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These creatures have the ability to see all possible outcomes within their vicinity within the next 30 minutes or so.

This is not the same as foreknowledge that they have no choice over. Even if they foreknew that they will die the next day, they could not escape it. If they could escape it, it wouldn't have been actual foreknowledge because it didn't actually happen. This is the difference. The ability is that they know what would happen IF they were to do this, and something else would happen IF they weren't to do it. So, they can't predict it like it's their absolute fate, they just know what happens as a consequence of their actions, whether they choose to do something or nothing. It's much like what Dr. Strange did in Avengers Infinity War with the time stone, but with a much more limited range of time.

This means that they will know if humans are going to hunt them down in the next 30 mins and are going to hide and are capable of not leaving any trace. Of course they won't, because they can predict what happens if they do leave a trace. It's part of their ability. They can still be found by people who don't have any intention of hunting them down. That's because they already predicted it to be safe.

How do you catch creatures like this? Even if people have no intention to catch them and later change their mind will be part of their prediction, so they will choose to hide long before. This is a medieval fantasy setting, by the way, if that helps.

EDIT: To answer the comment below about the limitations of their "vicinity", it's wherever they currently are and will be in the next 30 mins. So if they can travel 1 mile in 30 minutes, the predictions will include what happens 1 mile from where they are now. But they cannot see what happens in the other side of the world, where they can never reach within 30 mins.

I also see suggestions of 30+ minutes of running or 30+ minutes of crossing traps. The problem with those is that they can already see the 30+ minutes of using precious energy and not seeing results of using the energy. These are wild animals that also need to look for food. Investing in that much energy when they don't even know what for or whether they can finish it is not a very good option for them. They would prefer waiting in a safe place. Some animals in the real world stop trying pretty often. These precog creatures have the advantage of not even needing to try.

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    $\begingroup$ This is The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick. You cannot catch it against creature will. Catching it would means the creature wanted that. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Sep 27 at 8:09
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    $\begingroup$ Invite them to run through a tube that will take them 31 minutes to traverse. At 30 minutes, or when they turn around because they foresaw, close off both ends. $\endgroup$ – Adam Barnes Sep 27 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ What's the limits on their vicinity? It seems like these creatures would constantly be anticipating all kinds of low-risk things that could happen to them that come from just outside their limit; eg., the possibility of a sniper shooting from outside their vicinity would make them think a bullet entering their vicinity from any direction equally likely, so there wouldn't be a sense of which way to dodge until the bullet is on its way. Since you can't operate in life if you're constantly worried you're about to die, it seems these creatures need to know which outcomes are actually likely. $\endgroup$ – Davy M Sep 27 at 16:42
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    $\begingroup$ @AdamBarnes wouldn't they much prefer a future 30 mins of not being in a tube? 30 mins of traversing and not being able to get out yet is suspicious. $\endgroup$ – brendt Sep 27 at 22:43
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    $\begingroup$ This question brought to you by the movie "NEXT"... $\endgroup$ – Harper Sep 28 at 2:55

14 Answers 14

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In the end, any predators must be able to outwit these creatures. This would come in the form of planning further ahead than the creatures can see their consequences.

Say, for example, one has a nesting point in a landscape where this creature lives. At any point in time, the creature can tell whether they will be trapped within the next thirty minutes.

The trick is to allow no possibility of escape thirty minutes before the beast is likely to become trapped. If the creature is restricted to movement on land and is, for example, surrounded by mountainous regions, the creature could be encircled in such a wide radius that it can only tell that a part of their escape is blocked if at all, likely resulting in little to no action.

Once the creature is fully surrounded it can no longer escape, and the predators surrounding the creature can slowly advance.


An alternative method would be drugging the animals with slow poisons.

If the river or a source of food is poisoned with any concoction that has no detectable effects until thirty minutes have passed (for example a slow-to-digest food containing poison in the centre), the creature will realise it's fate has been sealed.

It may try to escape in a panic, and skilled hunters will be able to track it down.


A third option, assuming the creature loses this ability while asleep, is simply attacking by night (or by day if the creature is nocturnal).

If the creature experiences sleep paralysis it will be unable to react should it be woken.

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    $\begingroup$ Note that Option 1 and Option 2 were the methods Ferris planned on using to capture Nicholas Cage's precog in Next. Once she figured out that his limitation was being able to see about two minutes into the future, she arranged for her agents to set up a perimeter and did it far enough away there was no way he'd be able to know about it until 2 minutes before he ran into it, at which point there was no way to avoid it. She also tried to convince the woman with him to drug him. $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Sep 27 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ @KeithMorrison Thank you, I was not aware of the fact. $\endgroup$ – A Lambent Eye Sep 27 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ @ALambentEye Its a great movie, I recommend it. $\endgroup$ – Draco18s Sep 28 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ Please note this answer works with a dumb enough and helpless enough creature, but try it with a Rhino and you're gonna regret it. If there's a remote chance of the take-down encounter going against you, it will go against you. $\endgroup$ – Joshua Sep 29 at 3:55
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    $\begingroup$ Against a critter with a half-hour-deep probability stack to fall back on? Even a precognitive rabbit would be worse than the vorpal bunny... $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Sep 29 at 21:56
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You could actually catch it with endurance. A theorized hunting strategy used by early humans, to catch prey that was faster and more maneuverable than us was to simply keep tracking it. Sure it runs away, but give it 10-15 min and we'll have found it again, leaving the prey with limited to no time to rest, eat, and drink. Eventually the prey will be too tired to run or fight back and easy to catch / kill.

As an example, a cheetah can run 112 km/h (70 mph), but only for a very short time before it needs to rest for ½ hour. That's at most a couple hundred meters every ½ hour, easy for any human to catch up to it before it can move again.

Doesn't matter if the animal knows you're coming, it can run if it wants, but it'll tire long before we do.

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    $\begingroup$ Good one. It's always worth remembering that humans have incredible endurance, among other animals. $\endgroup$ – Fattie Sep 27 at 16:17
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    $\begingroup$ We can't chase them if we don't even know where they are. But thanks for the answer. I can surely use that info. $\endgroup$ – brendt Sep 28 at 1:57
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    $\begingroup$ Persistence hunting is a real technique, practised by the San people in the Kalahari, and the Rarámuri people of Northwestern Mexico. $\endgroup$ – CSM Sep 28 at 21:57
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    $\begingroup$ The problem with this is that the critter can see that running leads only to more running... but fighting can lead to an elimination of the threat. Which do you think sounds like a better idea? $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Sep 29 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ @MontyWild An animal that can successfully fight a hunter will unlikely evolve precog abilities. Evolving precog abilities suggest that the animal survives by avoiding hunters $\endgroup$ – slebetman Sep 30 at 7:32
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Make Them Want It

As you mentioned in a comment, if the creature is caught then they wanted that. So... make them want it!

This could be achieved in a number of ways of varying difficulty (you don't mention if they walk, run, slide, fly, crawl, etc), but in general here are some ways of making a creature want captivity:

  • Destroy their food supply. If they foresee that they're starving, but being captured means instant access to food and care (at least for 30 minutes), then out of desperation to survive they'll eventually give in.
  • Introduce threats and rewards. Make captivity look great. Make their current live look miserable. Introduce more predators, toss diseases into the water, whatever. This is important: precisely because they can see all future outcomes, the more of those outcomes look miserable, the more stressed and desperate they become. Just because you can see the future doesn't mean you stop having emotions! For rewards, Whatever the creature wants, offer it to them. Food, pampering, their own internal heated cave. The more captivity looks like a delicious, forbidden fruit, then over time the stress of day-to-day life will wear them down until they finally try out that nice offer.
  • If sentient, brainwash and send captured creatures back. Having another creature go back and recruit their friends / family into your "community" is a great way to build a cult.... er.... "recruit sentient, foreseeing creatures to submit to you willingly"
  • Get them high... and addicted. Leave their preferred food supply around with some sweet, delicious, addicting drug all over it. They'll foresee the pleasant feelings of that first high - that might make them want it even more! Keep giving it away freely. Once they're clearly addicted, start restricting supply. Eventually they'll cave in because being in captivity with their addiction met will be more desirable than the sobriety of their normal lives.
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    $\begingroup$ "cegfault", as in "segmentation fault"? safe_malloc was a memory batch freeing mechanism. I don't care anymore, though. It's nothing. I got something better. $\endgroup$ – Dehbop Sep 27 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ This'll work... but so will plain old bribery. Living wild is a lot of work... being a pet is luxury. Just don't try to harm them later, that's all too likely to be a fatal mistake. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Sep 29 at 22:06
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The simplest option I can see is a modified strategy for poisoning rats. See, with rats there is usually one that goes and tries any food before the others join in - if the food is poisonous or a trap, only one will die. So, in order to poison a lot of rats, a slow release poison is used - one eats, the others assume it's safe and also eat. Later the poison kills them.

How can this be used against a precog creature? It can see a short time into the future, so if it saw it eats some foods and then falls down (dead or unconscious, depending on how people want it), then it won't eat the food. But if the agent in the food takes longer to kick in, say, about an hour, then by the time the creature knows what would happen, it would be too late. You need a slow acting sedative or poison.

Second, is delivering the tainted food. You can "hire" somebody to just drop it off near where the creature lives. You could give it to a child and say "go put this here and come back" or enlist a passing traveler - anybody, really, who woudn't necessarily know the plan. So, even if the precog creature can see that somebody is going to drop off food, it would also see they won't linger, so it would seem safe.

Finally, you need to go and collect it. I assume the hunters have some knowledge of where creatures like these dwell and where they like to stay. If it prefers caves, they'll have to check caves, if it prefers to hide in holes in the trees, that's their target, etc. But the hunters have to go out about 2-3 hours after the food is delivered. The reason is to avoid the precog window - the sequence of events is roughly the following:

  1. You get somebody to leave the tainted food and get out of the area.
  2. Creature would know somebody is going to drop off some food and leave.
  3. (T-0) The drop is done.
  4. (T+n) Creature eats the food. The agent starts to slowly act for about the next hour or so.
  5. (T+n+30) Creature now knows it is about to fall asleep or die (whatever the agent does). If it tries hiding, it has about 30 minutes left. Even if it doesn't, if it sees somebody coming in to collect it, within that timeframe, it would hide even better and erase their tracks to the best of its ability. So, if it doesn't see anybody coming for it using its precog ability, I assume it would still try to get to something it thinks is a safe place.
  6. (T+n+60) The creature is unconscious or dead.

So, that's why you want to send the hunters to collect it later - after it's incapacitated and cannot use its precog ability. There is a small time factor that's uncertain - the n represents the time from the drop to the creature eating the food. It might take two hours for it to feel peckish enough, and you can't have people with the intent to hunt it around until after it has eaten and the poison has taken effect. You can minimise this n variance by using its precog ability against it - it would know that there would be some food dropped in advance, so if you know when it usually eats, you can time the drop around that time. And since it would see who does the drop, where, and how, as well as how to avoid them, it might even be waiting in a safe place and eat the food immediately after the courier is out of sight. To help get this outcome, you can provide food that the creature likes and it's also a favourite for other creatures around. The precog would prefer to get the food before the others find it.

I also make the assumption that the hunters have enough knowledge to dose the poison correctly to act not too fast and not too slow. The hour mark might vary but they should generally be aware by how much.

If you cannot really control n effectively, then you might need to send out the hunters after half a day or a full day. In that case, if you want the creature dead, that should be fine, but if you want it sleeping/unconscious, the poison might need to be stronger once it takes effect.

At any rate, what you're left with is the hunters going out and checking usual hiding places for the creature. Caves, tree trunks, whatever. Since it didn't even foresee anybody coming for it, there might even be tracks left to guide the search effort.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for not being able to answer your comment on time. I haven't decided the natural habitat yet. But thanks for your answer that expands on the slow poison option. +1 $\endgroup$ – brendt Sep 27 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ The problem is that if the critters are sociable with each other, you may only get one. If some strange food shows up, most likely only one will try it. If it is negatively affected, the rest of its group will never fall for that again - even if they didn't taste or smell the food, they will have considered doing so, and will recognise it in the future. As for the incapacitated/dead critter? If it has friends, the hunter may find himself facing a whole bunch of angry precognitive critters... $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Sep 29 at 22:17
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Make a trap that looks like a safe and inviting place to sleep, and design the trigger so that the trap will not spring until the creature has been sleeping for at least X amount of time.

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    $\begingroup$ Now... how to get them out of the box without getting yourself killed? $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Sep 29 at 22:21
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Do it like computers do. You know why we can't defeat them in chess anymore? Because even if you remove all heuristics and leave only brute forcing algorithms, they are still able to see thousands of moves ahead. They will take you along a route that ends with you losing.

So the creature can see thirty minutes ahead - plan for a trap that will ensnare them in days. Build a tall fence in a very large area around them. I do mean very large area - like a blocks-wide fence. Then start building inner fences. All the creature will be able to see at some point is that they get captured in any future.

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    $\begingroup$ Ah; the depth record for chess programs is only around 20 in the mdigame, but it's enough too much of the time. $\endgroup$ – Joshua Sep 29 at 4:00
  • $\begingroup$ That doesn't stop them from putting up a really good fight... $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Sep 29 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ @MontyWild same with humans when yhey see the consequences of their acts coming. For me it just adda to all the fun. $\endgroup$ – Renan Sep 29 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ So... you fenced yourselves in with a potential murderbeast... That sounds like a recipe for some unacceptable levels of casualties... $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Sep 29 at 16:55
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Encase the entire planet in a shell of any material of your choosing. Congratulations, you’ve just caught them all in the world’s largest pokeball.

Ok, that was a joke, but it serves illustrative purpose. You set up a ring of people/machines/fences way outside their perimeter and then you have them caged. Now you just start reducing the size of the ring. There are dolphins that use this strategy with fish; humans have used it for hunting also. Eventually the cage is small enough to pin them down.

As the planet example shows, there’s always some initial cage size large enough that even if your critters know it is coming, there’s nothing they can do.

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    $\begingroup$ A perimeter takes care of 'flight' options. It doesn't take care of 'fight' options... and a critter like this could go through mere humans like a living death-machine if it has even a slight combat capability. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Sep 29 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ Depends on how the humans are armed. If armed with guns or something requiring aiming, yes, you're right, but if they're carrying just sealed fencing or automated systems that essentially create an uncrossable kill zone, the prediction factor doesn't help. $\endgroup$ – SRM Sep 30 at 15:43
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I know that this question already has an accepted answer, but I just can't help weighing in...

30 minutes of precognition is a truly terrifying thing... and if these critters have had this ability for more than a few generations, they will have evolved to take advantage of it.

How would they evolve? Surely precognition means that they don't have to? Well... everything that reproduces itself evolves, and a critter like this will evolve to give it the most valuable things it could possibly have: Options and offspring.

Regardless of its starting point, whether that be a mouse or a moose, a lizard or a lion, once it gains precognition, it will evolve to become more of a generalist, and it will become smarter. A mouse would evolve to become bigger, stronger, smarter, and better able to fight. A lion would probably become smaller but smarter, no longer a creature of brute strength, but one capable of far more subtlety. A moose would evolve to be smaller and smarter, and a lizard would evolve to be bigger and smarter. What if it's a bird... say, a duck? It too would evolve to give it more options. Obviously flight is a major option for a bird... but a precognitive duck would likely evolve a sharper beak and bigger talons alongside its bigger brain. The most terrifying option for this creature's progenitor would be some sort of monkey... they're already reasonably smart, so they would need only a moderate body size and sharp claws and fangs.

Of course, this critter would continue to evolve its precognition. It may have started out as flashes that extended only a few moments into the future, but that would be enough to give it a significant advantage, and if it has evolved to be half an hour, that suggests a considerable amount of evolution already.

So... whatever the creature, it will likely range in size from a kitten to around human-sized. It will likely have sharp teeth or a sharp beak and claws or some other natural weapons like hooves and horns. It will likely be - or at least be on its way to becoming - an omnivore. If it's non-precognitive ancestors were r-strategists, it could be well on its way to becoming a K-strategist, as precognition makes for great parenting.

With an entire half-hour of precognition, these critters wouldn't be particularly rare if they had any amount of evolution behind them, but they would be rarely seen. Knowing when you're sufficiently well hidden is a great advantage.

So... if a critter like this was to be encountered by humans, whether modern or primitive, it would quickly gain a reputation for being elusive, since not being seen by humans is a good survival strategy, as well as gaining a reputation for being very dangerous - if the critter can't hide, and can't run, then it had better put up the best fight it can. These critters would likely be fairly aggressive too. Humans, if sufficiently fit, are persistence hunters par excellence. Few if any creatures that have ever evolved can match a human for the ability to cover ground rapidly over long distances on foot. So, if one of these critters was to be seen by a human and pursued (and couldn't just fly away), it would likely end up badly for the critter... which is why it wouldn't likely run at all. It may not be able to foresee its death at the moment it considers flight as an option, but it would be able to foresee having run for an entire half-hour, and it could also consider other options, such as fighting or hiding. If it knew that hiding would fail, it could put up a very good fight indeed.

If it came to a fight between a human and one of these critters... or even multiple humans against one of these critters, the humans would want to be armoured like knights in full plate armour. The critter might be the size of a rabbit... it might even have evolved from a rabbit... but fighting it would be like fighting the Rabbit of Caerbannog from Monty Python and the Holy Grail... without the option of lobbing a grenade at it, since it would be able to foresee that, and adjust appropriately. With halfway decent natural weapons, every member of this species would be able to employ them with a skill in excess of that of any master martial artist. Humans are thin-skinned, and these creatures could unerringly target vital points, dashing in, dodging any attempt at blocking or attacking made by the humans, and then leaving wounds that just happen to open major blood vessels, or disembowel the hunter, or one of any number of other disastrous occurrences. Even if the humans were wielding firearms, the outcome would likely be bad for the hunters... the critter would likely recognise firearms for what they are, and would either dodge every shot, or potentially attack in such a way that the humans would shoot each other.

Finally, stealth is unlikely to work against one of these critters. Yes, it may work defensively, but offensively? It'll foresee you coming half an hour out.

So... how can humans capture such a formidable foe?

There are suggestions that they could be fenced in... but if the area about to be enclosed is insufficiently large to accommodate the critter, it's likely to be smart enough to realise, and the odds of it breaking out of the enclosure increase to a near-certainty just prior to the effective completion of the enclosure.

Regardless of any other strategy, fighting one of these critters is a pretty much suicidal tactic for any single or even multiple would-be hunters.

Then there's poison or drugs... these have a pretty good chance to work if they take effect slowly enough, but a critter like this is likely to have evolved to be suspicious, and like a rat, is unlikely to simply chow down on any free meal that has no reason to be where it is. Additionally, if one critter samples a bait and succumbs, any other critters who had been considering sampling it will avoid it, and will likely recognise the danger in the future, since they can foresee what something will taste or smell like without having to actually taste or smell it unless it doesn't seem dangerous.

However, the most likely option to 'capture' one of these critters is domestication. As shown, hostile intent toward one of these critters is not likely to end well at all, but their precognition is likely to make them more domesticatable than their precursor species. If approached in a friendly manner, one of these critters would be able to foresee any future hostility, as well as future enticements. Their precognition would give them a confidence that other creatures their size would not possess. While it might begin cautiously, only accepting a tiny amount of the offered treats until it was sure that it was innocuous, it would likely be relatively quickly domesticated. However, it would be inadvisable to attempt to harm the critter once domesticated - it would still foresee the attack coming well in advance, and either hide, run away or preempt the attack with one of it's own. You needn't worry about your kids hurting it - it would know when they were planning something, and would be able to avoid or avert it... most kids are smart enough to realise that when they so much as contemplate doing something that the companion critter might not like and they then get growled at, it isn't likely to work out well.

There would be considerable advantages in domesticating such a critter. The critter gains an easy, plentiful food supply and a safe place to live, and in return is likely to be an excellent guardian, protecting its human companions and their property. In a modern paradigm, if you had a companion critter, you would be well advised to travel with it... it would be able to foresee potential accidents well in advance, so if you're driving and your critter companion starts to get insistent that you stop or divert, doing so could save your life. Critters would be welcome on board aircraft, since if they began to act up, it would be a strong indicator of an upcoming disaster, and at the very least, they would allow the pilot the time to prepare to ditch the aircraft as safely as possible.

There could be other benefits too... imagine that you're browsing in a shopping mall, and your companion critter suddenly leaves and begins to threaten - or simply slaughters - a harmless-looking guy with a backpack... but when the cops investigate, they find that the guy was a potential suicide bomber or gunman, and the backpack was full of the guy's weapon(s) of choice...

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    $\begingroup$ How could you decide on an evolutionary option only 30 minutes before it takes effect? $\endgroup$ – NieDzejkob Sep 29 at 20:19
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    $\begingroup$ @NieDzejkob They don't decide... but evolution will favour the members of their species which have more options, more brains, and a deeper precognitive stack... and ultimately more surviving offspring. About the only way you'll catch one of these critters through hostile action is if it is sacrificing itself so that its offspring will survive. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Sep 29 at 22:36
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    $\begingroup$ An interesting take on the problem, but perfect information is not the same as perfect execution. People fail at e.g. guitar Hero all the time. The critter would have to be way smarter than anything we know, inlcuding humans, to get the sequence and timing of every move in a 30 minute sequence just right. $\endgroup$ – Ruther Rendommeleigh Sep 30 at 9:51
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    $\begingroup$ @RutherRendommeleigh, Perfect information includes the probability of imperfect execution. During critical periods, the critters would be following down paths of probability that maximise their chances of survival and escape. There may be uncertainties here and there, things that they could try that may not work, as well as the consequence of failure. Hence they are unlikely to try anything particularly difficult unless the consequences of not trying at all are equal to or worse than the consequences of trying and failing. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Oct 1 at 1:19
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    $\begingroup$ They constantly map probability space out to a half-hour in the future. The path they take is that which will give them the greatest ultimate probability of survival/escape at the end of that half-hour, and to minimise the probability of permanent injury or death. Yes, there may be risks, but the critters can foresee the best risks to take. If the critter attacks a human, it's because its other options are worse, and the way it does so will be in a way that minimises it's risk while maximising it's chances of survival. While they can fail discrete steps, total failure is unlikely. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Oct 1 at 1:31
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How to catch creatures that can predict the next few minutes?

I'm glad people reference The Golden Man but some of them are missing a point about why he "wanted" to be captured. Sure he wanted to live while all other choices killed him within 30 minutes but this leaves a fairly obvious alternative that's a bit glaring in it's absence.

Figure out a trap it won't notice until it's been in it more than 30 minutes.

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These creatures can predict the future, but they cant necessarily leave no trace at all.

TL,DR: you have to limit the options the creature has to fight or escape, and make use of your own capabilities versus those of the creature to catch it. Just because the creature knows the future does not mean it can pull off anything needed to get to safety! Like climb sheer cliffs or run faster or dodge arrows perfectly. I can know perfectly well when someone will fire an arrow and where it'll travel but that does not guarantee my safety.

Long version:

Imagine these creatures stuck on a large flat plane and he knows a human will arrive to hunt him soon. He could hide in the sparse foliage but the human has seen some of his tracks and is following it so the creature's only choice is to run. But no matter how long or far it runs the human is a HUMAN, endurance and constantly following a creature on open plains is kind of its thing. So all options lead to the creatures death in many cases. This is key: limiting the options.

Then there's smart hunting. If you know the creatures limit you can set a timer for a bit more than half an hour. In that half hour you start feeding it and caring for it, making the creature come to you. Naturally it also sees options that if it suddenly runs the human might harm it, but why would it run it sees a full 30 minutes of care and food! But after 10 minutes of being fed and cared for the creature sees the human will suddenly kill it... except that the creature is now in the hands of a human looking for the moment the creature will run, and at that exact moment the human will strike. The amount of options the creature has are now limited, and even knowing the future does not allow the creature to suddenly pull off a tripple handstand with a twist to get away as it is still limited in its capabilities. So the human has leveled the playingfield. While the creature sees the things it has to do to escape, it does not necessarily mean it can successfully do them.

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  • $\begingroup$ So what happens when it sees the human will kill it and draws up to fight said human focusing its precog down to find the moves that dodge the blows from the human while getting in some itself? $\endgroup$ – Joshua Sep 29 at 4:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Joshua then the creature will know what to do... but he does not have a 100% guarantee that it'll succeed. With its ability to avoid combat and having to run its unlikely it'll be as fit and capable as the human and this will limit its options to fight or flee. Yes the precog has a very large advantage in seeing the future, but this is in no way a guarantee it will succeed in following that future. $\endgroup$ – Demigan Sep 29 at 5:47
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    $\begingroup$ A critter like this may have only moderate combat abilities in the absence of precognition, but with them, fighting it would be like fighting a top-ranking martial artist. It might be able to cripple or kill literally dozens of humans in a stand-up fight. If it runs... it sees more running. If it fights, it sees a lot of dead humans, and survivors who won't try to keep fighting for fear for their own lives. Which do you think that it would choose? $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Sep 29 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ @MontyWild in that case it can see itself fly away from any danger as well. Because if he can see the future and always 100% execute it perfectly as a top-ranking martial arts person even though he has no evolutionary training or reason to develop this as he can avoid fights and few creatures would develop this hunting system then he can envision impossible futures as well and execute them equally well (now to read the original question and see if it changed and if that's the reason why people think that "cant magically execute everything" isnt a proper answer) $\endgroup$ – Demigan Sep 29 at 20:00
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    $\begingroup$ To someone hunting a precognitive critter, they'll seem to do some utterly wierd things. Critter enters clearing where bait awaits, rolls an apple a couple of yards from where it sits, drags a fallen branch a bit closer to the bait, stops and poops, then digs a small hole before tucking in. Hunters attack, to find that during the fight, one of them twists an ankle on the apple, another trips in the hole, and the branch lets the critter make a better jump toward the last hunter's neck... Why the poop? If its leap at the last hunter's neck failed, he would step back and slip on it instead... $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Sep 29 at 21:25
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It doesn't mean that if a creature has perfect knowledge of the future it is also able to choose its most favorable path or that a favorable path actually exists.
(I will not elaborate on paradoxes, as those could violate the premise of perfect knowledge)

You have to make sure no favorable paths exist for the creature.
You could make an attack on the creature where you eliminate all favorable paths, making a trade off between collateral damage and accuracy, but accuracy probably requires more patience.

Collateral damage:
Dropping a bomb with a large enough blast radius doesn't allow the creature to run. As soon as the creature becomes aware the bomb will fall, getting to safety is no longer an option.
Accuracy:
You don't even need a blast radius spanning the total area the creature can run to in 30 minutes if you can accurately hit anything within that area with a bullet at any given time. Just wait until the creature is deep enough inside the area and then start a timer of 30 minutes before actually striking.

If you want to catch the creature rather than kill it, you could replace the bomb with a gas cloud that would render the creature unconscious, making it unable to resist you capturing it.


Depending on the setting you could add flavor on this idea:

  • A bio-weapon could be created for that specific creature while being harmless for others. Then it could be detonated in a large area without causing collateral damage.
  • An advanced AI could target an entire area while having the ability to accurately hitting any single target.
  • A hunter could track the creature for a long time before actually striking. The creature would only see actually striking as harmful, so by the time the creature is aware of any danger, there is no escape possible.
  • You could start a big fire that fatigues the creature trying to escape it. The most favorable path seen by the creature is being rescued by you instead of dying in the fire. By the time the creature realizes it is actually being captured near the edge of the fire, it would be too weak to run away or resist.
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Just be Nice to It

Most animals will never trust a hunter enough to let him put it in a cage because they don't know what the hunter will do next. If this animals sees this hunter giving it food and water and scratching it behind the ears for the next 30 minutes, then it will gladly run straight into the hunter's arms. The hunter does not even need to track it down. The animal will track down the hunter. It will foresee that hunter will bring it to a comfortable place where it can sleep in safety, it trusts the hunter because it "knows" it can trust the hunter.

Then, it will wake up an hour later realizing it's trapped in this comfortable room about to be slaughtered with nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, and no way to fight back.

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  1. Create a dependency loop which those creatures wouldn't be able to resolve.

That is, set up a situation which would involve two such creatures. Such that the best course of actions for creature A would depend on (yet indetermined!) action chosen by creature B, and the best course of actions for creature B would depend on just as indetermined action of creature A.

In other words make the future depend on two unpredictable factors (actions of creature A and B), while leaving one of this factors out of control of each creature.


  1. Choose the weakest
    Do they have full control over this ability the moment they are born? Supposing they need some parenting and training to develop this ability, hunters could try luck with the untrained ones. On the same note, this ability could diminish when a creature is sick.

  2. Embark on a long programme to domesticate them.
    Start feeding them, kind of thing; no strings attached. They will see no direct immediate danger, but they can't read your mind to see how it's going to change things in a few generations. Your question doesn't set any time limit, after all...

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the Worldbuilding Stack Exchange! That is indeed a good answer, but could you provide an example for your case? I see the logic, but fail imagine an implementation of this logic. Otherwise keep up the good work! $\endgroup$ – A Lambent Eye Sep 29 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ @ALambentEye, thank you for the welcome words! As for the practical application of the logic - I'm striving to come up with a surecase implementation, but hasn't find anything reliable yet. Though, I'm not giving up :- ) $\endgroup$ – Igor G Sep 29 at 21:55
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    $\begingroup$ That would be unlikely to work... each critter could foresee the potential actions that the other might take. If they are social with each other, they will both take the actions which will give the greatest benefit to them both... unless the death or capture of one is a certainty, in which case the one of least value to their group will be sacrificed, but if there is the remotest possibility of both surviving, they'll go for it. If not social, they'll still cooperate, but prioritise their own survival. Only by guaranteeing that only the other will survive could you get one or both. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Sep 29 at 22:56
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A very large circular fence that slowly reduces in size

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    $\begingroup$ While this is technically a valid answer, you should expand your point to at least a paragraph or two of explanation. One-line answers are generally frowned upon on SE sites. $\endgroup$ – Gryphon - Reinstate Monica Sep 28 at 6:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Gryphon I don't care :-) The guy needed an answer. Job done. $\endgroup$ – Sentinel Sep 28 at 10:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Gryphon There are people on SE who consider the whole voting, "best answer", and reputation points thing is just a silly game. (And the silliest part is that some people get very very serious about it!) $\endgroup$ – alephzero Sep 28 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ The scope of SE is providing good quality answers. One liners are not considered good quality. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Sep 29 at 3:41
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    $\begingroup$ I wouldn't say this is "job done". You need to explain, for starters, how you'd be able to set up such a fence around the creatures without them predicting it and being able to escape it. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Sep 30 at 12:13

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