Today is the Edge of Tomorrow…

Edge of Tomorrow

Recently I had the chance to see the new Tom Cruise movie which is out titled “Edge of Tomorrow” and it got me thinking in a quantum sense. Now in all fairness I am going to warn you up front of a spoiler alert. While it isn’t my intent to go deeply into the overall plot of the movie. To make the analogies to support my point I will have to share several key spoilers of the storyline so be forewarned if you read on.

The premiss which caught my attention was a plot sequence involving the lead character Major William Cage (played by Tom Cruise) where, while killing an alien he is covered in its blood and from that point on , upon his death the day is “reset”. While this might sound a bit like the classic movie Ground Hog Day, the difference is for Bill Murray was that the “day” itself restarted each day and was limited to one day. However for Cruise’s character it only “resets” at his death meaning so long as he lives the arrow of time moves forward be it minutes, hours or days.

With this there were two interesting parts from a thought experiment side. The first being that the Cruise character Cage got to see the “future” and quickly discovered this was the aliens advantage as if there was a negative outcome of a battle (for the aliens) they simply rewound time and did it over again until the outcome resulted in one which was favorable to them (the aliens). The second is that no one was aware of this “reset” so they simply existed within the loop unknowingly repeatedly both living and dying.

Yet, it was this first point which reminded me of Schrödinger’s Cat where the cat in the scenario is said to be both alive and dead until the point the box is opened and the result observed. The thought experiment which ran through my head as a result of the movie, was this was a loop which was playing though for the cat in the box repeatedly much like it was for Major Cage in the movie. As in my original view [of Schrödinger’s Cat] there was a [static] duality in the box where the cat was both alive and dead simultaneously.

However the movies plot concept changed this thinking as it made me realize there is more to it than just is the cat alive or dead (in fairness I thought of it more in the way of the double slit experiment in absolutes). As there are (and not to sound morbid) other factors to consider in the cat scenario. Such as how long did it take for the cat to die, which organs failed first and so on. In other words there is a sequence of events which happen to either which leads to the cat demise or survival.

This is what was happening to Cruise’s character in the movie as keep in mind when there was a “reset” (i.e. Cage would die), time went back to “zero” so in fact while all of these scenario’s happen in a “serial” fashion they were all in the same “space” of time which got me to thinking about Schrödinger’s box itself.

As what if you opened it 10 times, would the cat be alive 5 and dead 5 (as the poison has a 50/50 chance of releasing)? Or would it be asymmetrical as possibly you open the box before the cat expires changing the outcome? Also say the prior scenario where to happen [i.e. the cat live], would this not be luck? As think about it this way, all of these scenarios are happening in the same space of time, or simultaneously (at least in appearance) so the “realized” outcome would only occur at the moment it was observed. In other words, luck (good or bad) would be a result of the time the observance took place.

Moving to the second observation is the people other than Cage were unaware of the loop either existing or that there were various out comes. So in essence Schrödinger’s Box isn’t “limited”, it in fact is “unlimited” and the world we exist in today could be metaphorically viewed as in that “box”. Therefore is a the manifestation of “luck” simply that of the time of observation? If so, what determines the time of observation of that “time” over another?

In other words, lets say we are playing Black Jack and the dealer asks you if you want to be hit. Will the resulting card be different if you wait 3 second for the hit rather than 10 seconds? Now I know this sounds a bit outlandish, however if you think about it, it is really no different from the case of Schrödinger’s Cat as its state is only known at the point of observation and if you change the point of observation you again only know it from that point. In short, I can not think up a practical experiment in the physical world to test such a scenario.

Now I know you purists out there are rolling your eyes and mumbling about entropy, the arrow of time and the idea a “reset” would in fact violate the laws of thermodynamics. Yet before you jump to a quick judgement, keep in mind that are many strange things in the quantum world which are far from explainable. Therefore it would seem possible there some from of conservation which we are unaware of which might in fact allow a reset (actually numerous resets) to happen…

Are We An Effective Team?

Are We An Effective Team?

During a recent international trip I had the chance to watch the Tom Cruise movie “Obviation“. Set in a dystopian future where the Earth as we know it was destroyed in a battle with Alien invaders wishing to steal our resources. Cruise (in the hero role of course) plays Jack Harper a drone repair man opposite of Andrea Riseborough as Victoria Olsen who is his communications officer.

To be honest, I didn’t find the writing of the movie very good, and won’t give away any spoilers in case you want to see it. As for this post, the key point to take way is just knowing they (both Jack and Victoria) are a “team”.

In the story Vicca (Victoria’s nickname) communicates with “Sally” on an orbiting space station where she receives daily instructions for herself and Jack. During these conversations everyday, Vicca is asked by Sally “are you and Jack an effective team“? The general response back from Vicca was “yes, we are an effective team“. This word interaction plays out over and over everyday with Sally repeatedly asking and Vicca responding in the affirmative. While the movie is based upon Joseph Kosinski’s Radical unpublished Comic works, it is unclear to me who packed these particular lines into the script.

As I found the lines extremely interesting, for example when Sally would make the query (are you and Jack an effective team), Vicca would light up like one of Pavlov’s dogs in her response with “yes we are an effective team“. Now I realize that Riseborough is an actress and this was a fictional movie yet it got me really thinking of the subtle conditioning this produced by the use of these trigger words along with the positive affirmation created by the required response from Vicca to Sally.

This got me looking at the magic of the words, as the key lead in is “we” which not only joined Jack and Vicca together, however also Sally and the “cause” together as one. This is a testament to the strength of the word “we” which is often over looked especially when intended as an affirmation. Next is the word “effective” as this makes clear the expectation of the “we“.

This is because when Sally asks “are we effective“, she is implying she [Sally] is, and seeking an affirmation they (Jack & Vicca) are also. Think about it, this would be very hard to say no to, therefore this incites agreement which pushes one to achieve compliance. The final key word in this mix is “team” which brings together the “effective we” into something with structure. As here it [team] is used as a verb meaning to “Come together to achieve a common goal“.

As written in my blog ( before, the human mind is very suggestible and even in the brief time watching this movie, I the viewer was also drawn in by this phrase. I too wanted to be part of this “effective team“. This is what I found interesting as it was not my intent to be drawn in as I was, yet I found myself either unwilling or unable to resist the suggestions of these words. In this I found myself in the end being part of this “effective” team and when it broke (you will have to watch the movie to discover why), I too was broken.

All in all it fascinates me as to how simple words formed into repeated affirmations can have such an impact in what turns out to be very little time. As yes we ARE an EFFECTIVE team