

I offer you some links for your further reading:

How to time travel

Rumored Technology

Paycheck - film

Fred Allan Wolf - material

Damien Broderick Living in the future right now

Kind regards,

Valeria

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Luca Valeri wrote on May. 14, 2014 @ 06:01 GMT
Hi Aaron,

I could need some more rating. I hope you reciprocate the favour (see my comment above) and rate and hopefully also comment on my essay.

Thanks

Luca

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 14, 2014 @ 12:47 GMT
Hi Luca,

Yes, I have you on my spreadsheet. My last final exam in my technical program is on Friday. After that, I will finally have the leisure to read and rate essays. All the best!

Aaron

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Luca Valeri replied on May. 14, 2014 @ 14:49 GMT
Good luck the with the exam ... and the contest.

Luca

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 15, 2014 @ 19:59 GMT
Thank you, Luca! You too!

Aaron

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Gbenga Michael Ogungbuyi wrote on May. 15, 2014 @ 05:31 GMT
Dear Aaron,

You have requested me reading your essay, make comment and rate you which I have done, but you promised to reciprocate the same but I am yet to see you do all these. STRIKING A BALANCE BETWEEN TECHNOLOGY AND ECOSYSTEM use this direct link http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2020

Expect you you.

Wishing you the best as said earlier.

Regards

Gbenga

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 15, 2014 @ 19:12 GMT
Hi Gbenga,

Yes, I'm looking forward to it. My technical program is done tomorrow, and then I can devote time to reading all the wonderful essays here, including yours. I will post to your page soon.

Aaron

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KoGuan Leo wrote on May. 15, 2014 @ 16:55 GMT
Dear Aaron,

I like your idea of the foreknowledge machines. Excellent imagination. I rated your unique essay a full score 10.

Good luck!

Leo KoGuan

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Anonymous wrote on May. 18, 2014 @ 09:12 GMT
Aaron,

It took me a minute to grasp that viewing the future in your context is not the same as predicting events. So I see we share a philosophy about the relativity of time. The nature of predictability, in fact, was the subject of my last year's FQXi essay.

You should find that your modulo 4 counting system exactly corresponds to the Bell-Aspect interpretation of quantum mechanics; there is no way in principle to beat the nonlocality of a programmed observation. The space simply isn't big enough.

The added degree of freedom imparted, however, both by the Everett hypothesis and a simple point at infinity in a 4-dimension spacetime, does allow local-global mapping of events continuously to themselves, with a deterministic result that is as much future as it is present. That is, the complete measure of events on a closed [0,1] interval, locally, corresponds in a self-similar way to the global half open interval [0,1).

Engaging essay, and I wish you well with it.

Best,

Tom

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on May. 18, 2014 @ 09:13 GMT
Damn logouts.

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Wilhelmus de Wilde de Wilde wrote on May. 19, 2014 @ 14:34 GMT
Dear Aaron,

I hope that I am still on your spreadsheet.

In my post of may 12 I sent you my idea of "consciouss time travel" but the illustration did not come along, so here it is again.

If you are interested in the whole artiocle I will sent it to your private mail,

mine is

wilhelmus.d@orange.fr

best regards

Wilhelmus

attachments: figure_4_ENM_HOPPER.jpg

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Orenda Urbano Hernández wrote on May. 19, 2014 @ 22:50 GMT
Aaron,

Your farsighted, anticipatory, structured and generous nature provides smart and diligent guidelines to communicate in a visionary way. Definitely your essay in a poetic, analytic and challenging way provides an insight that provokes thoughts, and questions. Reading it brought up the question of how is it possible to follow the biophoton in the future? Is it contained in the biophoton a blue print to follow different structures in the layers of time or is it free? I appreciate you shared the possibility of the emergent new questionnaire of how to lead the self to a positive reality.

The suggestion of reading the posts of the persons mentioned in your post are worth reading and help to see constructive interpretations of your work, visions and eagers of helping human kind.I also appreciate you shared a score that is clever, enthusiastic and smart structured grades for qualifying other essays.

Wishing you success in achieving a way to download Cassandra and Everett machines from the intangible world into the tangible one to help human kind. We could share in the future platforms of work, meanwhile Black Sky Thinking wants to invite human kind to develop inner world to make rational cybernetics of cosmos, Cassandra/Everett machines would be an excellent tool to structure a rational platform for a positive reality for human kind. I remain thankful of your post and with the best wishes for you.

Kindly Orenda

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Ryoji Furui wrote on May. 19, 2014 @ 23:48 GMT
Aaron,

Interesting essay, I have a strict belief to theory of relativities so I think we cannot get to access to the future and i do believe we can not calculate what happens in the future exactly as numerics lost some information in the process of quantization. (this maybe the same statement of recent hawking's chaos quantum condition in his black hole denying. anyway, we've got the degree of freedom to imagination and this always makes us building the future indeed so i think your essay would be deserved as rated.

ryoji

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Member Tommaso Bolognesi wrote on May. 20, 2014 @ 10:35 GMT
Dear Aaron,

I agree with most other comments pointing out that your essay is fun reading, and gives the definite impression that you have worked hard on the topic. But I see the following problems.

If I understand correctly, foreknowledge machines (FM) either return information (`viewer foreknowledge`) that must be definite and correct, or nothing, depending on where you point them...

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Anonymous replied on May. 20, 2014 @ 21:56 GMT
(This post continues the misplaced post below, so that post should be read first.)

"At p. 7, at the bottom of the second paragraph of Section `Removing the Element of Surprise` you seem to provide a sort of proof that the usage of FMs would tend to eliminate undesirable outcomes. I feel that the crucial passage of the argument is: `However, truly undesirable outcomes that are feasible for a...

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Author Aaron M. Feeney wrote on May. 20, 2014 @ 20:36 GMT
Hi Tommaso,

Thanks for your interest in my essay, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I did work hard on this topic, to produce Understanding Future-Viewing Machines and Time Travel, and while I did have to write for several hours every day to produce my FQXi essay, as only two weeks remained to write it after I finished and published that longer offering, most of the really hard work...

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Author Aaron M. Feeney wrote on May. 27, 2014 @ 23:40 GMT
All the most useful clarifications, gathered into one place (Part I):

A response to a comment made by Eckard Blumschein, on his page:

Thanks for explaining why you were bored with my essay. However, my essay is not about prediction or forecasts in the slightest. The machines I am referring to are not some kind of simulation generators. No data would need to be added, because...

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Author Aaron M. Feeney wrote on May. 27, 2014 @ 23:52 GMT
All the most useful clarifications, gathered into one place (Part II):

Question submitted by George Gantz, on this page:

"[W]ould a truly rational human, having in hand one of your foreknowledge machines, be inclined to give up the human struggle to make his or her own choices? Would they still be human?"

(I will use the female pronoun.) It would be very unlikely, if...

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Janko Kokosar wrote on May. 28, 2014 @ 13:55 GMT
Dear Mr. Aaron M. Feeney

Irrespective of existence of CTC, the physical analysis of such things is very useful for development of physics.

But you forget

1. references of Hadley , which tries to connect quantum mechanics and general relativity with the principle of CTCs.

2. One form of double slit experiment exists, where only after take off of electrons it is decided, if both slits will be opened or only one. Unfortunately, I do not remember details of this thought experiment and link for it. But this experiment is connected with CTCs.

3. It is also an option that Libet experiment, in psychology, is connected with CTCs or with foreknowledge. This is also a link which would give total survey of possible existence of CTCs of your paper.

In this contests, Luca Zimmermann gives essay about nature of time. Maybe this one is also important for you.

Physics of time is also connected with consciousness, with QM and with special relativity. In this paper, I try to prove that time does not flow if matter does not exist.

It would be useful to analyse consequences of time-machines, thus if it is possible that such device could cause some contradictions, for instance, that some thing arise without that any one do anything.

My name Janko is west Slavic name, in English it means John.

About the evaluations I also think, that nobody deserve 1, so this mark is unfair. I proposed my system for evaluation . But, FQXi is maybe the only way that someone read our essay so this is also one benefit of this. One the newest idea is that everyone gives also the quiz of its essay. If someone does no pass this quiz, he cannot evaluate it.

My essay

Best regards

Janko Kokosar

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Wilhelmus de Wilde de Wilde wrote on May. 28, 2014 @ 14:50 GMT
dear Aaron,

You promised me a reaction on my post of may 19.

and also a substantive remark (and maybe rating) of my essay (topic 1991)

best regards

Wilhelmus

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 28, 2014 @ 18:38 GMT
Hi Wilhelmus,

Thanks for the reminder. Sorry for the delay. Yours will be the first one I do today. (Over these next four days, I will complete all the others too.)

Warmly,

Aaron

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Alex Hoekstra wrote on May. 28, 2014 @ 20:31 GMT
Hi Aaron,

I want to first extend my gratitude for your thorough response. It's beyond doubt that you put substantial thought into your explanation, and I'm genuinely appreciative to have encountered some novel concepts (which I am admittedly still trying to parse, although I realize that others may have, in their comments, posed similar questions as I have, and you may have already responded to those). The concept of an interference-free foreknowledge machine (a term which I think is well-worded) is something of a confusing notion to me, but one that I'm certainly willing to consider. I wonder how it'd be possible for such a machine to deliver information from a future to a past (subjectively, our present) without interfering with the progress of time, thereby creating a different set of future information. I apologize if my question seems rudimentary - I realize that there may be something I overlooked, but I sincerely appreciate the consideration you put into your essay, and I will definitely be doing some more thinking about it in the future. (Then again, perhaps my future self already has, and all I have to do is try to get in touch with him for his insights)

=)

Wishing you the best regards in the competition and in all else.

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 28, 2014 @ 23:31 GMT
Hi Alex,

Your confusion, as you describe it, is well-founded. Within the definitions given in my writings, there is no such conceptual thing as an, "interference-free foreknowledge machine." That combination of words is contradictory. It is absolutely essential to the concept of foreknowledge machines that they must encounter interference in certain situations, and that they can only deliver viewer foreknowledge if they do not encounter interference. Acting to bring about a given future that has been seen, because it is desirable, is the most important example of a case wherein there would be no interference. For instance, whenever a foreknowledge machine operator who works for an airline would see that a given flight will land safely, she would approve it for takeoff.

I do discuss the naive conception of interference-free future-viewing machines (future-viewing machines, not foreknowledge machines), and I term them Cassandra machines. However, it is easy to show that such machines are logically impossible.

I believe these comments will clear everything up for you. Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to post back with your thoughts, or any additional questions.

Warmly,

Aaron

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Ray Luechtefeld wrote on May. 29, 2014 @ 16:59 GMT
Hi Aaron,

Thanks for the article. I don't think I have any comments that would add to what has already been written.

Best wishes,

Ray

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Wilhelmus de Wilde de Wilde wrote on May. 30, 2014 @ 16:08 GMT
Dear Aaron,

Thanks for your reading my essay.

It seems that the essence of the writing escaped you

the essence is human consciousness that is the "creator" of reality.

It is not the apparently material reality which is the result of the the lined up Eternal Now Moments in our causal consciousness that is causing our future, it is the ability of the non-causal part of our consciousness that can "hop" to a new Eternal Now Moment with even other PASTS, the past that we are aware of as for now is at one side a warning of "How NOT to act" and on the other side gives us glimpses of better probable and available futures.

Indeed ref 17 has fallen of reality it is :

Wilhelmus de Wilde : “The Consciousness Connection” http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1370

best regards

Wilhelmus

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Author Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 17:19 GMT
Hi Wilhelmus,

As I wrote to you on your page, I certainly may have missed something when I read your essay. Thank you for telling me what I should have perceived, and for supplying the omitted reference.

Warmly,

Aaron

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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on May. 30, 2014 @ 18:03 GMT
Dear Aaron,

Your statement, "For example, consider a setup consisting of a computer that controls a robotic arm which can place a weight in any of four positions around a circle. Also, let a modulo 4 counting system govern these positions, meaning that one counts around the ring as follows: 0, 1, 2, 3, 0, 1, 2, 3, 0..." on the parameterization of Thought Experiment, seems to be assigned in apparent cyclic-time from extrinsic reference time; whereas the dynamics of the universe as per ECSU paradigm is in discrete holarchical cyclic-time, that is intrinsic.

With best wishes,

Jayakar

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Douglas Alexander Singleton wrote on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 03:17 GMT
Hi Aaron,

I had a chance to read your essay and I liked it much more than I thought I would. The title and abstract made me think that you had some kind of *Cassandra* type future viewing scheme in mind which you deal with right at the very beginning. Anyway the break down of the three different types of future viewing schemes (Cassandra, Everett, Foreknowledge) is very instructive, but...

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Torsten Asselmeyer-Maluga wrote on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 14:03 GMT
Hi Aaron,

really interesting essay. I like the philosophical style. I agree much with Douglas remarks above. I got a high rate but it change not much.

Best Torsten

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Anonymous wrote on Jun. 6, 2014 @ 04:17 GMT
Aaron, I love a good logic puzzle, and I love the way you constructed this one -- separating the possible from the actual.

What stands out for me, is that any possible future viewer machine rules out quantum entanglement and collapse of the wave function as real physical phenomena. For if Everett viewing can never be actual, information at the boundary of branching events exists always in the unactualized future.

Which only leaves the classically based future viewer hinted in your reference: "We shall embody this viewpoint in a principle of self-consistency, which states that the only solutions to the laws of physics that can occur locally in the real Universe are those which are globally self-consistent. This principle allows one to build a local solution to the equations of physics only if that local solution can be extended to be part of a (not necessarily unique) global solution... (Friedman, et al., 1990)."

Indeed, I think quantum computing models that exploit quantum discord approach this global threshold, finding a unique solution from the slightest coherence of a very noisy system. The noise may actually force a unique solution, suggesting cooperating quantum particles rather than random motion. I have long thought about the results of the single-photon-at-a-time experiment you reference, in this context. Most theorists are still trying to save entanglement; I do not think they will succeed.

In the same classical way, I suggest that cooperating least elements of any system exploit the local-global identity, such that system-wide, future and past states exist everywhere parallel. So I guess I prefer that, as Antoine de Saint-Exupery put it, "(Our) task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it."

Great piece -- high score from me!

Best,

Tom

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Thomas Howard Ray wrote on Jun. 6, 2014 @ 04:22 GMT
LOL! I find that I had already rated and commented! I'm glad I read it again and (unconsciously) took the opportunity to expand on my comments! It was even better the second time.

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Author Aaron M. Feeney wrote on Jun. 7, 2014 @ 03:28 GMT
To All,

Thank you FQXi and everyone here for such an amazing forum for new ideas to help our struggling world. More specifically I want to thank all the wonderful thinkers I've interacted with here, who have given me so much to think about and who have helped me refine and clarify my work. A special thanks also goes out to whoever thought of this year's fascinating and important topic.

This has been an unforgettable experience, for which I will forever be grateful.

Sincerely,

Aaron

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Author Aaron M. Feeney wrote on Jun. 7, 2014 @ 03:45 GMT
A new solution to "Fermi's paradox":

In very concept, a technology capable of allowing future events to be viewed and analyzed beforehand (in contexts where doing so is logically possible) would automatically ensure peace and cooperation among all interacting groups who possess it, even among civilizations from distant star systems who have just met for the first time. Some of the...

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