Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future?

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RJN
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Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future?

Post by RJN » Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:45 pm

This idea came out of a discussion from a question asked by Noah Brosch of Tel Aviv U. Henry Leckenby also made significant comments. I believe the whole discussion was indeed prompted by the articles that are at the base of this discussion: http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=17591 titled "Why large hadron collider can never be activated?" Background on this is the NY Times article about how some physicists proposed that future people might be sabotaging Europe's Large Hadron Collider. See:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/13/scien ... 13lhc.html

Anyway, this idea centers on one way that people from the future might be found here in the present: by the possible existence of "pre-knowledge", knowledge that doesn't yet exist but will soon be created. For example, knowledge of the 9/11 disaster didn't yet exist in the year 2000, so if your neighbor kept asking you all through 2000 if the twin towers had fallen yet, they might be from the future. Or not.

The discussion eventually led to the APOD log files. So, just for laughs, I started the project by checking one of the APOD log files for any search starting with the word "Comet". There were a few entries, but no one was looking for a comet that I did not recognize. If, for example, there was a search for "Comet ABC" -- and Comet ABC is discovered only the next week -- that would be interesting. One might conclude that, on that day at least, no future people forgot their time coordinates and mistakenly checked APOD for a comet they should not have.

Here are some answers to your questions. Yes, I am feeling OK. No, I am not ignoring any prescription medication. No, I do not seriously expect to find people from the future this way or any way. Yes, I consider this mostly entertainment. Yes, I would be interested in your thoughts.

More generally, is there any utility in searching out "pre-knowledge?" I note that time travel is almost as popular as space travel in fictional books and movies, so things like this certainly capture the public's interest. Yet, I can think of few research efforts in this direction. Are there any other ways of ferreting out pre-knowledge?" Should a broader search in APOD's log files for pre-knowledge be done? Should a contact be made to Google or someone with access to a the search inquiry database of a major search engine be made?

- RJN

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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by apodman » Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:00 pm

RJN wrote:Should a contact be made to Google or someone with access to a the search inquiry database of a major search engine be made?
Image
One would think that when one joins the Time Service as a Time Courier, one is forbidden from using search engines at all (just to avoid this kind of mistake) lest one spend the rest of one's life running from the Time Patrol. One could deduce methods of detecting messages from the future by reviewing the rules imposed upon visitors to the past (to avoid leaving such messages or detectable clues) in similar works of fiction. As I recall, producing offspring with a mate from the past (especially one of your own ancestors as in the story above) is a very big no-no; in such a case, investigators like RJN would find the message from the future in DNA anomalies.

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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by makc » Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:22 pm

wow, once in a while RJN appears here and posts THIS.

@RJN, you might want to look here (currently 1 seeder :( ).

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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by bystander » Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:30 pm

How are you going to seperate future entities from the merely precognant?

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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by makc » Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:39 pm

also many folks spend their lives waiting for some bad sh*t to happen, and it does happen to some of them; then, some of those some could indeed be searching for it on the internet. google currently estimates over 800M results for "when will i die" query. chances are that someone could guess future events and search for them?

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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by The Code » Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:49 pm

Any chance of RJN posting some more.

just blew me away.
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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Nov 28, 2009 12:13 am

RJN wrote:More generally, is there any utility in searching out "pre-knowledge?"
The problem is that without very sophisticated transaction auditing, which few systems utilize, it's hard to tell when information is inserted in a database. Or rather, it is very easy to insert data that appears to have been there much longer. So if you found some of this "pre-knowledge", how would you tell if it was real, or if somebody was spoofing you?
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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by apodman » Sat Nov 28, 2009 12:40 am

Chris Peterson wrote:... if you found some of this "pre-knowledge", how would you tell if it was real, or if somebody was spoofing you?
I'm thinking about that one; meanwhile, I'm not sure this is the place to ask, but can someone please tell me the coordinates for SN 2010A?

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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Nov 28, 2009 12:57 am

apodman wrote:I'm thinking about that one; meanwhile, I'm not sure this is the place to ask, but can someone please tell me the coordinates for SN 2010A?
13h 29m 52s, +47° 11' 40". That's a very famous supernova, because it was discovered the same day that the Higgs boson was first produced by the LHC.
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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by makc » Sat Nov 28, 2009 1:07 am

Oh, I so remember that day - I won few millions in a lottery :)

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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by geckzilla » Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:44 am

Hey, if you want pre-knowledge, maybe you should start working on my own equally bad idea of a program which spits out every last possible combination of pixels on a given image of some arbitrary dimensions. If you give it enough room and are able to sort through the trillions of garbled, meaningless images, you'll eventually have every possible image of anything drawn up for you. Movies of them, even, if you can go the extra step to put them in proper sequential order. If it's short enough to fit, it'll draw you the theory of everything, as well.

Crud, I guess that wouldn't be pre-knowledge if you made it right then, would it?
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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by apodman » Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:53 am


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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by geckzilla » Sat Nov 28, 2009 3:05 am

Yeah, but monkeys are restricted by the characters on their typewriters and by their lifespans. My pixels are dynamic enough to display text, obscure characters you wouldn't normally find on a keyboard or typewriter, and imagery as well! And it would eventually exhaust all possibilities instead of creating many probable redundant copies like the monkeys. The monkeys are too crude. You could make mine into a distributed computing effort and get thousands of participants to sort through all the garbage in search of the holy grail. :lol:
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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by astrolabe » Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:20 am

Hello RJN,

One would think that traveling to the past would only be worth it if one actualy could know or view the past. Not in the sense that we read history or have old records of things but really be able to experience it. I mean why would someone come to this time frame to sabotage the LHC if it was actually part of the past. If the LHC was dangerous to the future generation then that very future generation would not exist and therefore there would be no one to time travel.

If the processes created by the LHC were not dangerous to the dwellers in the future then sabotaging it could be a grave mistake- an unknown. Future peoples would have to have access to not only the past but all its probabilities in order to make a judgement call on what to do which would mean that they know which probability path worked in their favor. That would be the only probability path resulting in their existence so since it worked out why would anyone mess with it and take the chance of disappearing?

If steering the experiments into a direction that would hurry knowledge or technology for futurists by traveling back in time to our present/their past then they had better be darn sure of their calculations and know what to expect. If changes are made, however, the only ones that would know it are the ones returning to the future anyway. Maybe a weapon now is in different hands but I doubt if their "new" history would reflect any contradictions since it changed accordingly as soon as the LHC experiments or results were manipulated in our time. Along with all past recorded events. Kind of a more sophisticated version of Georgr Orwell's 1984 in which the people rewrote history by changing facts. In the case of time travel no one would know anything other than the "new" history with no recollection of anything different!
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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:59 am

astrolabe wrote:I mean why would someone come to this time frame to sabotage the LHC if it was actually part of the past.
As I understand it, this isn't what the theory suggests. Isn't it closer to the truth that the only stable universe is one in which the Higgs boson is never created, so that's what we have? While still a pretty nutty theory, it makes a lot more sense than intelligent beings from the future coming back and sabotaging things. Simply traveling back in time is likely to do that all by itself!
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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by astrolabe » Sat Nov 28, 2009 5:52 am

Hello Chris,

Glad to hear you say these things. I couldn't agree more.

Let me present a case in point: Let's say I'm a scientist in the future and I'm keeping a close watch on the time machine. Why? Because as long as that machine exists it could bring someone from MY future because for all I know that machine may last 200 yrs. Plenty of time for somebody to get in it and step out of it on my watch! Let's say that very thing occurs. I now have two choices at least. One is to shoot him; the other is to let him change something in my reality. Whatever choice I make will have been the right one because the result just stepped out of my machine. This is because the future if there is one would be inextricably linked to the past.

If I honestly had that kind of technology I would more likely send digitized thought patterns back in time. I think that's how a patent clerk got so darned smart back in the 1900's. It would be better to inject an idea into someones brain than to actually change some physical thing. Any changes would be a normal part of our reality anyway and we'd be none the wiser.
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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by bystander » Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:09 am

I think you have the wrong reference. Try this one.

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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by RJN » Sat Nov 28, 2009 3:24 pm

Wow -- thanks everyone! First, I do apologize for disappearing from the Asterisk for long periods. It's just that I haven't figured out how to close the time gaps when I go off to the past. OK, more seriously, I do get hung up on other ventures.

It is difficult to rule out time travel on purely theoretical grounds. There is a tremendous amount of literature on this both in hard science and science fiction. In any event, this idea is to leave the theory alone as much as possible and approach the problem of detecting time travelers experimentally. This BITOD posits that time travelers are here -- or can communicate here -- as a premise.

Now if time travelers would identify themselves explicitly, we would not have to search for them. So we are left with trying to find covert time travelers. Now if covert time travelers were flawless in covering their tracks, again there seems to be no point in searching for them. So we are left, it seems to me, with trying to feret out imperfect or carelesss time travelers. Fortunately -- so far at least -- it has not been possible to perfect the human.

More thoughts on this later -- I wanted to respond just now to two points raised above. First, that AOL search page seemed like it might be a good place to search for an inadvertant display of future knowledge. Unfortunately, I couldn't get it to work for me. Can anyone?

Next, the APOD log files have very specific time stamps placed on each search inquiry. Yes, Chris is right that this time stamp can be spoofed. It would be useful for other reasons to know that someone had this capability. Still, as indicated above, there is no sure way to spoof today the knowledge of where the first supernovae detected in 2010 (SN 2010A) will be. And that piece of pre-knowledge might be experimentally findable. And one place to find it might be the database of search engines.

I would like to try to keep this moving toward a concrete goal if possible -- that of publishing a journal paper. To do that we need to define a specific experiment or set of experiments that can be done, execute those experiments, and describe the results in a paper for all to read. The experiment I propose is to look for evidence of pre-knowledge in search engine data bases. Now most likely nothing will be found, so that nothing will be proved. Unlikely, something will be found, but still nothing will be fully proved because almost any system can be spoofed, and any case only made statistically anyway. Still, I consider this to be fun and thought-provoking, and concrete suggestions about how to proceed toward that concrete goal are particularly welcome.

- RJN

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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by astrolabe » Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:43 pm

Hello RJN,

Nice to see you back, hope you can stick around for a while.

Evidence of time travel would be remarkable. But what would be the outcome other than the knowledge that it is in our future. I feel that the ability to time travel if it exists would come after many disappointing failures and more than a few upsetting insidences because as you say humans are not perfect. They are however greedy. In any event i believe time travel events become nothing more than infinite time loops with cause and effect repeating itself without reprieve.

I will turn the idea over WRT a method of entrapment for the wayward traveler. SUCH AS FINDING THE MACHINE HE BROUGHT WITH HIM IN ORDER TO RETURN. And stake it out. Seriously though it is a very intriguing concept and I wonder if the private sector will be doing anything that isn't being done at deeper levels within our info/defense agencies who if doing nothing may watch this exercise closely. IMHO.
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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by apodman » Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:54 pm

If the military ESP guys haven't found them yet, what chance do we have?

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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by astrolabe » Sat Nov 28, 2009 5:03 pm

Hello RJN,

Do you or your collegues read every post or at least every hairbrained idea that comes to this Forum? I have the over all impression that posters would like to think that their ideas somehow "get to the top" and looked at by people who write papers, get peer reviewed, or linked somehow to thinking scientists who need new material to contemplate. OOPS! now MY vanity is showing!

P.S. I fall into the uneducated bracket.
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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by orin stepanek » Sat Nov 28, 2009 5:20 pm

I may be wrong but I believe that any event happens at a certain point in time and space! Since the universe is always moving; I would think it would be impossible to come back to that point in space when that event happened. Hence; that makes that point in time unavailable.

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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by BMAONE23 » Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:30 pm

Though If you could build a telescope capable of seeing a fly on a bumper at a distance of 1 light day but with the ability to communicate through quantum entanglement, You could transport it to a 1 light day distance from earth and then you would be effectively able to see yesterday or 7 light days and see last week though you still couldn't affect the past

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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by The Code » Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:04 pm

orin stepanek wrote:I may be wrong but I believe that any event happens at a certain point in time and space! Since the universe is always moving; I would think it would be impossible to come back to that point in space when that event happened. Hence; that makes that point in time unavailable.
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Re: BITOD: Can Search Engines Find Inquiries from the Future

Post by orin stepanek » Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:40 pm

mark swain wrote:
The whole of time in my book is like a CD, you can go to any part of it. Just crack The Code.
You can record a point in time; via: photography, tape recording, CD, DVD, etc. Physically; Uh-uh! You can travel in time to the future though. It's called aging! 8)

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