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Monday, March 20, 2017

"What's Expected of Us" by Ted Chiang

First appeared in Henry Gee's Nature, reprinted by David G. Hartwell, Kathryn Cramer, Lincoln Michel, and Nadxieli Nieto. Read online here.

A minor time-machine called the Predictor goes back in time one second to beep that you are about to press it. This, people believe, proves definitively that there is no free will. Despite previous proofs, people actually believe this one.
Commentary with Spoiler
Some become despondent. This story was sent back from one year in the future as a warning. However, the future was going to happen anyway, and people will still become despondent. So what's the point? Why bother?
"Because I had no choice."
Interesting thought experiment. Nonetheless, just because you can learn what you will choose doesn't mean you did not choose it.

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