Transcript of: The Wager
Professor ?: Ah, Susan, give us some input will you? Professor Lowry and I have been discussing time travel and we've arrived at a bit of an impasse...
Professor ?: Basically, I've posed the question: Is it enough to merely DECIDE to build a time machine to set in motion a series of events that will result in instantaneous and drastic changes across the time continuum - the changes become visible, in fact, at the very moment the decision is made - or do you instead have to complete a finished time machine before such changes occur? The changes, of course, resulting from the inevitable misuse of the time machine by those who would out of curiosity or malice travel back in time and deliberately or inadvertently cause significant deviations in the course of history. I've argued that it's impossible - that would actually have to build the thing before anything would happen, and moreover, that nothing would happen anyway because consequent to its construction the technology would be considered so dangerous as to be prohbited in use - much like nuclear weapons, human cloning, and so on. No-one would have the chance to misuse it, and so the point is moot.
Professor Lowry: The point is NOT moot. Firstly, any changes to the time continuum would occur the moment you decide to build a time machine, as that decision would inevitably lead to its construction and eventual misuse. And secondly, that misuse would itself be inevitable because every technology, no matter how prohibited, eventually falls into the hands of those who would abuse it for personal gain. Every major technological innovation, from the computer on down, has been quickly acquired by "the bad guys" and there's no reason to think that a time machine would not be appropriated by some radicla group and used to further their aims by allowing them to irreparably alter the outcome of historical events! It is a terrifying scenario, but also the the most likely scenario.
Susan: Well, I've no idea myself, but it's a fascinating argument. You should put some money on it!
Professor ?: Yes, we SHOULD put money on it! 200 pounds, let's say?
Professor Lowry: I don't know how you intend to settle the wager, but I accept.
Professor ?: Well, it's easy, isn't it? We've just received this enormous grant to further our research, so I decree here and now that I shall use the time and money available to me to design and build a working time machine!
Susan: Could you pass me...
Susan: ...die milch?
Professor ?: Ohhhh scheisse.
Professor Lowry: Zweihundert reichsmarks, bitte.
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