Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 61 to 90 of 94

Thread: If I had time machine...

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    15,891
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    You don't. I don't know, for a fact, whether any action I take today will, in the long run, make the world better or worse. But I still make decisions and take actions.

    As far as that goes, why would time travel be any different?
    Because with time travel, people can keep trying to fix the same thing, over and over again, rather than just having to live with the consequences. You could spend your whole life just trying to optimize your whole life, before you even started on trying to "fix" history. And if people disagree about something, they can indulge in an endless change war that would make Wikipedia look like a peaceful and agreeable place.

    Grant Hutchison

  2. #62
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Posts
    1,533
    Originally Posted by JayT
    Absolutely anything I wanted to, to make the World a better, peaceful place.
    It might that someone else has tried that approach,.....and this is the best result that they could come up with.

  3. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Because with time travel, people can keep trying to fix the same thing, over and over again, rather than just having to live with the consequences. You could spend your whole life just trying to optimize your whole life, before you even started on trying to "fix" history. And if people disagree about something, they can indulge in an endless change war that would make Wikipedia look like a peaceful and agreeable place.

    Grant Hutchison
    And you end up like a situation in Red Dwarf where you have JFK shooting himself from the grassy knoll to get the time line back into order.
    ...I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me.
    You cannot run away from the truth, the world is not big enough. DI Jack Frost
    Don't Panic THGTTG
    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. Einstein
    http://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    15,806
    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    Yeah, but how do you ensure that, without constant checking and meddling? Say you do something "good" - stop an event or prevent a decision, but later on even though that had caused pain, something awesome or "peaceful" came of it, but you ensured it didn't happen? And some otherwise unrealized suffering happened? How do you mitigate all of those sorts of consequences? It's a fun mental exercise, but I'm with Grant on this one.

    CJSF
    On my field school in Spain, we discussed this one evening at dinner (specifically in the context of being sent back in time x number of years) and one of the things I said I would do was to make anonymous calls to the authorities warning about crimes and disasters. One girl said “But what if you prevent a terrorist bombing, but someone who would have died in the bombing is actually a serial killer and they kill more people now. You couldn’t do anything about that because you wouldn’t even know they were a killer to begin with.”

    That was pretty sobering to consider. Of course the very same person then said that SHE would try to assassinate a politician she didn’t like...

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    The Valley of the Sun
    Posts
    8,917
    The objection to stopping a terrorist bombing would apply even without time travel. Should I take action if I knew about future terrorist plans or let them proceed because stopping them might save a serial killer?

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    8,564
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Because with time travel, people can keep trying to fix the same thing, over and over again, rather than just having to live with the consequences. You could spend your whole life just trying to optimize your whole life, before you even started on trying to "fix" history. And if people disagree about something, they can indulge in an endless change war that would make Wikipedia look like a peaceful and agreeable place.

    Grant Hutchison
    Well, yes, there's an argument against continuously trying to fix the same thing over and over again, and against making time travel widely available. But not against the idea of you trying to change one thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    The objection to stopping a terrorist bombing would apply even without time travel. Should I take action if I knew about future terrorist plans or let them proceed because stopping them might save a serial killer?
    Exactly.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    736
    I would go back in time to my own lifeline. I would make a change, whatever change I'd like, maybe I'd steal one of your ideas. I note everything. And i then mail this to myself before i get in the time machine with sufficient proof to convince myself of what is written down is what I had did. I would tell myself to go through the time machine because it works and to make any change you'd like beside the ones I've made already, and this new journeying self would do the same and Notate everything, passing it on to the next.


    Two outcomes.

    1. I would intantaneously spread like a disease . -youd see me everywhere, I'd eventually Encompass all time

    2. If time travel + change =multiverse (New timeline). Than eventually, i would become a (demi) god.

    Maybe..

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    5,451
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Because with time travel, people can keep trying to fix the same thing, over and over again, rather than just having to live with the consequences. You could spend your whole life just trying to optimize your whole life, before you even started on trying to "fix" history. And if people disagree about something, they can indulge in an endless change war that would make Wikipedia look like a peaceful and agreeable place.

    Grant Hutchison
    I'm not sure this would necessarily be the case. I don't see how you would know you changed things in the first place, unless you could remember or document what you changed. Then for this to happen the event would have to take place in the first place for you to know what you want to change. In which case, by preventing the event means it never happens. I just see endless loops that you are never aware of. Who's to say this is not already happening?

    I agree though, people should live with the consequences of their actions and learn from mistakes made.

    This said consider this scenario; At some point in my life I'm driving along the road and a child steps out in front of me. I can't react fast enough and run over killing the child. There was absolutely nothing I could have done to prevent this happening. If I had the opportunity to use a time machine to go back and prevent this unfortunate event would I? Or do I live with the consequences and the guilt knowing that I could possibly save the child?

    Now one could argue that the child is saved grows up to become a terrorist and kills hundreds of people. On the other hand the child is saved grows up becomes a scientist and discovers a cure for cancer. Until I change the initial event I will never know and once changed I may never realize it ever happened in the first place.

  9. #69
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Posts
    1,533
    Maybe H G Wells had the right idea, skip all the confusion concerning paradox problems and just travel into the future.

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    5,451
    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    Maybe H G Wells had the right idea, skip all the confusion concerning paradox problems and just travel into the future.
    This conceivably can be done, like in the twins paradox where one twin accelerates up to close the speed of light relative to the other twin. On return finds that the stationary twin has aged more, hence the travelling twin has traveled to the future, or rather (obviously dependent on which frame reference you choose) the stationary twin's future.

  11. #71
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    15,891
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmocrazy View Post
    I'm not sure this would necessarily be the case. I don't see how you would know you changed things in the first place, unless you could remember or document what you changed. Then for this to happen the event would have to take place in the first place for you to know what you want to change. In which case, by preventing the event means it never happens. I just see endless loops that you are never aware of. Who's to say this is not already happening?
    So how does that work?
    You go back in time, you snatch the child away from danger ... then what? Are you immediately unable to recall the car accident that led up to your snatching the child (since it "now" never happened)? What do you recall instead, as the reason you're in your own past, grabbing small children? Why are you even there, given that your future self now has no reason to travel back to this event? Can you remember where you left the time machine, which you "now" didn't use to visit this event? Is it "still" where you left it?

    Grant Hutchison

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    15,891
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    Well, yes, there's an argument against continuously trying to fix the same thing over and over again, and against making time travel widely available. But not against the idea of you trying to change one thing.
    So in the OP I've actually been provided with a special gimmicked time machine that can only be used once and which cannot be copied?
    I'll deal with that just after I've decided whether to send the trolley down the track with one person on it or the track with five people on it.

    Grant Hutchison

  13. #73
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    8,564
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    So in the OP I've actually been provided with a special gimmicked time machine that can only be used once and which cannot be copied?
    Go back in time once, change what you wanted to change, then destroy the time machine (as you said you would do in the first place).

    For what it's worth, CJSF made a specific argument - that you shouldn't change things because you can't really know that your changes will be for the better - and I was making a rebuttal to that specific argument (I explicitly said, "as far as that goes..."). There certainly may be other arguments against time travel, I just don't consider that to be a valid one.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  14. #74
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    15,891
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    Go back in time once, change what you wanted to change, then destroy the time machine (as you said you would do in the first place).
    Why would you do that? Once you've started fiddling with your own past, you're going to want to see how that turns out. Suppose you come back to the present to discover that the Earth is "now" a smoking post-apocalyptic wasteland. Oops. But I promised myself I'd destroy the time machine after one trip ...

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    For what it's worth, CJSF made a specific argument - that you shouldn't change things because you can't really know that your changes will be for the better - and I was making a rebuttal to that specific argument (I explicitly said, "as far as that goes..."). There certainly may be other arguments against time travel, I just don't consider that to be a valid one.
    Well, I'm pretty sure that's only half the argument CJSF was making. The other half is the ability to change what you've changed ...

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2018-May-01 at 02:35 PM.

  15. #75
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    8,564
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Well, I'm pretty sure that's only half the argument CJSF was making.
    Just out of curiosity, what do you see as the other half of his argument, in the post I responded to?

    I can maybe see something there, but what I think I'm seeing doesn't strike me as a particularly valid argument, either, so I'm wondering if I'm missing something.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  16. #76
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    15,891
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    Just out of curiosity, what do you see as the other half of his argument, in the post I responded to?
    I think the important bit is the first sentence.
    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    Yeah, but how do you ensure that, without constant checking and meddling? Say you do something "good" - stop an event or prevent a decision, but later on even though that had caused pain, something awesome or "peaceful" came of it, but you ensured it didn't happen? And some otherwise unrealized suffering happened? How do you mitigate all of those sorts of consequences? It's a fun mental exercise, but I'm with Grant on this one.
    At present (as you say) we take actions in ignorance of their outcomes, and knowing we can never change them.
    As soon as we have time travel, we both get to know the outcomes and get to change the action as many times as we like. So now we can make an extensive survey of all the outcomes of our actions, and try to optimize each action against our own personal moral calculus (which may be entirely selfish or entirely altruistic, it doesn't matter). Unless we're issued with a one-shot, self-destructing time machine, "constant checking and meddling" is what's going to happen.

    Grant Hutchison

  17. #77
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Norfolk UK and some of me is in Northern France
    Posts
    7,576
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I think the important bit is the first sentence.
    At present (as you say) we take actions in ignorance of their outcomes, and knowing we can never change them.
    As soon as we have time travel, we both get to know the outcomes and get to change the action as many times as we like. So now we can make an extensive survey of all the outcomes of our actions, and try to optimize each action against our own personal moral calculus (which may be entirely selfish or entirely altruistic, it doesn't matter). Unless we're issued with a one-shot, self-destructing time machine, "constant checking and meddling" is what's going to happen.

    Grant Hutchison
    It's like meeting every person and thinking with a few small changes in history, you would be me. With a slightly bigger set of changes you can all be me. Or we can all be eagles. Or plankton. Better travel with a reset button just in case.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  18. #78
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    8,564
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Unless we're issued with a one-shot, self-destructing time machine, "constant checking and meddling" is what's going to happen.
    Yeah, that's kind of what I was seeing.

    I suppose it's possible that time travel is like an addiction, but I don't know that we should assume that. Other than that, I'm afraid I really don't see that "You shouldn't do it once because you won't be able to prevent yourself from doing it over and over again" is a very compelling argument, either. On a personal level, perhaps, but not universal.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  19. #79
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    15,891
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    Yeah, that's kind of what I was seeing.

    I suppose it's possible that time travel is like an addiction, but I don't know that we should assume that. Other than that, I'm afraid I really don't see that "You shouldn't do it once because you won't be able to prevent yourself from doing it over and over again" is a very compelling argument, either. On a personal level, perhaps, but not universal.
    That's not the argument, though.
    The argument is that any action has unintended consequences, and at present we just live with them. But if we go back in time to do one thing, which we believe is a good thing, we have a moral obligation to check for unintended consequences and try to put things back the way they were if the alternative turns out to be worse than the original. That's where the "checking and meddling" comes in - it's a moral accompaniment of our ability to undo and redo events.
    The only way we can duck that is if we're entirely selfish. But the prospect of entirely selfish people travelling back in time to "fix" things to their own advantage is even more ghastly than the prospect of endlessly weighing the moral consequences of our time-travelling interventions.

    Grant Hutchison

  20. #80
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    47,143
    Actually, the late 20th century, and the first half of the 21st century were an unparalleled utopia before time travelers came and messed up the entire thing.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  21. #81
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    15,806
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Actually, the late 20th century, and the first half of the 21st century were an unparalleled utopia before time travelers came and messed up the entire thing.
    And that's why you don't have a flying car.

  22. #82
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    15,891
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Actually, the late 20th century, and the first half of the 21st century were an unparalleled utopia before time travelers came and messed up the entire thing.
    The entire history of the world is so much easier to understand if you just assimilate one concept: Totalitarian regimes with time machines.

    Grant Hutchison

  23. #83
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,140
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    The entire history of the world is so much easier to understand if you just assimilate one concept: Totalitarian regimes with time machines.
    That would explain a lot.

    It would be nice if your TM's purpose could be restricted to just getting the true story, then we wouldn't be stuck with so many victor's versions. Perhaps an auto drone would could go so you wouldn't have to arrive "necked".
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  24. #84
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    12,705
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    I suppose it's possible that time travel is like an addiction, but I don't know that we should assume that. Other than that, I'm afraid I really don't see that "You shouldn't do it once because you won't be able to prevent yourself from doing it over and over again" is a very compelling argument, either. On a personal level, perhaps, but not universal.
    I don't think the argument was that it's like an "addiction." I think it simply means that if you are going to go back and change something, you then will feel responsible for the unintended consequences, but unlike in the "real world", you would have the chance to undo those negative consequences, and would be tempted to do it. I certainly would.
    As above, so below

  25. #85
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    5,451
    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I don't think the argument was that it's like an "addiction." I think it simply means that if you are going to go back and change something, you then will feel responsible for the unintended consequences, but unlike in the "real world", you would have the chance to undo those negative consequences, and would be tempted to do it. I certainly would.
    I think most people would and like Grant mentions the prospect of someone going back to adjust the time line (selfishly) to their own advantage is ghastly. For this reason I can see why the prospect of a time machine is scary! On the other hand I can't help but feel that it would be my moral duty to prevent an event which resulted in an innocent person/s being seriously harmed or killed, if I had the means to do so. Regardless of the consequences which this may result in, I would not be able to live with myself knowing that I could do something about it.

    From personal experience alone, my son had a very serious accident when he was just a baby. He was severely burned which resulted in him having lots of major surgery to save his life. He is now left partially handicapped and scarred for life, with the prospect of ongoing surgery to repair damage to his right hand and head.
    Would I go back in time and prevent the accident if I could? Sure I would and i'm sure any other parent would do the same. Then would the temptation to go back repeatedly and alter many things be too much to handle? Yes I would not be able to help myself, it would become an addiction. One which I believe would be all consuming.

    The only morally correct way to use a time machine (that I can see) would be to secretly observe events only. But who would really adhere to such strict rules and who would enforce those rules?

  26. #86
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    5,451
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    So how does that work?
    You go back in time, you snatch the child away from danger ... then what? Are you immediately unable to recall the car accident that led up to your snatching the child (since it "now" never happened)? What do you recall instead, as the reason you're in your own past, grabbing small children? Why are you even there, given that your future self now has no reason to travel back to this event? Can you remember where you left the time machine, which you "now" didn't use to visit this event? Is it "still" where you left it?

    Grant Hutchison
    This is my point, sort of. If I went back to snatch the child away my past self would never be aware that the accident ever occurred, because it never did. So my future self never goes back to snatch the child. Its just the Grandfather paradox all over.

    My point being, which i obviously did not get across very well, is that there are possibly so many paradoxes which results in time line changes becoming mute therefore impossible to do. For a timeline change to occur there has to be an initial state that always happens, cannot be altered. There cannot exist a loop which allows the initial state to alter, else the initial state never occurs in the first place.

  27. #87
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    10,033
    The Universe had time machines, but their use caused an infinite recursion, leading stack overflow, and a crash, aka “Big Bang,” so the feature was removed.

    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  28. #88
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    15,891
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmocrazy View Post
    This is my point, sort of. If I went back to snatch the child away my past self would never be aware that the accident ever occurred, because it never did. So my future self never goes back to snatch the child. Its just the Grandfather paradox all over.

    My point being, which i obviously did not get across very well, is that there are possibly so many paradoxes which results in time line changes becoming mute therefore impossible to do. For a timeline change to occur there has to be an initial state that always happens, cannot be altered. There cannot exist a loop which allows the initial state to alter, else the initial state never occurs in the first place.
    Yeah, the "change your own past and live with the consequences" trope beloved of TV and movie science fiction is incoherent.
    The options would seem to be:
    1) No time travel
    2) Block Universe time travel, in which everything is predetermined, and there's no free will
    3) Many Worlds time travel, in which you can modify the past, but split off a new universe in doing so. This subdivides into:
    3a) You "return" to the future in the new universe you've just created - unfortunately there's already a you there (unless that you is also off creating their own universe)
    3b) You return to the same future from which you left, finding nothing has changed there

    I think 3b is seriously under-represented in time-travel fiction - despite its apparently dull structure, it has interesting story possibilities.

    Grant Hutchison

  29. #89
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    5,451
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yeah, the "change your own past and live with the consequences" trope beloved of TV and movie science fiction is incoherent.
    The options would seem to be:
    1) No time travel
    2) Block Universe time travel, in which everything is predetermined, and there's no free will
    3) Many Worlds time travel, in which you can modify the past, but split off a new universe in doing so. This subdivides into:
    3a) You "return" to the future in the new universe you've just created - unfortunately there's already a you there (unless that you is also off creating their own universe)
    3b) You return to the same future from which you left, finding nothing has changed there

    I think 3b is seriously under-represented in time-travel fiction - despite its apparently dull structure, it has interesting story possibilities.

    Grant Hutchison
    I totally agree with all your points above.

    Unfortunately, like most films & tv shows the writers tend to ignore the real science to keep the general viewers entertained.

  30. #90
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Norfolk UK and some of me is in Northern France
    Posts
    7,576
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yeah, the "change your own past and live with the consequences" trope beloved of TV and movie science fiction is incoherent.
    The options would seem to be:
    1) No time travel
    2) Block Universe time travel, in which everything is predetermined, and there's no free will
    3) Many Worlds time travel, in which you can modify the past, but split off a new universe in doing so. This subdivides into:
    3a) You "return" to the future in the new universe you've just created - unfortunately there's already a you there (unless that you is also off creating their own universe)
    3b) You return to the same future from which you left, finding nothing has changed there

    I think 3b is seriously under-represented in time-travel fiction - despite its apparently dull structure, it has interesting story possibilities.

    Grant Hutchison
    In the 3b class, time travel where you can witness but not change events is full of frustrations as well as plenty of interest because if one could do that, it is certain that the experience would change attitudes and decisions in the present. If that is correct, then greater knowledge of history would inform current events without the need for time travel. Oops, wiser people may have reached that conclusion already.

    Headmaster finds prodigy tinkering with her time machine after hours. "it's one thing for you to mess with your ancestors but suppose everyone wants to do that!" She replies "You'll be sorry, I happen to know that"
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •