I actually had been thinking of posting a groundhogs day question the same day that Tomorrow is Groundhog Day... For everyone. How does society respond? was first posted ironically, it's a sign!
In my scenario assume someone was thrust into your standard groundhog day loop, repeating a single day over and over. They are an average joe, or perhaps a little smarter and better off then average (say upper-middle class), but not rich or possessing of special traits or skills, and they had not planned to start the groundhog day loop before it happened. They have determined the cause of the groundhogs day loop and now believe they could stop it on any day. Once they exit the loop they will never be able to re-enter a new one.
So, how does one exploit the loop they are in before ending it? Specifically say that this person's primary goals are to help others. He is not a saint, and would appreciate and do anything to improve his own quality of life (and I'm interested in approaches he can take here), but he is mostly interested in helping others by using this unique opportunity.
He has the advantage that he can choose which day he exits the loop near the end of the day. Thus he can try for a 'perfect' day and if something does work out keep repeating until it does before exiting.
Now lets apply a few limitations
- He is pragmatic and willing to bend a few rules for the sake of the greater good, but he is still restricted by moral views. He does not want to lie or manipulate others (using his 'psychic' future predicting powers) unless there is a major and immediate good.
- He is not certain what happens if he dies, but he is not guaranteed to come back to life next loop. Thus he is not going to take any absurd risks
- He will not repeat an infinite number of loops. The constant repeating of the same day without progress can grow repetitive and eventually drive one insane if done enough. In addition he is worried about 'forgetting' seemingly silly things. He may have seen someone chronologically 2 days ago; but after 50 subjective years of groundhogs day repeating he could forget the face of his own girlfriend he saw 'yesterday' etc. Thus he can not an will not repeat forever to master every skill in the world etc. He is willing to do many repeats, and in fact could experience subjective years, but only so long as he feels he is making clear progress. Any idea that takes many subjective years to work towards should include things he can do to help him feel like he is making progress and keep sane through the efforts.
- He has an average to slightly below-average memory. He will be limited on how many facts he can remember each day, unless he spends a good amount of time training himself to memorize those facts and repeating them to himself every few days to reconfirm them.
- He would prefer to go back to a normal life after this is all over if possible. He does not particularly want publicity and, while willing to tolerate it, particularly in the short term, does not want to be some media sensation. He would prefer to find approaches that don't draw long term attention, and particularly avoid doing anything that can't be explained by him being at the right place or dumb luck, if he can avoid it. He is, however, willing to draw more attention if it does enough good to justify it.
- He is no older then 30, with decent savings and is a quick learner, but is not a genius, has no super powered friends, and generally is not going to be able to call in favors or use any political power to make something happen on a given day. I don't care what his job is, so it's acceptable to suggest he has a job or skill that would be useful so long it's not a particular rare job/skill and a 'normal' person could be expected to have it.
The original groundhogs day suggested doing small things around your town, by finding out exactly where you had to be to be at the right place at the right time. I don't think this was looking far enough. With the ability to know practically anything about the world you want a day in advance, enough time to plan out and even try multiple options before picking the right one, and the ability to retry crazy one-in-a-dozen potential outcomes until they work out surely a far larger amount of good could be done. Were not limited to local good either, improving the lives of some stranger in China is just as good as that of his neighbor if he can do it.
What are some viable options to exploit the groundhogs day loop to improve quality of life?
I'll throw out one option now, win the lottery. He can win one, or multiple lotteries at the end of the loop, perhaps even plan out which to win to get the most money with the least attention. Maybe he buys scratch off cards that he has determined are winners (from trial and error) all on one day and cashes them in over years so as not to draw as much attention. He could also take all his money and gamble it at a casino in an all-or-nothing gamble and keep trying till he doubles or quadruples his money.
This money could then all be donated to efficient charities. He would be 'stealing' the money from those who would win it, but he will use it to do more good then the other winners would.
He could also try to find disasters he can warn others about to avoid them happening. No 9/11 or Chernobyl style disasters occur on that day; but surely some smaller disasters would occur around the world ever day. With time perhaps he could find out many of these 'smaller' disasters, where 'only' a few dozen to a few hundred die, and figure out who to call in an anonymous warning to in order to avoid them? Though I'm not sure how he would find any that aren't reported on his local news?
What other ways can he make large scale improvements, or small scale improvements with minimal effort (so he can do many at once).