Has anyone read the Sci-Fi classic Foundation by Isaac Asimov? It’s generally considered his greatest work, and arguably one of the most important and influential science fiction stories of all time.
The premise of the series is that scientist Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory … Using the law of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale; it is error-prone for anything smaller than a planet or an empire.
By using psychohistory, Hari Seldon predicts the fall of the galactic empire and a 30,000 year dark age for all mankind. He realizes that there are already events in motion which he can not control, and thus the fall of the empire is inevitable and imminent. He can, however, via his ability to predict the future, set his own events in motion which will shorten the period of darkness to only one thousand years.“Yes, that’s very interesting Scott, but so what – why bring it up?” Good question, I’m so glad you asked. I was reading about a new project underway known as Sentient World Simulation. It’s a project funded by the Department of Defense that is attempting to simulate the entire world in real time and run thousands and millions of “what if” scenarios so that military leaders can “develop and test multiple courses of action to anticipate and shape behaviors of adversaries, neutrals, and partners.” I’m not sure if this creeps me out or fascinates me. Probably a little of both. I would love to see how accurate their model is when they run a simulation, and then actually do what they simulated to see if their predictions were correct (as i’m sure will happen…; i mean, if you had a toy like that, wouldn’t you do the same thing? it’s inevitable) Kurzweil Summary Original Article