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There are no facts in the future

Fact-oriented behavior is considered rational and methodical by many, especially technocrats. But facts exist entirely in the past. The human future is composed of what we intend to do, what is likely or probable, what we assume and what we believe. The human future is completely devoid of facts. When this simple fact is ignored, it has a huge effect on how people (even technocrats) launch initiatives. People often fail to distinguish between "that's how things are" and "that's how they have been in the past". Shaping the future requires abandoning fact oriented thinking EXCEPT to the extent that facts from the past can shape our assumptions and beliefs. We can look at Oklahoma tornadoes from last week (i.e., a fact) and create an assumption "I should build a better basement shelter" or "I should leave Oklahoma". Neither of these has any facts but the divergent assumptions have a huge impact on the person's future. The tornado doesn't know the difference and doesn't care.

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  • Jun 7 2013: Ashwath,
    there is but one fact in the future, that no one can deny: and that is death.
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      Jun 7 2013: Not sure that's a fact but definitely inevitable and thats only where you start counting technically your body dies every 5-7 years. But hey who's counting? I am pretty sure the only true absolute fact is the same that every religion or belief system including science has as the answer. It has never changed. The we need to talk about what is it that we are actually seeing and looking at? Have you ever seen a tree? Or just its reflection? Have you ever really seen anything? Or is it just light? Thats all our eyes can see is light. Our eyes can't really see a tree just its light wave length. Can light die? http://www.fi.edu/color/
    • Jun 8 2013: I'd say death is highly probable. I'm reluctant to call it a fact yet, but that distinction is not very interesting. Much more interesting is "if I am likely to die in about 20 years and have had a good life, what intentions does that create for me?" Play golf, or try to save the rainforest? Same facts from the past, completely divergent futures.
      • Jun 8 2013: Ashwath,
        I'm curious, how you can say 'death is probable'. In my opinion, it's the most probable thing in this universe...biologically, I mean. Unless you are suggesting immortality?
        • Jun 9 2013: I would have to say immortality invention is possible in the future. But that speculation is not very interesting to me. Like I said, more interesting is what are people's intentions based on what they already know? The divergence of intentions creates a hugely different outcome with the same facts from the past.
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          Jun 10 2013: Sadly and gratefully we already are immortal, it just depends on where you start counting. And are you talking body because biologically that dies your body, which you have never touch and is 99.99999% not there, dies every 5-7 years. But you if you could perceive planck time you would realise that infinity or eternity exist between any 2 numbers(which are only real on paper the material world does not contain 2 of anything or have zero/nothing/no thing.)
          http://www.ted.com/conversations/13925/is_our_math_wrong_is_it_our_a.html

          Ultimately resulting in one being the only "real number" for everything is an individual representation of what that thing is. And then when you bring infinity or eternity back into the picture you realize that within infinity everything is arbitrary. And one could literally be anything.

          What is the smallest unit of time you can conceive? A second? A millisecond? Hard to say seeing as how time is relative. Under the right circumstances, hours can fly by and seconds can feel like a lifetime. But unfortunately for physicists, time is not something that can be delt with so philosophically. And since they deal with cosmological forces both infinitesimally large and small, they need units that can objectively measure them. When it comes to dealing with the small, Planck Time is the measurement of choice. Named after German physicist Max Planck, the founder of quantum theory, a unit of Planck time is the time it takes for light to travel, in a vacuum, a single unit of Planck length. Taken together, they part of the larger system of natural units known as Planck units.

          http://www.universetoday.com/79418/planck-time/

          More: http://cosmologistic.blogspot.com/2012/02/what-is-planck-time.html

          Its truth that people are afraid of
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    Jun 4 2013: the entire human history refutes your theory. human behavior is based on modeling and forecasting. everything we do is based on predictions. we buy icecream because we think it will bring us joy, based on our past experience.

    if the past would be in no way representative of the future, this behavior would not have served us, and we would have abandoned it long ago, or rather, we would not have evolved into that direction. the very fact that we, humans, are so successful indicates that there is a correlation between facts of the past and facts of the future.
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      Jun 7 2013: Where are we successful? And how are you measuring success? Would your feeling of success be different of mine? And then if it was based on a feeling who's feeling would we use?
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        Jun 7 2013: success means an achieved goal. i don't judge the goal, nor i care about whether it was a mistake to want that in the first place. in some cases, it was. what makes us the most successful species is that we can achieve what we want.

        we wanted our kids to survive. so we got rid of polio, malaria, cholera and all the other diseases. we learned about sanitation.

        we wanted to have abundant food. we have now. in the western world, hunger is not anymore an issue. and neither in any peaceful country.

        we wanted protection from cold. we made it happen.
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          Jun 7 2013: I am pretty sure I could argue with you about the hunger thing, but it would be moot. Success as in achieving a goal sounds like a good measurement. And under that definition you would be right.
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        Jun 17 2013: Re: "And how are you measuring success?"

        Survival. Which, ultimately, is futile because we will die anyway. We are in a hamster wheel. Future is like the past, past is like the future, what's above is like what's below and it keeps spinning. The goal is the activity itself.
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          Jun 19 2013: But what are we trying to survive from or for? Why do we need or continue to spin in the same hamster cage?

          What happens when it is man and government stopping our survival?

          I am pretty sure you already know I agree with the idea that with in infinity everything is arbitrary
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        Jun 19 2013: Re: "But what are we trying to survive from or for? Why do we need or continue to spin in the same hamster cage?"

        See above: "The goal is the activity itself." Your questions are the ones that I prefer to avoid. The answer is self-referring like the one I gave. You can get a headache trying to understand what the answer means or trying to find a different one.

        Re: "What happens when it is man and government stopping our survival?"

        Two possibilities: we either die or survive. Seems to be fairly clear to me. :-)

        Yes, when we consider infinity, the possibilities are unlimited. Which seems to be an equivalent of having no possibilities at all.

        http://www.zombo.com/
        (you need sound to appreciate the profound philosophical meaning of this wonderful web site)
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          Jun 19 2013: That site was great and definitely funny.

          I am pretty sure I know what the answer means, or should I say as humans we already figured out all the (arbitrary) paths. Right because it is the path that is arbitrary while the answer still remains truth. And as far as existence goes every different answer has always been the same answer. It's about letting go of decisions made long ago.
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          Jun 19 2013: Only here on paper can no work ever been done. W=FD

          "the goal is the activity"

          Otherwise it doesn't matter if you are sitting "still"or running a marathon you are doing work

          http://www.ted.com/talks/david_bolinsky_animates_a_cell.html
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        Jun 19 2013: Re: " it doesn't matter if you are sitting "still"or running a marathon you are doing work"

        One of my coworkers once noticed: even on a day when you do nothing, it still takes all day to do that :-)
    • Jun 8 2013: You're absolutely right that the past is used for modelling the future and rightly so. The problem is that a large number of people (including technocrats) are not as perceptive as you. Facts from the past are taken as facts from the future as opposed to probable models. More importantly, the impact of un-modelable stuff like hopes, intentions, dreams and desires is swept under the carpet. If we had an accurate model for an ostensibly technical thing like sub-prime mortgages or junky Enron energy trading, the people in charge would have been jailed in advance of their greedy impact on the financial world.
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        Jun 19 2013: Do you think you can out smart newtons third law of motion? Or yin-yang. How do you create your equal but opposite reaction to self? While decreasing harm and increasing potential of a greater good?

        If your equal but opposite reaction to self walk up and introduce him or her self would you know right away it was you?
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    Jun 4 2013: What about constants such as mathematics. 1+1=2, now, in the past and wait........ now it is the future, yep 1+1 still =2. Might be taking your thoughts a little bit out of context Ashwath. Especially if you mainly mean people, not physics, natural environments etc.
    In terms of people, you are right, there is no certainty for what is our future. Though that said, I do believe that our futures are created from our actions of today. There are too, exceptions as well. These are not readily explained, however, it has been recorded that some people will get visions of a future event before it happens. As time unfolds, that vision transpires and so effectively they have foreseen a future fact!
    I agree that shaping a future does to an extent require letting go of the past, as otherwise you keep getting the same result if you keep doing the same thing. To shape something differently new ways of thinking need to be incorporated and old ideas challenged, with the hope of making new innovations and creations.
    All of us live only in the present and as such because the future is always out of our reach it is empty! :D
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      Jun 7 2013: Math is not a constant it does not exist in the physical world we see and live in. Technically there is nothing that is 100% identical to another in the physical world. Math is only a constant on paper.

      http://www.ted.com/conversations/13925/is_our_math_wrong_is_it_our_a.html
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        Jun 10 2013: What????? That sooooo doesn't even make sense! Justify your last comment so that you postively refute that 1+1 does not = 2 and don't tell me that it = a window! Mathematics in human history is A BIG DEAL. You need now to back up your statement with something pretty convincing, as I'm pretty sure if you counted one physical person sitting on any bus plus another sitting on that same physically identical bus, you would have 2 people on the bus!
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          Jun 10 2013: Yes, you would have 2 people, of a very general category. But they would not be identical in any other category of then some arbitrary one that we call people. Now can you show me 2 people that are 100% perfectly similar even down to the way that their molecules atoms and cells move in their body exactly the same? Then you could prove to me that their is 2 people. And not just some vague construct

          Also check out that ted talk it is all right there
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          Jun 11 2013: Here is a paper form or what mathematics like to call a proof by Jon Ho taken from that ted conversation

          Our maths aren't wrong, its reality itself that defies definition. For example, why is the result of a division by zero is undefined? The reason is the fact that any attempt at a definition leads to a contradiction.

          To begin with, how do we define division? The ratio r of two numbers a and b:
          r=a/b
          is that number r that satisfies
          a=r*b.

          Well, if b=0, i.e., we are trying to divide by zero, we have to find a number r such that r*0=a. (1)
          But r*0=0
          for all numbers r, and so unless a=0 there is no solution of equation (1).

          Now you could say that r=infinity satisfies (1). That's a common way of putting things, but what's infinity? It is not a number! Why not? Because if we treated it like a number we'd run into contradictions. Ask for example what we obtain when adding a number to infinity. The common perception is that infinity plus any number is still infinity. If that's so, then

          infinity = infinity+1 = infinity + 2
          which would imply that 1 equals 2 if infinity was a number. That in turn would imply that all integers are equal, for example, and our whole number system would collapse!

          So, what now? How about 0/0?

          I said above that we can't solve the equation (1) unless a=0. So, in that case, what does it mean to divide by zero? Again, we run into contradictions if we attempt to assign any number to 0/0. Let's call the result of 0/0, z, if it made sense. z would have to satisfy:
          z*0=0. (2)

          That's OK as far as it goes, any number z satisfies that equation. But it means that the result of 0/0 could be anything. We could argue that it's 1, or 2, and again we have a contradiction since 1 does not equal 2
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          Jun 11 2013: Continued, silly character limitation -

          But perhaps there is a number z satisfying (2) that's somehow special and we just have not identified it? So here is a slightly more subtle approach. Division is a continuous process. Suppose b and c are both non-zero. Then, in a sense that can be made precise. the ratios a/b and a/c will be close if b and c are close. A similar statement applies to the numerator of a ratio (except that it may be zero.)

          So now assume that 0/0 has some meaningful numerical value (whatever it may be - we don't know yet), and consider a situation where both a and b in the ratio a/b become smaller and smaller. As they do the ratio should become closer and closer to the unknown value of 0/0.

          There are many ways in which we can choose a and b and let them become smaller. For example, suppose that a=b throughout the process. For example, we might pick

          a=b = 1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, ....
          Since

          a=b,
          for all choices of a we get the ratio 1 every time! This suggests that 0/0 should equal 1. But we could just as well pick

          b = 1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, ....
          and let a be twice as large as b. Then the ratio is always 2! So 0/0 should equal 2. But we just said it should equal 1! In fact, by letting a be r times as large as b we could get any ratio r we please!

          So again we run into contradictions, and therefore we are compelled to

          let 0/0 be undefined.

          So, yeah, zero does not exist, unless if you studied calculus and learn about Rule of L'Hôpital. Which then gets pretty whacky and my hands are all tired from typing and steering this spaceship at the same time so I am ashamed to tell you to just Wikipedia it. Sorry.
    • Jun 8 2013: Remember that for 2000 years it was a "fact" that there was no square root for minus one. Once it was realized that this was merely an ASSUMPTION, someone made the opposite assumption and opened the door to a totally new world of complex math. (With huge implications in fluid mechanics, telecom engineering, etc.)
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        Jun 11 2013: And zero at the as the starting point of our number system is a relatively new concept
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      Jun 17 2013: It's a matter of convention. 1 is a number. 2 is a number. + is an operation. These can be defined in whatever way we choose. There are common conventions - that's true. But they are conventions. Using a different set of conventions, I can say that 1+1=10.

      Mathematical "facts" are not facts, they represent ideas. What these ideas represent in reality - is up to us. 1 box of tea may have 6 packs inside, each of them has 20 small bags. So, when you say "1", it can be any number.

      Without context, there is no meaning.

      "Arthur: Six by nine? Forty-two? You know, I've always felt that there was something fundamentally wrong with the Universe.
      (Faint and distant voice:) Base thirteen!"
  • Jun 15 2013: That's a fact.
    We can't go into the future.

    In real time, everything is immediately in the past as soon as it 'is'.
    Time flows backwards.'
    It can never go in any other direction.
    Every moment (of time, each tiny unit or increment), is immediately dissolved or annihilated in the timeless now
    and is instantaneously and virtually simultaneously the past the very moment it happens.

    Time cannot actually move past that into the future.
    So death is also not in the future.
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    Jun 7 2013: I see your point and I think you are trying to say "within infinity" everything is arbitrary.
    • Jun 9 2013: Yup. History may prove us wrong, but by the time it does it will be history.
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        Jun 10 2013: I guess that how you define arbitrary right? That our problem we don't all use and subscribe to the same definition.

        If you follow Newtons third law of motion every action creates and equal but opposite reaction. Which is why it is a circle. And not a straight line.

        But truthfully everything is a sign/pattern/vibration and all signs/pattern/vibration carry information. Light just happens to do it that fastest
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    Jun 6 2013: I think this is almost philosophical. If the word FACT was substituted with HISTORY, then it is impossible to have a future history. The day that you had yesterday, is made up of facts. Eg, I got out of bed @ 6:53 and 17 seconds am. I rubbed the sleep first from my right eye with an exact split of 3.5 seconds before I started rubbing my other eye with my other hand and while in the process of doing this I knocked my alarm clock onto the floor! These would all be facts of what HAD occured, however there are no facts like this in the future because you haven't done it yet and as such don't know what would be fact or fiction! :D
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      Jun 7 2013: I guess thats only if you see time as linear. Which it is not. http://www.universetoday.com/79418/planck-time/

      There are more units of planck time in a second then there has been seconds since the big bang 14 billion years ago.

      What is the smallest unit of time you can conceive? A second? A millisecond? Hard to say seeing as how time is relative. Under the right circumstances, hours can fly by and seconds can feel like a lifetime. But unfortunately for physicists, time is not something that can be delt with so philosophically. And since they deal with cosmological forces both infinitesimally large and small, they need units that can objectively measure them. When it comes to dealing with the small, Planck Time is the measurement of choice. Named after German physicist Max Planck, the founder of quantum theory, a unit of Planck time is the time it takes for light to travel, in a vacuum, a single unit of Planck length. Taken together, they part of the larger system of natural units known as Planck units.

      If you had infinity to get something accomplished; How long would you take?
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    Jun 5 2013: So what is the idea then ?
    How should we go in to future?
    Should we leave behind all the experience, knowledge, learning etc because these matter of past and then step in to the FUTURE ?
    Why technocrats are so special ?
    How a fisherman plans to go to a certain spot for fishing ? Doesn't he apply his experience , learning of past and plan for next time ?
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      Jun 7 2013: I guess thats only if you see time as linear. Which it is not. http://www.universetoday.com/79418/planck-time/

      There are more units of planck time in a second then there has been seconds since the big bang 14 billion years ago.

      What is the smallest unit of time you can conceive? A second? A millisecond? Hard to say seeing as how time is relative. Under the right circumstances, hours can fly by and seconds can feel like a lifetime. But unfortunately for physicists, time is not something that can be delt with so philosophically. And since they deal with cosmological forces both infinitesimally large and small, they need units that can objectively measure them. When it comes to dealing with the small, Planck Time is the measurement of choice. Named after German physicist Max Planck, the founder of quantum theory, a unit of Planck time is the time it takes for light to travel, in a vacuum, a single unit of Planck length. Taken together, they part of the larger system of natural units known as Planck units.

      If you had infinity to get something accomplished; How long would you take?
    • Jun 8 2013: You are right that fishermen go to the same spot based on their facts of the past. This is critically important. What I am saying is that a fisherman could easily try to stay out longer in the hope of catching more fish, even given the exact same facts - and suffer a Perfect Storm and drown. The facts leading to this event would be exactly the same, but the INTENTION filter radically alters the outcome.
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        Jun 19 2013: An American businessman was standing at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.
        “How long it took you to catch them?” The American asked.
        “Only a little while.” The Mexican replied.
        “Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” The American then asked.
        “I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs.” The Mexican said.
        “But,” The American then asked, “What do you do with the rest of your time?”
        The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor.”
        The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds you buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”
        “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own can factory. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
        The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”
        To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”
        “But what then, senor?”
        The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO (Initial Public Offering) and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”
        “Millions, senor? Then what?”
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        Jun 19 2013: The American said slowly, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos…”
  • Jun 5 2013: Everyone seems rationally to be saying What else may you use for your projections of the future? Of course, you may not be saying what I think you are - We could wake up in "Waiting for Godot World" where the World is different every day. Could happen, but probably not very often.
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    Jun 4 2013: So there would not be a Joe Friday in this future?

    For what you say to occur you would have to change the universe from moment to moment. The future can be changed but not that much at least in this universe.
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      Jun 7 2013: That is true the future does not change much or fast. And the answer although debilitating is very simple. We as a people don't like change...and yet it is the only constant. Change scares people
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    Jun 4 2013: Based on the facts we prepare for the future.

    Fact is that you can't ignore the facts.