Rob Harris (
Thu, 28 Oct 1999 15:29:43 +0100

>> And I assert that probability exists only as a fix for uncertainty in
>> systems one wishes to predict that have too many variables of too high a
>> complexity to track. Probability will become obsolete with the arrival of
>> the necessary technology. Or will it? What do you think?

>no matter what our level of technology, we
>will have uncertainty due to limitations in information processing,
>sensing abilities, information storage and complexity.


How certain can we be that these limitations are completely insurmountable ? I say this as I notice that historically, scientists and the like are most eager to use the "impossible" stamp, only to take it back in the future due to some unprecedented workaround or something - such as parallel computing moving the upper limit of computation speed in computers, or the "impossible" sound barrier simply being broken. What I know for damn sure is that there's no way scientists know everything about information processing, sensing abilities and information storage at this time, much as they might like to think they do. What I'm saying is that the way in which we approach these problems, and the technologies implemented, will almost certainly end up changing in time as old methods are superceded - and who can say what this will mean for "absolute limits" calculated based upon the current paradigm.
For instance, (I could have the wrong end of the stick) I notice that in the commonly available explanation of quantum uncertainty, the provided analogy goes something like this:....Supposing you want to measure 2 different aspects of a system for a calculation requiring 2 measurements...blah'd have to shoot a proton at.....blah blah.....then by the time the second measurement is taken......blah blah....this and that changed, measurements out of step, incalculable.
So, because we can't think of a way of doing it right this second, it can't be done, therefore absolute uncertainty exists. It seems to me that this assumes an invasive method of measurement, linear and constantly progressing time, etc....etc...

It certainly cannot be said that these things will always be out of our control.
In fact the whole idea of probability becomes null if time manipulation becomes possible!


PS If you know of any good internet resources on the reasons given for these upper limits, I'd be extremely interested to have a look!