Things are starting to heat up in Steins;Gate, which up until this point has been pretty heat-free. We have enjoyed watching Hououin hit on Kurisu, and Daru be a horrible internet nerd, but now it is time for Hououin to take up the mantle of destiny, become who he was born to be, and lead John Titor’s people out of slavery into the promised land. They’re pretty far from having a functioning time transporter, but that really, really, really doesn’t matter. People want to go back in time, but that’s foolish, it’s like sending people to Mars, or working in an office. You guys! Telecommute. It’s easier to move bits than it is to move your fat ass. Maybe if you stopped drinking so much Dr. Pepper it would be easier to squeeze you down to an infinitesimal point black hole to throw you back in time without turning you into a jellyperson, but that’s beside the point. DREAM – Data Rules Everything Around Me. As Pravin Lal said in critically-acclaimed SF strategy game Alpha Centauri, “Free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.” Information is an amazing weapon, and I hope our heroes do not overlook it in favor of moving gross physical objects through time as we enter episode 8 of Steins;Gate.
…thirty minutes pass…
My face when I'm told that my nuclear bomb test started a self-sustaining nitrogen fusion reaction and will destroy all life on earth.
Please! You guys! Use time travel responsibly! I sort of feel like the scare you had earlier in the episode (pictured above), where you thought you had accidentally killed your bigtitted friend whose name I do not recall, should have led you to be a little more cautious. Sending a message back in time seventeen years?!? Are you out of your mind? Do you know how many ripples that will create, how much chaos you are inviting into history? How many of the people you’ve met, how many of the inventions you’ve created could not have been thrown off-track over the course of seventeen goddamn years? I mean, I can sympathize, it was the heartfelt plea of a pretty boy in a short skirt, but come on. Safety first.
How would you safely experiment with time? Well, there’s no real way to be absolutely safe, but one good place to start is, no sending stuff back to before you built the time machine itself. If you accidentally destroy the time machine with your careless meddling, it will be harder to fix your mistakes. Secondly, come up with a code for identifying time-travel messages, and only send them to people who know the code. This will keep the messages from confusing people. It will eat into your extremely limited bit budget, but you might actually save bits because you won’t have to worry about making the message persuasive. A message from your future self is automatically persuasive.
Uh. Thinking adversarially, here, for a second, that’s probably a little dangerous. What if CERN tortures you for the code? What if Makise Kurisu shouts the code for every passerby to hear, because that is the sort of walking security hole she is? That might be a risk we have to take, I’m pretty sure we don’t have the bits to implement an actual good security system. Well, you could send a “disregard all future messages” message… except “future” isn’t really a meaningful concept here. I guess you send the message “hey never mind” to immediately after you work out the code, so if CERN tries to send a faked message before or after it you won’t give it any special privilege.