I have studied electrical engineering at NCSU for 2.5 yrs. In the process i've spoken to several computer science majors and graduates about this subject. I posed the question of determinism, that all things are predestined based on cause and effect. The possibility that using all of the variables that define the rules in our existance, physics, chemistry, etc. One could use these variables to predict the future. And that if a high end computer machine (which wouldnt exist atm) were to be given all of these variables and the rules of how they react with eachother, the software could be used to predict our past present and future. Of course this idea is ridiculous at this point, but used on a small scale, if "simulation" software of this nature were to even be slightly effective it could have immeasurable purpose from engineering, politics, predicting the results of a football game from kick off, evaluating efficiency, or even deciding the best course of action when u are able to predict the results of your decisions.
What do you think on this topic?
It would work, but you would need several impossible things.
1: A model of the entire universe accurate to the single sub-atomic particle.
2: Enough computing power to predict the behaviour of each subatomic particle based on it's surroundings faster than the events occur.
Now, supposing you could meet these requirements, there is a whole new level of paradox, the supercomputer would have to predict its own future behaviour, as that might have a profound influece on future events.
All this is assuming that quantum anomalies could be explained and predicted with further research.
It wouldn't work simply because there is ACTUAL randomness in the universe, atomic decay IS random, radiation is also random. There is no "formula" to perfectly map what would happen. We can't let something sit for 10k years nad know EXACTLY how it would decay no matter how much info we knew about rate of decay and the molecular make up of the object. We could guess okay, but the more guessing and SLIGHT mistakes that pile together the bigger the final sum of errors. It's impossible, computers are not random ever, natural occurences are.
I agree with both acalhoun and mason that in pure thought the idea is impossible. But if we could come anywhere close, using what we DO know, we could come close to predicting small things in the near future in a defined reference frame, you think?
say for instance a basketball coach is deciding what play to use in a game at a given time. He could input several scenarios into a computer and the computer would output its predicted results, which were not necessarily certain but probably. the coach could then decide which play he thinks would give the best results
A coach choosing a play is on a significantly different scale than computing the sub atomic particle behaviors of every atom and how they will all interact at any given point in time.
Some people are more unpredictable than others. Free will... all of these things come into this discussion.
even if we are capable of doing the calculations, it is beside the question. Is determinism a real fact.
I think that there is randomness in the system. random is not able to be accounted for. Determinism fails at its most saught after goal.
While the idea has merit, I don't see where it could be possible. There are too many variables that can't be determined. Example: Give 10 people a picture to look at and you'll have 10 different views. To have a program like you are referring to, you would be too many points of view for it to accruately predict anything.
At least that's my opinion.
those 10 people have led 10 different lives, shared 10 different sets of experiences and are in 10 different situations, the pure idea of the machine would take these into account
i agree with snjripp that at the root of this discussion is the argument of free will vs determinism. i cant say that the idea in its purest and large scale form is in the least bit possible. but i am wondering if the idea were pursued, and were made to even partially work on a smaller scale, if the use of the technology would not be immense.