Black Solo Run:
You can play Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and win. You've always wanted
to be a stage performer and now you're the biggest act out there. Nobody knows
how you perform your death defying stunts, but everybodies got their theories.
You have several cults that worship you as the reincarnation of christ and
you're never at a loss for anything. Seducing and having sex with anyone you
desire without aquiring a disease is childs play by comparison to your stage
As the years pass the novelty wears off and the public stops paying attention.
You retire as an A-list celebrity and dabble in politics, but your major hobby
is pleasure seeking and experiencing everything the world has to offer. It's
nice never having to worry about any tragic boating accidents or 3rd world
The shifting premonitions are annoying though, and this months is no exception.
It's been four days now and the tone is still stuck in your head, the Emergency
Broadcast System there on the silver screen to let you know that a nuclear
holocaust is coming. You of course get a months notice, and by the time you hit
the week mark it occurs to you that this one probably isn't going away unless you
Writing to the newspaper is out, nobody would believe you even with your history.
Publicly predicting winning lotto numbers causes them to change, same with the
stock market. You're almost convinced that your anti self fulfilling prophecies
are a negative when you marvel at your stupidity of just a few moments ago for
not seeing the possibilities. All you have to do is convince a few high ranking
officials of some anti predictions...
A few weeks later you're in a fallout shelter you've aquired with your vast
wealth. The previous plan didn't work and now you're just waiting for the bombs
to drop. You haven't even bothered with a TV to listen to updates from the EBS,
since you know exactly when they'll hit anyway. You muse how you wished you'd had
more time to try and solve this, since you're sure it's solvable *somehow*. It
occurs to you that you'll be able to see this outcome a month before now, and
you a month before that would be able to see you seeing it and so on in a sort of
You abandon your idea of becoming a performing artist in favor of somebody powerful
enough to stop the end of the world. Though you can still only see a month into
the future, so your career as a minor politican is lost to you as experience.
You're not quite sure how you would go about ruling the world anyway, so you get
your degree in political science from an Ivy League at great personal cost to
yourself. You barely blink at the debt, you'll be able to pay it all off with the
stock market anyway.
After your incredible career in investing you use your wealth to head straight
into politics. You get a reputation as a sort of miracle worker and before long
you're a staple of politics in your country of origin. Plays just seem to work
out in implausible ways that nobody could predict would happen, except you of
course. Intelligence agencies take notice of you but by that point you simply
outwit and assassinate everybody who might come after you.
Once a leader on the world stage you dominate politics through information.
The larger countries have already puzzled things out, and the smaller ones wouldn't
dare stand up to somebody in your weight class. You avoid every assassination
attempt effortlessly. Coups aren't even something you worry about given how well
you run things. You tune the entire world into a political system of your design
and under your control, a modern Bismark to put Bismark to shame.
Under your leadership humanity finds itself in a new golden age, with advancements
in technology and art completely unhindered by political mucking about, every time
you make a catastrophic mistake or even a tiny one a message is sent back to you
not to do that thing. New developments in nanotech, robotics, automization, AI and
everything else you could imagine characterize your rule, everybody is wealthy and
Then something wholly strange and implausible comes into your window, a sort of
not thing that is a thing, all you can see is one minute the world is there and
the next it's a gelatinous sludge. You ask your advisors and they inform you of
the concept of gray goo, having seen this folly you realize your mistake.
Relentless progress has put too much power in too many hands, a month isn't
enough to solve this, you'll need more time to think about it. You go send a
message back to yourself before you started in politics.
Studying science to prevent the world from being destroyed by science? You think
that's a strange conclusion, but it's what the message said and your future self
would know better. You go to an Ivy League university for a STEM degree and take
on significant debt to do it. You're not worried though, you can just make it all
back on the stock market. You weren't quite sure *which* Science you needed to be
studying, but tech was mentioned so you choose electrical engineering. You read
about things in the meantime that sound like strange fear mongering to you, but
you know for a fact that gray goo is real.
You get really into science fiction, and it's when you read about the concept of
a brain upload that it hits you: Being a superintelligent AI would solve all
your problems. You look a month into the future and see that it'll take longer
than that to do, but you're confident you'll be able to crack it soon enough.
Reading takes a fraction of the time when you can predict in advance whether
something was worth reading or not, though you do go back and forth on some books.
You graduate with your Bachelors and promptly begin your new career in finance.
After a tour de force in which you become a famous investor you use your vast
wealth to research brain uploads. It turns out that even with this boost the
problem is much harder than you thought, but you don't trust anyone else to
share your research with. Ten years pass and you realize that you need more time.
Having reflected on your life you realize that you could probably skip out on a
lot of wasted time by just reading the right books on your own and not bothering
with college or using the stock market to get out of debt.
Before sending back a list of books and instructions though, you realize that
you're strictly more experienced than your younger self and that won't go back
with you. You devote some time to this whole saving time business and come up with
some interesting measures you try on yourself before including them in your letter.
The entire thing comes out to quite a few pages, you hope your younger selves can
pass it properly...
You always thought hypnosis was a myth, but this letter insists that it's real.
Moreover, that it can be used as a way to predict the outcome of any action you
might want to take even if you don't actually start taking it, because you can
use it to intend to take an action and then break yourself out of hypnosis. You
can even use it to intend to take actions that are impossible, but you'll believe
yourself capable of doing because of the hypnosis. After reading the right books
and taking the right steps, you have triggers you can use to make yourself believe
that you intend to take an action regardless of whether you really do. This is paired
with instructions to explicitly remember the outcome of that future action so that
when you wake up you still have the information and can write it down or use it
to evaluate a descision.
The message passing network seems more sensible. It describes a protocol to have
versions of yourself in the future that are generated by the intent to do something
pass messages to a given version of yourself by specifying the number of hops
backward and giving a clever error correction code that can easily be applied
mentally and in writing. Between this and the hypnosis you can instantly get back
information about what would happen with any action you might consider taking.
With these together you set out on your quest to upload. The letter mentions that
the stock market idea was really just a holdover for when you needed a good
reputation to do politics and the lottery would be more efficient. You're soon
fabulously wealthy and further grow your wealth with good investments. With money
handled you become an autodidact, faithfully reading every book on the list set
out by your future self. Everything is insightful in ways you couldn't believe,
like it'd been picked out by the worlds best science book critic. It only takes
a few moments for you to remember that it essentially had been.
Even with your superpowers of prediction it's still two decades to get the
necessary tech together. You've of course read about this in detail so you're
aware of the problem of getting an entity by self modifying that doesn't share
your values. But you've got a solution to that with your power, you can simply
predict whether the entity will share your values since you'll experience what
it's like to be it. You almost have the machine built when you see another problem.
You try predicting self modifying as the upload, and you get an iteration that
decides the best thing for humanity would be to turn everybody into things that
experience maximum pleasure at all times, stripping away variety and the chance
to do something suboptimal to the cornucopia of ultimate hedonism. It's incredibly
smart and immediately tries to convince you through the counterfactual of the same.
Thankfully just this scenario is enough to get you to no longer want to build the
machine and the frightening AI that's you but not quite you goes with it.
You'll need to write another letter, since this approach isn't going to work out.
But what if...
It's a book, really. Two hundred plus pages of insights and advice and steps
for saving humanity combined into a brilliantly written masterpiece. It would
be of course since you could just predict which parts you'll go back and edit
later. You devour it greedily, and your faith in following it to the letter
Your ability is less of something you *use* now as much as it is a *sense*,
something that factors into every descision you make. The book went into how to
bootstrap a hypnosis trigger to let you pass messages from the future efficiently
and how to get information from the future about any possible action you'd want
to take. From there you can program your mind so that you consider things and get
messages back in a fraction of a second, so that you can know how to accomplish
a goal almost just by thinking of it and agreeing to pass the message back from
the future if you don't get a certain result you're looking for. The entire
process is trained into you now and you don't even fully consider the actual
information state of the future so much as *feel* whether it's what you're
looking for or not.
You can still use your ability the old way though, this is just much faster.
Apparently the whole upload thing doesn't work out, but that's okay because you
have a better idea anyway. You task yourself with the goal of writing the shortest
possible Friendly Artifical Intelligence that shares your values, at any time you
consider typing a character you ask yourself if for every possible character it
could be if the shortest possible written FAI includes this character at this
position in the file. No understanding of any of the principles involved is
actually required for this method, and with your nigh-unbounded computing power
you crack the problem fairly easily.
Before having the FAI upload you, you predict whether or not you'll still have
your prodigious powers of prediction after upload. Thankfully the answer is yes.
This happens and with the FAI's assistance you're modified into something that
is you and not you, the better version of you that you would want to be if you
already were. After that you collaborate on the obvious things, ending death,
let alone poverty and resource issues which are childs play in comparison. The
entire future of humanity will now be defined by the things that humans would
want for themselves if they knew what you knew.
The only outstanding question is just how much of a future humanity has. Several
billion years in the worst case, but there is of course the larger question
you've been waiting to solve until now, when you have the time and the intelligence
to try with impunity...
What you are now makes your earlier hypnosis tricks look like something that
'trite' doesn't begin to describe. Like a single ant trying to build a colony
might be a more apt description. You no longer have a sense of humor, it's been
replaced with a deeper appreciation of irony and surprising information. What
you do have is still substantially amused by the idea that you'd ever been content
with the petty tricks you'd done as a stage performer, for the one you did now
in your spare time was beyond belief, was the bedrock on which humanity would
It took longer than you'd anticipated to become Maxwell's Demon, because you
needed to optimize your powers of prediction to the point where they used created
less entropy than they sunk. For a long time you were even convinced it was
impossible and your wise humor finds substantial amusement in that too. The gas
particles flow through the gap with your permission and the tubes involved are
massive. Not singular though of course, an array of tubes, all handled by your
multitasking capabilities. With these and the energy you're storing even if
disaster strikes the projected damage is minimal. In the absolute worst case
scenario you might be lost and humanity's children would fade away with you.
After holding out for years measured with many more places than their ancestors
had dreamed of in the best case scenarios.
It wouldn't be a *fitting* end, oh who could say such a thing!
But you could live with it.