Everything is Unprecedented Until it Happens for the First Time
In the movie, "Sully," (best) actor (ever) Tom Hanks defends his decision to land US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River instead of steering it back to LaGuardia airport.
He goes up against the National Transportation Safety Board investigators who rely on computer simulations for evidence to show that the Captain had made a terrible, potentially devastating mistake.
I won't ruin the film for people who haven't seen it yet, but here are some questions and thoughts that have come to my mind upon watching it (in an empty theater with $8 small-size popcorn and $5 small-sized bottled water):
- Assuming that the universe is infinitely expanding, and that there are infinite possible variations of occurrences and experiences, nobody can predict actual future outcomes -- neither humans nor computers.
- We can imagine possible future outcomes using a combination of knowledge about past experiences and predictive algorithms (whether they reside in our brains or in computer software).
- The more knowledge of past experiences we accumulate, and the more open-minded our predictive algorithms and imaginations are, the more possible future outcomes we can foresee.
- How can we best consolidate and share historical and experiential knowledge? How can we best improve our predictive algorithms and imaginations?
- What is the end game for humanity and the accumulation of intelligence? Is singularity inevitable?
- How much time and energy should we spend predicting a non-predictable future, compared to time and energy spent shaping the future? Experiencing the future?
- How can we make LaGuardia airport a place people want to go back to?
"Everything is unprecedented until it happens for the first time."