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What would society be like if humans had imagination-based precognition?

Humans can predict the result of any action that they can think of as long as it is possible. The prediction works from the idea that no one else predicts things for the duration.

For example, thinking: "If I walk 10 meters into the ocean" does not result in an answer. because it is impossible to walk into the ocean for that distance."

However, "What would my life be like if I marry you?" would result in an answer that would be invalid after anyone else enters into the result that is received.

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  • $\begingroup$ How is that any different than what we have? Many have the ability to imagine what would happen if the universe did exactly what they imagined it to. Science literally does it every day. It's how we deal with the errors in our predictive capacity that makes it useful, because it lets our imagined world roll with the punches as reality interferes. This is a good thing, of course, because the ability to predict exactly what people would do in a situation would have serious implications on the concept of freewill. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Sep 24 '15 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ I think you may be generalizing a bit much. According to this nautical chart, you can be ~1.8 km off shore (in some places) and still be in 1-meter-deep water. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Sep 24 '15 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ James P. Hogan wrote a novel about this. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Mar 28 '16 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz - Which one? He's written so many... $\endgroup$ – Malady Mar 29 '16 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ amazon.com/Moon-Flower-James-P-Hogan/dp/141655534X "Moon Flower" $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Mar 30 '16 at 8:34
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Knowledge acquisition goes through the roof

Science fiction writers would be very valuable because their imaginations are quite strong. Imagining if we can build an FTL spaceship will quickly yield an answer. Questions about how to build that FTL spaceship will also yield immediate answers. This pattern of imagining "can I do/build/see/experience this thing?" will have a lot of unexpected results.

Scientists win!

Relieving scientists and engineers from the burden of experimentation, gives them far more ability to rapidly acquire knowledge. It would be golden age. An example of what this might be like how Sparks operate in Girl Genius. Their fanciful inventions just work, the first time, all the time.

Terrorists win!

Zealous but stupid terrorists will have the plans handed to them on how to carry out the crazed musing of their inner demons. If it's not possible to achieve their goals, they may give up or they may just go out in a blaze of glory. Or, they'll hunt around for new goals that are possible and execute those.

Religion struggles

Religion often makes assertions about how the world works. For the most part, these claims aren't verifiable but with imagination-based precog, they are. Say a Muslim terrorist dreams of 72 virgins then finds that the dream is impossible. Does he keep fighting? A Christian dreams they will go to heaven if they give away all their money. Now they know. A Buddhist dreams of meeting Buddha and finds that's impossible, what then?

Knowing that something is possible is a huge motivation to go do it. The movie "Meet the Robinsons" is an excellent illustration of this principle. Once something can be done, it's easier for other people to follow suit and duplicate it.

Ultimately...

This is ability is Worldbuilding in real life with a perpetual tag on it.

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If it is possible to predict the results of scientific experiments without carrying them out, scientific development would be at peak real soon. Thought experiments would be worth real laboratory experiments.

Also, gambling on race horses and sports matches would be no more. Most transport vehicle accidents would be prevented (those perpetrated by other people would still occur). Also it would be possible to find the best sites for construction projects etc would be very easily.

The world on the whole would probably be very fragile as all the overlapping interests would be already known and there would be tremendous competition for the same thing/person/location etc.

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