Monday, November 06, 2006

Holding a Mirror to the Past

A dude, cool n’ what, asked for an equation to predict the future, asked me. I said: “Sure, fucker. Whatever you want”. Like it just comes naturally to me. Later, when in conversation with one of this blogs trusted contributors, I learned that predicting the future is not all what it seems. Apparently quantum mechanics play a part, and chaos. And equations are not simply “X + Y = Z”. Not in the least. I mean, the content of one side of an equation must equal the other side, the divide being notated by the “=”, naturally. But how do you ask an equation what next weeks lottery numbers will be?
And where does one not mathematically minded begin?
I thought about, initially, using Wikipedia to research the topic. Eventually, I naively assumed, I could list the elements required, variables, and just go through it methodically, piecing it together, arriving at a complex equation that would estimate the future. You know, approximate deductive reasoning with an eye on the method and steps involved.
I also mused on the idea of creating an equation that would give either a “yes” or a “no” answer. O or 1. So when asked a question, (Will I wear socks tomorrow?), the equation will grind through its motions and affirm or deny (I always wear socks bitch).
Easy piss to swallow when one is as completely retarded as I am.
I grilled my fellow contributor about his likely process were he to undertake this awesome task. He told me to look at the past. “All the answers are there.” Well, if you don’t mind me saying, I fucking scoffed. Seemed counter-intuitive to me. Not so much right now but I still feel it’s a step backwards. The future is going to happen and I believe predicting something that will happen cannot be impossible on the face of it.
What can it contain, the future I mean?
I have a new hope now. I hope for a unified assault on this challenge, spearheaded by me, but containing your stringy muscle. I want you in on this, on the ground level. It will be easy. Just add your comment below pertaining to the future and how one might reveal its dirty, pubic secrets and I will amend your thoughts to the end of this article Boing Boing style. I’ll even put your name in red, just to make it quasi-official looking.
I don’t expect to achieve anything radical here but to open a forum where we can attack this problem with gusto and possibly end with our own uniquely created perspective on this issue.
So come on kids, lets be proactive.
I’ll add more ideas to this tomorrow, the day after that, Thursday, and so on.

Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majidida al-Tikriti said...
Like your fellow contributor, I myself am humbled by the past. I do believe that the particulars of the future are present in the past if only one was sensitive enough to them.
I also believe that the future cannot be fully known or predicted unless one travels back in time to "relive" occurances exactly as before. Like that excellent movie Primer I watched in my cubby hole to pass the long hours hiding from American scum. If one can develop such technology I, Saddam, will have Allah praise him and bestow him with riches.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...
My formula runs thus:

Future = Past + Present

You may be surprised to know that I have no background in mathematics, ergo i am unnecessarily proud of myself.

Update, the First:
Now would be a good opportunity to define 'future' because we want this to be fucking scientific.
According to dictionary.com, the future is a "time that is to be or come hereafter".
By Wikipedia, the future is "the portion of the timeline that has yet to occur, i.e. the place in space-time where lie all events that still have not occurred."
So the future is the unknown blackness we are travelling into constantly without remorse. We slip into it easily, naturally. So, why in bumcop is it so hard to predict. It is there, revealing itself all of the time, but invisible to us where it counts.
It makes me think that our lives may be too complicated. If a cow in the field had the awareness of a human, it could predict its future with more certainty than I could now. Eat grass. Shit a bit. Be milked. But then it can never see a drunken college student in the dark preparing to tip the poor moo-queen as much as it can see the same student from the past. Why not?
One way to predict the future is to make a plan and stick to it.
So, I predict an update.... hmmm.... tomorrow, Thursday... 9th november. A prophecy will be posted. Ohhh... a forecast on things to come, not yet occured. Stay tuned.

Palindrome [Via Myspace] said...
Well, to predict the future...ugh....the problem with quatum physics--and the absolute beauty of it as well--is that it pretty much allows for infinite possibilities for the future, dimensionally speaking...
... you could use an equation of logic , say: p X q(y)= a
p being a proposition multiplied by q multiplied by y, y being an unknown variable to be determined accordingly by the problem at hand.
I don't know if that would actually work, but I am supposing this is supposed to be fictional so you can bend the rules a bit with your artistic license.
An I remind you I am a self-taught student of logic and sciences higher the biology 1, not to be trusted for 100% accuracy...
...Or, for predicting the future, if you could come up with an equation for how someone might see faster than the speed of light, but that seems like a lot of research unless you go the pseudo-science route in which you just make up a lot of crap that sounds plausible, but in reality has no weight. What would that be like, though? (Ed: God damn)

Update, the Second:
In the future there will be one man with one voice and he will lead those without. He will be called by his first name only and will wear no shoes. In the future those who follow will be in his ‘band’, not his audience, and they will clap melodies, popping the cheeks of one another with rhythm. In this future people can stay at each others houses for long times without negative energies, and respect will be more than a currency, it will be the norm.
In this future, my future, a wall will not surround the lock. The key will be lithe fingers and tense strings strummed tersely. A baby will be born with the voice of two, one man and one woman, and words will be spoken as if for the first time into ears listening as if for the first time. Nothing will be written but remember entirely, word for word. What will come is one man to rule the world and he will set everyone free.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...
Perhaps the defitition of 'prediction' is as important as 'future.'

We can predict, through science, the likelihood of extinction level occurances, such as the gradually deteriorating orbit of Earth eventually leading to the evaporation of our atmosphere and a resultant scorching of our planet, leaving it a lot like Mars.

Predicting what happens up until this point, to organisms as miniscule as us, is surely as irrelevent as wasting time predicting how tall a patch of grass will grow before the boulder you can see careering down the hill flattens it.

Daly illustrated...

Update, the Third:

The future is elusive and any attempts to predict it with a high degree of accuracy can be compared to trying to find water in the desert, blindfolded, and with a terminal bullet wound.
When talking to a trusted contributor of this very blog over the weekend, it became clear that the future isn’t just a case of adding the ‘past’ to the ‘present’, sorry UTMG, (though I was guilty of the same thought). If that were so, predicting the future would be relatively easy. What niggles the matter is chaos, which comes into play between the present and whatever point in the future.
I put to the contributor a ‘what if’.
“What if the future we are trying to predict is the smallest amount of time into the future?” A temporal quark or whatever it was called that night. “Shouldn’t the chaotic element or variables be so minute as to be irrelevant?”
(I should note, when actually asked in the past, that question wasn’t so dry. Throw a few fucks into it for a more realistic depiction.)
Anyway, the humble contributor considered my question, giving it adequate thought, and within three straight seconds replied definitively.
“No.”
“But”, I countered, “if we are dealing with a limited amount of time, shouldn’t the variables involved be also limited. Like the smaller a balloon, the less air can be held within. A direct relationship. Minimise the span of future you want to gawk into and, fuck me if I'm wrong, you should also minimise the chaos involved.”
“You’re wrong. I’m not going to fuck you.”
“Damn. Double damn.”
“Time and chaos are not the only variables involved, see. Time is knit into space.”
“A CONTINUUM”, I interrupt, “Like the Q continuum!”
“Fuck you Mee-hahn. Not like the Q continuum. Like reality.”
“So it not only depends on how much time there is but also how much space.”
“And there could be infinite amount of space. We don’t know.”
“So even if the amount of time we want to predict into is minimised, a limitless Universe would mean…”
“… Means that it doesn’t matter.”
A rough night.
So, although an equation can be formed including all of the essentials required for future prediction, it is unusable due to the nature of those very essentials. As humans we cannot view what is happening from a greater, higher, point, making an ability to view the relationships between all of the matter in the Universe in a context other than chaos untenable. We would have to be godly to understand the cause and effect nature of the Universe and thus eliminate chaos as a variable. But we are not and cannot.
What this all means is predicting the future is a fools game, though, I should emphasise, not impossible. Will I wear socks tomorrow? My prediction is yes, I will. I wear socks everyday. Although I am 100% positive my feet will be sheathed by noon tomorrow, it doesn't mean a freak hurricane won't sweep through my area evaporating my sock collection some time tonight, leaving my sockless. Thus is the way of chaos.

Update, the Fourth:
So, we can’t predict the future. So what? Smarter people than us have tried. Where are they? Dead. I’ve killed them. I’ve killed them by not taming time. Past people were promised that one day time would be controlled and all ages would be playgrounds for our children.
Fuck books.
Who’d need them when our children could visit the first man and see what a great job he did. Or visit Marie Antoinette and see if she could actually like the Velvet Underground. I’d say not. But time can tell. With a time machine. You and I can meet at Woodstock.
“Say honey, when do you want to go tonight?”
“Hmmm, I’m hungry… you know, I really liked that chicken I ate last week. Can we go back and have it again?”
“Okay. But this time you’re cooking. Huh-huh-huh. Bitch.”
An unhappy relationship. If only they could go back in time and change things. Stop him from sleeping with his secretary. Stop her from learning how to speak. Everything could be better. A hedonistic future with no time to end.
More would be necessary.
A machine to eradicate memories. A duplication machine.
Who eats the chicken, future-you or your past self? If future-you eats it, how will you know how good it was and thus have the motivation to go back in time and eat it? Perhaps your past self will have a nice pork slice instead of the chicken, altering the course of future history, motivating future self to go back in time for pork instead of chicken. Perhaps a glitch will occur, where you travel back in a constant loop always seeking a different piece of meat.
Lucky for me, time is relative. I can enjoy your plight from orbit as I become the first human in space, April 12 1961, kicking Uri Gagarin out of history, and then immediately travel back to December 31, 1960 to see the New Year in from the moon, paradox style.
That promise is made. My children, or theirs, should have the technology to gift me a damned time machine. In the future, my future, the only nostalgia one need have is for when there was only one time-line. That would be my standard for when I finally know we’ve made it as a human race, when we don’t know what happened to Napoleon at Waterloo or why we speak with French accents. Then I know finally, that the gods have smiled on us.
I would also eradicate wasps from history. Who would remember, when I can eradicate memories.

1. Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majidida al-Tikriti9:33 pm, November 07, 2006

Like your fellow contributor, I myself am humbled by the past. I do believe that the particulars of the future are present in the past if only one was sensitive enough to them.
I also believe that the future cannot be fully known or predicted unless one travels back in time to "relive" occurances exactly as before. Like that excellent movie Primer I watched in my cubby hole to pass the long hours hiding from American scum. If one can develop such technology I, Saddam, will have Allah praise him and bestow him with riches.

2. My formula runs thus:

Future = Past + Present

You may be surprised to know that I have no background in mathematics, ergo i am unnecessarily proud of myself.

3. Hmmm.

This fucks my elaborate theory into a cocked hat then.

Perhaps the defitition of 'prediction' is as important as 'future.'

We can predict, through science, the likelihood of extinction level occurances, such as the gradually deteriorating orbit of Earth eventually leading to the evaporation of our atmosphere and a resultant scorching of our planet, leaving it a lot like Mars.

Predicting what happens up until this point, to organisms as miniscule as us, is surely as irrelevent as wasting time predicting how tall a patch of grass will grow before the boulder you can see careering down the hill flattens it.

4. That first post-it note pretty much sums it up.

I dont know what the second one means. I am about as competent at Maths as Saddam Hussein is at respecting a judge.

5. I'm with you on that UTMG.
But Daly insisted that it made sense even under the threat of torture and then actual torture. Water boarding.
But I'm considering closing the book on this on after a few more updates. Just to summarise and probably delve a little into our notion of the future.
But yeah, I want this shut by Friday at the latest.
So, any ladies out there with ideas on this, please, now is the time.

6. Gah.

So, after reading your edits, I'm resigned to accepting that the any currently formulated equations to predict the future are inherently unstable due to the lack of constants factors within them.

In other words: How can we predict the future with an equation if we cannot predict the constance of the equation itself?

7. I AM WEARING MOFO-FUCKING SOCKS BOY!
No doubt.
Fuck you chaos monster. Try again next year.
But yeah. The future is a tease. Better focus on whatcha got. The present. It's a gift, they say. Assholes.
I'll wrap up this dissapointing delve into the future soon. It became nothing and does us no favours festering as the top post.

8. Outstanding work all round gentlemen. Despite our lack of exact answers and overabundence of vague ones (though I must admit, I have faith that mine will scale nicely) we have most certainly advanced the scientific thinking of the populace. Given the general lack of scientific knowledge among the sea of filth these days we can pat ourselves on the cocks in the knowledge of a job well done.