Yes, it is possible to predict the future!

We often account for randomness or variance in our life whether we are aware of it or not. For example one might describe any of these events as random: will you wake up happy and in a good mood tomorrow? how will a piece of fruit taste when you eat it? if you flip a coin will it come up heads or tails? will you bump into somebody you know on the street today? what will your favorite blogger blog about next? and when? …etc. However randomness is not only used to talk about the future, it is also used to explain the past. For example, evolutionary steps have been explained in terms of random genetic mutations that were deemed beneficiary for survival.

We all incorporate randomness into our thinking. May be it is our way of saying “this is too complex to calculate, let’s assume it could be anything”. However, does randomness really exist ? Is there such a thing as a truly random event ? This question can be expanded into the more profound “is there any uncertainty in the future ? can we predict the future accurately ?”. Certainly, if there is no randomness in life then predicting the future is possible. Otherwise it is not because a small random event can trigger a chain of bigger events; which in Chaos theory is known as the Butterfly Effect.

So the question is, can we model things in life accurately ? For example, my outlook on life is influenced by my parents behaviors, my teachers at school, my classmates, the people i meet in the street, what i see on tv, what i read on the Internet, and how i have behaved in the past …etc. So if we built a model to include all of this, will it predict what i will do in the future ?

Let us expand this a bit. You may be feeling happy right now. You are feeling happy because the events of this day from the moment you woke up until now have resulted in you feeling happy. Actually, you are feeling happy because the events from the day you were born have resulted in you being happy at this moment. Actually, you are feeling happy because the events from the moment the universe was created have resulted in you feeling happy at this moment. This is similar for what you will feel next, eat next, think next ..etc. Think of it this way, what you wore today, and what you will have for lunch are the results of everything that ever happened in the universe up until the moment you woke up !! 🙂

If we built a model to encompass everything in existence; If we modeled everything at the sub-atomic level and up, on earth and in space, will it justify what happened in the past and what will happen in the future ? Will it model how people feel and think ? Will it model how your ancestors looked and how will your children look ? Will it model what will you do next ? what will you eat for lunch ? and how you will feel about it ? Will it model whether a coin flip will result in heads or tails ? will it predict whether you will ever come across this article ? whether you will read or not ? and at what point will you stop reading ?

The big bang theory proclaims that the universe came into existence from a point of singularity. Before the bang there was nothing. Absolute nothing. After the big bang, things started coming to existence. Not only tangible things such as planets, stars, and galaxies; but also things such as light, gravitational force, and electro-magnetic force ..etc. If you were able to model everything from that point of ‘bang’ until now, wouldn’t you know everything that ever happened in life, and everything that will ever happen ?

From a control theory point of view, life has been a feedback-based system with no external input. As far as we know, nothing after the big bang has been a result of external input from something outside the universe. This means that we can conceptually build a mathematical model to correctly simulate what happened from the point of big bang up to today and even further into the future. Isn’t that amazing ?!! You may find it trivial, but i found it truly profound.

This means that whatever you thought and did in the past, and whatever you will think and do in the future is all accounted for. I have previously struggled with understanding the principle of qada2 and qadar (القضاء والقدر) .. after all, how can you be self-determined and still have your fate and actions predicted. Now my understanding is that all of our lives are a result of a mathematical system that controlled everything from the point of inception. We may still choose to do whatever we want, but that model already accounts for what we think and how we choose and will thus choose the same thing as we did.

All of mankind’s forays into science are just uncovering small aspects of this big model that combines all of us. At this point, i don’t believe that there is anything truly random, i.e. there is nothing that given the same exact circumstances could be executed twice and result in different outcomes. I am starting to believe that whatever we assume is random is really predictable given enough time and computing resources. However, maybe i am thinking about it in the wrong way, and maybe i have been doing too much work simulating networks than i am starting to think everything can be simulated.

Anyway, here is a brain dump for you. You might have found it extremely trivial and well known. But to me it came as a profound and pleasant surprise. In any case, the next time you put on a sweater, know that the actions of the entire universe have resulted in you wearing that sweater in that day. 🙂

Leave a comment ?

11 Comments.

  1. There are things that can be predicted and there are things that can’t.

    The weather in the next 5 days can be predicted through observations and analysis, the same goes to the economy in the next 6 months.

    But there are things that can not be predicted like a coin toss.

    If I decide to make an option in my life depending on the result of coin toss (which many do, take football games, who starts first), the results of my option can not be predicted, because simply they are a matter of chance, no external factor is involved, no cultural, tradition or background experience, mood, peer pressure, media effect, economical effect, nothing, raw chance, it can’t be predicted.

    About the big bang, there are different theories, the general understanding is that at the time of the big bang, everything in this planet was compacted into an infinitely small area under infinitely high pressure and temperature.

    this infinitely small point was surrounded with nothing, not even space, this point was not consisting of matter (or mass), it was raw energy.

    It is hard to understand how raw energy exists, but think of it like this, when the sun release light and heat (energy) it loses mass (from the burning process), at the point the big bang started, the reverse was happening raw energy was converted into mass.

    The second the big bang started the time started as well.

    There is such a project scientists are working on, its called the eye of god, and it does exactly what you said as far as i remember.

  2. Nizar: Thanks for your comment. You actually touch exactly on the point i was trying to make. I think that by taking into account all the right parameters, it is possible to predict the outcome of a coin flip. For example, if we take into consideration and distribution of the metal in the coin, the wind strength and direction, the strength by which the coin was flipped, the height of the flipper, the location where it was flipped ..etc. If we take all these factors into consideration then i think it is possible to predict the outcome of a coin toss.

  3. ok, what about a computerized pick of two numbers? 😀

    A software that picks by random A or B.

  4. Nizar: Actually computer software can never generate a truly random number. That is why they are called Pseudorandom Number Generators. Hardware based random number generators are not used in most personal computers and also rely on real-life physical phenomena. So in that sense, if you start from the same exact physical state, you will get the same output.

  5. Speaking strictly with regards to humans, it is difficult (impossible) to predict the your future. No two people have underwent through the exact same past in order to be able to simulate their thought processes. Therefore you cannot build a model where you can predict someone’s future.

    The nature of thoughts is that they are random, and the brain generates thoughts, and a person is free to choose what thoughts to give a positive consideration, negative or ignore completely. It’s impossible to replicate, or even speculate, on how thinking happens.

    Neural networks try to simulate in a simplified manner how the mind works, and how it can learn and predict based on previous input. But the brain is more complex than that.

    But then again, it probably is perceived as random because no one understands how the mind works. In the end it could really all be predictable – God knows!

  6. KJ: But this is exactly what i am talking about. After all, our thoughts are just electrical currents being passed around in the brain. Our mood can be explained by the chemical makeup of those individual cells (of course there are many other things involved).

    Essentially what i am trying to say here, when it comes to humans and living creatures, their behavior and thoughts are just a result of physical phenomena (at least in my conjecture). So if we hypothetically were able to model every single atom and sub-atomic particle in the universe, maybe we can simulate exactly how people behave (among other things of course).

  7. Za3tar, so my decisions in life are made depending on what I have experienced, taught by parents and the affect of the environment and the media.

    If it is so, then we are not given an option of what decisions to make in our life, all the options we take are just the result of the impact of our surroundings on us.

    Doesn’t that go against religious believes in away or another?

  8. Nizar: The list you made is only a subset of what affects you. You also have other stuff such as your current chemical makeup (due to what you ate), your surroundings, your physical condition, your current exposer to the various particles and the sun …etc.

    What i am trying to say is that if we take everything into consideration .. everything from below the atom and up, then everything in life (including human thoughts) are just the result of all those little things combined. After all, we humans are just the combination of all of these things, and our thoughts are really electrical pulses between different cells in the brain.

    Regarding religious beliefs, on the opposite, i think this goes exactly 100% with the concept of fate/destiny and qada2 and qadar. Because this explains how we still have our free choice in life (because we have our brains to make thoughts), but it also says that the decisions we make and the thoughts we have are all predictable and so our future is written and known before hand which is destiny.

    By the way, thanks for this discussion.

  9. This is very interesting. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I just had the same thought just recently that everything can be predicted, that random is never truly random at all, it is in one way or another influenced by something. I think even if we gathered every computer in the world, it wouldn’t be enough to calculate everything. The future can be predicted, but there is no physically possible way to do it. There would also have to be sensors on everything. The computers and sensors would have to been then taken into account too, as they also change the outcome of the universe. So there would be sensors/computers on sensors/computers on sensors/computers on sensors/computers, which would go on infinitely. It’s just overall. Impossible, only in theory is it possible. There would have to be a separate universe that is many times the size of this universe to house all the computers to compute everything. It would have to multiplied by 2 to the power of some massively long number and it would have to get data without coming into contact with anything.

    Anyway. That enough from this rambling teen. This is very interesting.

  10. There are random number generators that are truly random, such as the ones based in atmospheric noise.

  11. OMG, you people are not getting it, If you could predict the big bang, you could predict the traverse of noise, and if you can predict the traveling patterns of noise, then you can predict the atmospheric noise. And if you can predict Atmospheric noise, then you can predict the number, is that still truly random?

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