Recent discussions at work revolved around the tachyonic antitelephone. For those who are not familiar with this wonderful machine: It is a hypothetical device in theoretical physics that allows the sending of messages to ones own past. We discussed various paradoxes that would arise from the existence of some such device. I found a paper, which describes the overarching paradox quite nicely, but a little on the dry side. I tried to find a better example, so here’s what I came up with:
Imagine you’re coming over to my place to see a film. It is 20:00. You forgot to bring the bottle of wine you had bought, so you ring yourself on the tachyonic antitelephone at 19:30 before you leave home and tell yourself to bring it. When you arrive at mine, you don’t need to ring yourself, because we have the wine. But if you don’t ring yourself, you’ll have forgotten it.
If your head is spinning now, well, it should be. Drink some wine, provided you brought it. If you didn’t, ring yourself…
…Oh, and a side thought: How would one advertise a tachyonic antitelephone on the second hand market? “For Sale: Tachyonic Antitelephone — Won’t be used much”?
…And another side thought: If any of the big mobile phone makers build one of them into their next model, I’ll be seriously impressed.
6 July 2016
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