# Can a random number generator predict the future?

CRGreathouse
Homework Helper
Anyone know what method their RNG's use to generate random numbers? And any systematic errors that might show up after running it for so long?

I can't think of any systemic errors if you use a hardware RNG:
http://xkcd.com/221/

Absolutely

One (or more) of an infinite number of random number generators will produce a number that can be interpreted as having predicted a future event. There is no doubt about it!!! Sadly, your chance of choosing the right random number generator is infinitely small. Tough luck.

So if we took a bunch of these same mechanisms, put them in different places in the world (say different universities in Europe, Asia, Americas, Africa, Australia), then if there is some sort of source doing this, all of them should have similar output, correct?

If you get a lot more 1's when something happens, then all of them should have a sudden flux of 1's on their output.

Seems like a simple experiment.

DaveC426913
Gold Member
I believe that a true random number generator could not predict the future...number,let alone the future numbers...
I think this is a serious lack of understanding of the intent and claims of the experiments.

A far better way of predicting the future would be to connect a number generator to a screen. Eventually the number generator would generate the right numbers to project the future as a moving image (As numbers make up the image on a screen). One could see any period of past history and it would also generate the right numbers to see into the universe or the future.
This number generation technique would eventually generate every music performance or play never recorded. I'd love to see into the medieval period and I would try making my theory into a computer programme myself, as having my own satellite which shows King Charles the I being crowned as well as the future would be most exceptional. Yet I don't have the programming knowlege to come up with a number generator which generates every single sequence of numbers up to a certian number of digits (depending what you want to look at) even 3 X 33333333333 going on for billions of digits may generate the information for a moving image of the medieval period which one could look at on a screen. You could test to see if the image is the right one by a television recording which is from a certian perspective and finding patterns , or just finding the data which is the most accurate.

I doubt anyone will understand this! However if you do and have the computing knowlege to make it happen or are at a University or part of the government and are interested in seeing the past or the future or seeing into the universe, please contact me at [email protected]

If you wish to mock this I very much doubt you understand!

CRGreathouse
Homework Helper
I had a similar idea as a child: generate all short strings of text, attempting to interpret them as proofs. If it's not a proof, discard it; if it is, then it's automatically trustworthy.

The problem is that I had no grasp of how many short strings there were, let alone how many moving images. A 100 x 100 pixel display (very, very poor...) at 16 colors showing a 1 minute clip (at 10 fps, also poor) has 100 x 100 x 60 x 10 = 6,000,000 pixels in total. Cycling through each possibility (1 minute for each, naturally) would take 2^6000000 minutes.

The galaxy should decay into Hawking radiation or a photon/lepton soup in around 2^350 minutes, so as long as your program runs for at least 2^5999650 times longer than the galaxy, you should see the coronation as desired.

But even if you're that patient, how will you know which coronation is real and which many are clever 'forgeries'?

If you wish to mock this I very much doubt you understand!

I'll bite.

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I attended a Stephen Hawking lecture in Cambridge. I doubt many people will agree with me and I don't want my suggestion to be popular. The reason for this is popular things are almost always awful, take X factor for example!
One could always take a moving image of a knight and generate a sequence of numbers relating to those numbers and eventually come up with a knight in the medieval period , yet there would be many choices the hard part would be distinguishing the other choices from the real thing I do agree!

I wish someone would invent it soon I want an internet where one can search for anything in the universe from any time period. (I'm not counting parellel universes I imagine they could also be interesting!)

I think one could test it by correlating the patterns with a contempary recording and if they prove to be 100% accurate or even 90% accurate it would show something of value. If I hear a chaos theory explaination I will literally laugh my living pants off , yes it's a good theory yet why do people use it as an excuse for things not working!

DavidSnider
Gold Member
Let's just say we wanted to make a database of every American television image possible.

NTSC Resolution: 648*486 = 314928
number of possible colors: 255 * 255 * 255 = 16581375
Number of possible television images: 16581375^314928
Estimated Atoms in the Universe: 10^80

So unless you have a multiverse to use as a hard drive, I don't think this is possible.

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Presumeably one would only be watching one moving image at a time so you would generate only what you wanted to look at using a searching method.

It's like passing over a magnifying glass over a text in a book, you wouldn't neccessarily use a magnifying glass the size of a book.

your point is a very good one however.

HallsofIvy
Homework Helper
The PEAR research does make 'predictions'. (For example they tell a person to try and make the RNG produce more 0's.)
That's not a prediction (it's not even a 'prediction').

Also i believe that in the Global Consciousness Research, they did make some predictions. For instance they knew that the OJ simpson trial would be on TV and then 'predicted' that there would be a deviation from randomness.
But was there? And that's a prediction about the RPG not one based on its results, which was what the question was about.

However, you probably cant make predictions like 'because the randomness is disturbed, a meteor will hit New York tomorrow'.

DaveC426913
Gold Member
I doubt anyone will understand this! However if you do and have the computing knowlege to make it happen or are at a University or part of the government and are interested in seeing the past or the future or seeing into the universe,
You don't need computing knowledge. ANY random noise will achieve the exact same thing. Throw a handful of sand on the floor enough times and some of those times it will fall in the image of a set of lottery numbers. Then again, you're no closer to knowing if those numbers will win...

You are misunderstanding statistical probability.

Unless one finds patterns which correlate exactly with a recording of the present the more patterns the more accurate it shall be. A set of numbers are the right ones a programme could easily pick the most likely.

mheslep
Gold Member
I had a similar idea as a child: generate all short strings of text, attempting to interpret them as proofs. If it's not a proof, discard it; if it is, then it's automatically trustworthy.

The problem is that I had no grasp of how many short strings there were, let alone how many moving images. A 100 x 100 pixel display (very, very poor...) at 16 colors showing a 1 minute clip (at 10 fps, also poor) has 100 x 100 x 60 x 10 = 6,000,000 pixels in total. Cycling through each possibility (1 minute for each, naturally) would take 2^6000000 minutes.

The galaxy should decay into Hawking radiation or a photon/lepton soup in around 2^350 minutes, so as long as your program runs for at least 2^5999650 times longer than the galaxy, you should see the coronation as desired.

But even if you're that patient, how will you know which coronation is real and which many are clever 'forgeries'?...
uh oh, careful with that one. Ever read AC Clark's "The Nine Billion Names of God"? Im not ready for the end of the universe quite yet, got plans.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nine_Billion_Names_of_God

ahultgren