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Three wishes

(I'm away from home for a long weekend, and may have limited internet connectivity.)

The French magazine Galaxies SF has just interviewed me at length for a forthcoming issue, and I thought I'd share their last interview question with you and ask how you would answer it:

A magician/god/witch offers you three wishes. What do you wish for?

(No, you do not get to wish for further wishes.)

Pause for a moment and think about the implications before you answer, m'kay? I'll tell you what I came up with later.

215 Comments

1:

immortality for all human beings, increased intelligence for all human beings (think of IQ > 180),
keep one wish to reverse the other ones if they do not work out.

2:

^_^
1) The ability to see the far reaching implications of my wishes before I ask for them.
2) ???
3) ???

I predict that 2 and 3 will end up being null set.

3:

1) A time bending watch to be able to jump for a few days in an room in an alternate reality.
2) Space colonization
3) being able to modify my body regularly

4:

That's really dangerous! Are you sure you want to destroy the causal integrity of the universe?

5:

I will wish to not have the wishes. If literature teaches us anything, it is that "three wishes story" always ends with regret.

6:

Here's my three:

1. That the outcome of my three wishes will be positive for everyone affected by them (with the definition of "positive outcome" provided by the individual so affected),

2. That anything that can be obtained by one of these magic wishes can be obtained by non-magical human efforts,

3. That nobody ever gets any more magic wishes

7:

Firstly, I could use a biscuit.

Secondly, I would like a proof or disproof of the Barendregt–Geuvers–Klop conjecture.

I'll get back to you on the third.

8:

1. A replacement for oil/gas/coal that isn't just cheap and zero carbon, but which actually helps stabilise the atmosphere's co2 at the preindustrial level.
2. A global treaty that ends corporate personhood and thereby their ability to finance elections.
3. Cures for all STDs.

9:

1. The Culture, as described in Banks' novels, to show up tomorrow and induct us. (too cheat-y? Can I point at something and say "I want that one!"?)

2. A magic thingy that produces limitless power in whatever form I need it. But must be fed human babies. (I'm assuming if I build in a terrible cost, the genie might overlook their own "terrible cost" mandatory clause?)

3. Fifty bucks. There's a pretty good chance that the entity has that much on them, and if they can't do anything else they claim to, I can at least get infinitesimally richer from them.

10:

Strangely enough our son asked this a few days ago, so I answered:

1 The Culture being real and 'adopting' us. I really would like to see a interventionist Culture alternative to 'State of the Art'.
2 see how wish 1 goes
3 Seeing how some people react to the new realities of living in the Culture would be entertaining enough. To increase the effect I wish that the Culture had us under surveillance for some time and gives slap-droid to worthy individuals.

11:

1. End to ageing (past maturity) and disease (or is this two wishes? – then forget the disease part).
2. A good, powerful clean energy source.
3. Technology to cross large distances quickly (think wormholes).

12:

Doesn't it matter who's granting the wish? I'd expect a god to be able to grant bigger wishes than a magician or a witch.

If you're approached by a god and a magician, each of whom is offering to grant a single wish, does that imply that either the magician lacks the ability to make someone a god (otherwise he'd have already used it on himself, and you'd be faced with two gods offering you a wish), or that the magician is aware of a major downside to being a god?

13:

10: Wow, snap!

And /headslap I forgot to rate-limit the babies. Ah well. Human Race, it was nice knowing ya. Stupid wishes.

14:

You rely on IQ as a useful measure of intelligence? Ugh.

I would wish for changes to human physiology and psychology which would make humans better suited to developing and maintaining responsible and sustainable societies.

1. Higher sex drives and lower rates of reproduction, to inhibit population growth while teaching us to be more accepting of deviant behaviour in the bedroom.

2. More holistically-attuned empathy, so that we actually dedicate more headline space to a flood in Peru that kills thousands than to a fire in $localcity which kills two children. This might also prevent some of the corporate excesses that are, in part, upsetting the 99%ers. And curb some of our intent to squander every low-lying environmental resource.

3. Millions of dollars because, really, I'm no better.

15:

Your's is as dangerous ! ;)
Except that you give it to everyone, and I, keep it for myself.

16:

Wishes of unlimited power conjure up too lofty thoughts of seizing unlimited trans-humanist power, too ponderous. How about instead of magician/god/witch it's our future selves with 3 perfect gadgets for happy(?) living:

1) The AlterPorter. Every human on earth has the ability to teleport to a new pristine alternate universe version of earth with no humans (some tragic event occurred 500,000 years ago) OR one which they are invited to by someone else using:
2) The EveryNet. It's the internet but better, you're born with access to it and it never goes away.
3) The TimesEye. Any point in time or space can be viewed by anyway, forever.

All 3 are inherit abilities of Homo-Wishus, they can't be disabled and they can't be blocked.

17:

1. Wisdom
2. Compassion
3. A bidirectional time machine

18:

1) A solid gold wheelchair!
2, 3) Yeah, I'm good.

19:

Your third wish is truly wise, but your first wish leaves something to be desired by shaping a world consistent with the desires of current humanity. Due to human hyperbolic discounting, isn't this likely to lead to a world where current happiness is maximised, but at the cost of indefinitely long periods of relative unhappiness in the future?

20:

1. Without changing me, I wish everyone in the world was happier than I am now.

2. I wish P = NP.

3. I wish things only got better.

21:

Given most wishes tend to be "monkey's paw" things anyway, I'll stick for the strictly practical:

1) A cup of hot chocolate.

2) A packet of Tim Tams.

3) A comfortable chair to sit in while I drink the hot chocolate and eat the Tim-Tams.

22:

Even this careful formulation will not be enough. Off the top of my head I see the loophole that the positive outcome can be delayed for a very long time.

23:

1. A re-write of physical law so that ftl is possible without violating causality
2. Potential immortality, or at the very least a much-extended and without physical degeneration life-span.
3. Reserved for future use

24:

Goal: a relatively safe inductive definition of the perpetual existence of happy intelligent beings.
1) If at some time t_1 there exists at least one happy, intelligent being, then at every time t_2 after t_1 there exist happy, intelligent beings.
2) I am a happy, intelligent being.
3) Steal Charlie's first wish, with a slight modification to replace his third wish: That the outcome of all wishes will be positive for everyone affected by them (with the definition of "positive outcome" provided by the individual so affected).

25:

1) An alternative quantifiable value system to Money --
let's call it 'Karma' -- of equal weight in human affairs
but orthogonal to and acting to counter the evils engendered by the love of money. Money can't buy you happiness, but Karma can!

2) Anyone remember "Ashton-Tate" from Samuel R. DeLaney's book "Nova?" That whole concept of labour, although maybe wireless rather than using surgically implanted sockets.

3) Increased distrust and lack of belief. A general increase in scepticism and resistance to any statement, rumour or innuendo not backed up by evidence.

26:

That sounds like wishing for more wishes to me. Genies I've heard about are only interested in giving goods and services.

Perhaps they get subsidies from their government for aiding non-magical beings, which is why they would rather give you a fish than teach you to fish.

27:

Isn't Hot Chocolate AND TimTams overdoing the choccy there?
3 wishes --
a pass in Discrete Mathematics
Abolition of the UN security council veto by the permanent members
Much more efficient PV panels...

28:

1) The ability to read, in a controlled and muteable fashion, the minds of others.
2) The ability to edit the minds of others.

That's enough for me, I'm not greedy.

29:

A safe, cheap and reliable fusion reactor design,
A safe, cheap and reliable high-density battery design,
An anti-cancer vaccine formula.

30:

I'd wish for the knowledge and wisdom to know what the best two wishes to wish for were, and figure out the next ones based on the result.

31:

Hey, they're my wishes, I get to choose what I want in 'em! I like chocolate.

32:

Hmm, I'm gonna go for my personal wishes here... (Surely, most all of us want nice things to happen to the world?)

1. The ability to 'pause' life on earth, and do whatever I fancy with the time. Learn to do complicated things, research the 'correct' response to events and conversation (Gotta have one superpower, eh? I would still age during this, though).

2. To be impervious to grave physical injury and deadly illness. My body would naturally degrade until it didn't work anymore, though. I would still like to die at a sensible age, and experience injury and illness!

3. For the previous two wishes work as intended, without buggering any rules (or anything else) up!

33:

1) That otherwise intelligent people will understand that sub-space/warp/wormhole travel is not the same thing as FTL.
I walk at 4mph; you drive at mean V 20mph. We both go from point A to point B but the pedestrian route is 1/6 the length of the vehicle route, so I arrive at point B first. When you arrive, we have both experienced the same sidereal duration (using a Newtonian approximation). If you're prepared to argue that my earlier arrival means that I walked at 24mph, please state your reasoning.
2) A bar of Lindt Excellence chilli chocolate every week for the rest of my life.
3) Advances in "strong materials" that make building an orbital beanstalk or several possible.

34:

Optimisim in the face of adversity.

Fitness irrespective of inactivity.

No cancer cells.


That aught to do it.

35:

A JOOTS wish that might solve everything in one go: "I wish for you to do all the things I should wish for you to do."

I know Charlie banned wishing for more wishes, but I'm not sure if wishing for the products of those wishes counts. So this is a little sketchy. It also depends on whether the genie can faithfully implement "should".

But in general, all wishes have hidden complexity. It's not the Monkey's Paw effect aka "diabolic failure" where the genie tries to screw you over that's the real danger, it's "golemic failure" where the genie implements exactly what you said, never mind what you meant.

So on a day when I'm slightly worried about that, I'm with Megpie71: chocolate, biscuits, comfy chair.

Alternatively, I might freak the hell out and start thinking how to get it to never grant wishes again.
Then I'd worry about other genies and start thinking that I might want a general ban on wishes.
Then I'd worry that this might be interpreted as a general hindrance to everyone trying to get something they want.
Then I'd think about how to best phrase a wish that will define "genie-like entities" and ban only them from granting wishes.
Then there's the issue of e.g. technological development as we know it possibly being the result of some earlier person wishing for an increase in mastery over nature. After all, once there's a genie in the picture, a lot of bets are off wrt how I thought the world worked.
I could possibly wish first for omniscience to see how I should solve all this, but that comes with a truckload of its own problems. >_


If, however, we assume a safe, friendly, anthropomorphic genie who's good at reading my intent... (and that's a large if)
1) An engine of abundance that produces free mass and energy in safe and useful forms.
2) A verification device for determining the truth of a statement.
3) A chronoscope for looking into the past. (Subject to some fiddlybit-constraints such as being complicated and slow enough to use that voyeurism is impractical but checking historical events is practical.)

36:

Those three magic wishes seem even more impossible than usual.

How far down the karmic line of cause and effect are we talking here? Most likely, the cascade of people affected becomes everyone. What about people who's implicit definition of positive are negative to others also affected?

37:

1. That everyone wins the lottery.

2. That someone invents a white fabric which repels dirt and doesn't wear out.

4. That you can go home again.

38:

1. an end to all sentience

39:

Too much choccy for me and are you going to Tim Tam Slam?

40:

Off top of my head. Just a draught. ;)

1. A safe as possible smooth transition from neoliberal economic hegemony to more sustainable and equitable model of economic growth. (details details.)

2. Development of safe, clean and readily available nuclear fusion energy. Bussard's Pollywell perhaps.

3. A giant battle mech with laser eyes...

I'm going to need some clauses aren't I? 1 and 2, have the potential to do something radicle to society. Dangerous energy cheap experiments. Rapid depletion of some other vital resource used in all that new shiney stuff X billion peple can now afford, before alternatives can be developped.

41:

1. A sandwich
2. A cup of tea
3. A little voice that reminds me to lift with my knees and not my back...

All of which can be provided without breaking the universe.

42:

If everyone wins the lottery then everyone gets their bet back...

Me, I'd be too terrified by the implications of an existing reality warper standing in front of me to come up with anything more than gibbering in the fetal position.

43:

First, that all wishes happen as I intend them with no backfires because I didn't choose exactly the right words. (If I screw things up just because my wish happens to have bad unforseen consequences, I take that responsibility, as long as it's not an effort to 'gotcha' me).

In my head for a while I've had an ideal afterlife, including among other things the ability to run and inhabit perfect simulations of any scenario you can come up with (and the ability to choose oblivion if you get bored). I don't actually believe it's true, but it's what I'd like to be true if any afterlife existed... so I guess one of the wishes would be for that to be true, even if it effectively grants me all my other potential wishes (eventually) it's not technically a 'more wishes' wish, so I deem it acceptable.

And number 3... I'd be really tempted to save in case something happens that I really need to change, but for the sake of choosing one, that for the rest of my life all the problems I perceive with my or anybody else's body/health are correctable with a few minutes of concentration (I don't want to be immortal, especially with wish #2 in play, but I'd like to be comfortable with my own body and being able to heal others).

As for your wishes, Charlie, your #1 conflicts with #2 and #3, because for me, not having even the potential to get a magic wish is a negative outcome. :)

44:

My first wish would be that we (myself and my wish granter) could achieve full mutual understanding so I am can express all of my wishes without tragic consequences. (And note the slightly recursive scope of this wish.)

I would obviously have to defer my remaining two wishes until after the first was granted (though I might draft some possibilities before then).

45:

This is hard, so much to choose from and as the implications of my initial ideas sink in it gets even harder. Immortality for all is out - I saw Torchwood: Miracle Day. Personal immortality is out - I saw Highlander.

At the moment, I think I'll go with:

1. An end to all belief in matters supernatural (this includes religion) that comes in a positive gradual realisation that retains compassion rather than a sudden, dramatic loss which would probably be very destabilising.
2. Good physical and mental health for myself, my family and friends.
3. A decent lottery win of at least 10 million euros so that not only can my immediate family live comfortably but I can also spend some of it on causes that are important to me. (Supporting Urdd Gobatith Cymru and its equivalent here in Brittany; affordable rural housing projects in Wales and in Brittany just to start with.)

Other ideas:

An end to all bigotry - I thought getting rid of religion instead would cause a significant reduction.

Cures for various diseases - if just a small part of the time and money that is currently spent on religion was instead directed towards research into those cures then I'm sure we would see some significant progress. Plus simple ideas like promoting and actually getting widespread condom use in Africa would suddenly be so much easier.

An end to all right wing political thinking - Ultimately I believe in balance and sadly, we probably do need a few greedy capitalists to have a healthy economy.

46:

Friendly AI

47:

Why think small on the economic front?
1. Self-sufficiency for all human beings. I.e, they need never trade with other people to gain the things they require for survival- food, shelter, health, etc.
2. Someplace significantly larger than Earth to put us all. Stable Ringworld, maybe?
3. I, personally, never want to be annoyed.

48:

I can never answer this question without getting wrapped up in paranoid be-careful-what-you-wish-for scenarios. Example:

I wish for everyone to be happy!
- Everyone is strapped to a bed and administered IV super ecstasy.

I wish for world peace!
- Mass genocides wipe out pretty much everyone except one small peaceful tribe

I wish the world develops into a peaceful, post-scarcity environment where every human can live their life to the full!
- Every human becomes a slave to the others to provide the post-scarcity environment and are mentally altered to find that fufilling

49:

Hmmm. No, I've thought about the good old three wishes for decades now, and I still can't come up with the definitive three (and really Charlie, ruling out wishing for more? Spoilsport...).

So, here's today's favoured set, just cos.

1 - a real Valhalla, nerd-flavoured, for, well, the nerds (cos that's me).

2 - something deliciously x-rated (yes, nerd, internet, porn, sense of adventure, you connect the dots).

3 - pi to be exactly 3 (again, nerd, and I have that sort of sense of humour, along with a dangerously well developed curiosity - and, well, I suspect that this is more the sort of thing you were after than my first two :)

50:

There are two ways I want to approach this question.

The Personal: Good Health/Long Life/Solid Pension.

There's no point having good health unless you can live long enough to enjoy it. I don't want riches but a comfortable income that won't disappear when the 1% develop new ways to steal it. Of course, I wish this for my family, especially my parents who have the second two (yea! Social Security and Medicare) and could use more of the first.

or the Universal: Peace/Equality (economic and otherwise)/Prosperity

Achieving this PE&P might involve dusting off the Guillotines but I'm willing to make the sacrifices if necessary.

51:

1) Full global legalisation of cannabis.
2) Cats to have same lifespan as humans.
3) Mars Bars to be returned to original spec (I mean British Mars, not those weird ones with almonds in). Wishes 1 and 3 are related.

52:

1. Ten thousand wishes for my wife, transferable to persons at her request.

2. That my wife feels the need to grant me 5,000 wishes.

3. That genies are unable to perform any act of retribution, direct or indirect, on smart-arse tax advisors or any person associated with them in any way shape or form.

53:

In addition you would get riots of angry winners, lottery employees fired for botching up, and people broke from spending money before knowing the quotas.

Everybody winning the lottery is a VERY evil wish.

54:

And this explains a lot about humanity- give someone infinite options, enough options to make current grudges irrelevant...and someone will _still_ want to settle a grudge.

55:

1. A Cornucopia Machine (usable by humans) with complete library of patterns, machines, devices, software & medical technology (compatible with humans)

2. A Library/Database (usable by humans) of everything worth knowing in the Universe.

3. The knowledge, intelligence, wisdom and compassion to use 1 & 2 for the betterment of all sentient beings.

56:

Only one wish - that everything gets better for everyone forever - as they define "better"

57:

I'd want to find a way to decline the offer without consequences. There's always a monkey's paw.

58:

I hate this "three wishes" meme.
It's always a setup to make the wisher look foolish, and their choices of wishes are always held up as a greek tragedy to do so(ie. where the one small flaw destroys everything).

It's boring...

59:

I'd say no, thank you, I'm happy being a rational atheist.

If, however, the question was about a mysterious wealthy benefactor who would grant any 3 wishes that were grantable with plenty of cash, political pull and available technology... well, that's a much more interesting question.

I'd quite like:

  • A sensible overhaul of the NHS aimed at improving services and increasing ease of access rather than saving money
  • An elevated urban clearway for central cardiff to reduce funding and make the city more pleasant for pedestrians
  • a pot of funding to end the current threats to the civil Legal Aid system

That would be a pretty good start, I think.

60:

Lovely. Got my markup right but my text wrong. I mean "reduce congestion" of course, and Cardiff should have a capital C.

61:

Well, actually, everyone gets that portion of their bet that went into the prize fund back, unless there was a guaranteed jackpot (presumes that guaranteed jackpots are legally enforceable, which is unusual for gambling debts) that draw, in which case you get a bankrupt lottery organiser, and literally millions of unsecured creditors.

62:

Ms Sunlight for PM!!!

63:

1) The end of death.
2) The end of birth.
3) The end of religion.

64:

(answering original post)

The revelation that magicians / gods / witches existed, and that I'd only found out about this after living for half a century would be so devastatingly profound that I can't predict my actions afterward.

And as for what I currently wish, when I wish things ... Well, it would be unwise for me to publicly say who dies in these wishes, and under what embarrassing circumstances.

(For decades, in my pipe dreams I've wished for something along the line of your "Eschaton" stories, though my landing point for the various nationalities would be separate parallel Earths in which humanity had not taken hold.)

65:

1) The best possible outcome for a wish.
2&3) held in reserve

66:

Some of you guys should read "The Lathe of Heaven"...

67:

Me? A clear mind, a healthy body, and the will - the desire - to do those things that are good for me, "for the good of all and with harm to none."

68:

1. I'd wish that Count Chocula would be available in stores again.

2. I'd wish that Microsoft's Olympic Decathlon would run on my laptop. (There seems to be a problem with Apple emulators and USB joysticks.)

3. I'd wish that you could buy Brach's jelly beans by color instead of black only or everything together. It seems a shame to buy a full bag when I only like about half of the flavors.

I think wishing for big things is problematic: it requires a lot of hand-waving even if you accept the premise of the wishes themselves and assume that you're the only one who gets wishes, and even then, there's something much less satisfying, I would imagine, about having things magically appear instead of working to make them happen.

Wishing for inconsequential things is similar, I suppose. I would likely be the cause of soaring jelly-bean prices as Brach's is forced to change their production facilities to match my demands.

69:

1) Cheap, clean power sources. Which can be produced by
2) A bunch of self replicating Cornucopia Machines with a well stocked civilian library and
3) A bunch of reliable STL spaceships, so at least some of us might survive the consequences of 1 & 2.

One set for me, the rest to be distributed to people throughout the world.

I feel the responsibility for correctly gathering the client's (my) requirements falls on the magician/god/witch, presumably a properly trained and accredited wish granter. And if someone who can give me any approximation of those 3 is malevolent or incompetent, then I doubt a more precise specification is going to save me.

70:

1 - A procedure for accurately tri-secting an angle using just a protractor and straight-edge.

2 - A working space elevator that plays sci-fi movie overtures as elevator music.

3 - Modification of the human digestive system so we can live on a diet of grass and leaves.

71:

1) All humans to be granted the ability and desire to make decisions that benefit all sentient life. (Yes, I'd be imposing my will on people.)

2) A homeostasis lock on the Earth's climate such that the global and local climates never exceed the extremes represented by such and such dates.

3) ...not sure how to safely phrase this one, but I'd somehow like to release us from the evolutionary baggage that makes us overly tribal, etc. Maybe this falls under 1).

72:

This may be a smartass response, but:
1) I wish to live in the best of all possible worlds.
2) ???
3) ???

73:

Nope; consider my first wish as an implementation of the Golden Rule: "do not do unto others that which you would be offended by were it done unto you". In other words, wishes 2 and 3 are hedged around to prevent doing harm.

74:

My first wish would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace.

My second wish would be for $30 million dollars a month to be given to me, tax free in a numbered Swiss bank account.

My third wish would be for all encompassing power over every living thing in the universe...

75:

1) The ability to break any rule imposed on me.
2) Infinite wishes
3) ...
4) Profit!

I think the rule about wishing for more wishes needs to be extended to a include any and all "meta-wishes" (such as Charlie's 3) else things quickly fall apart. They suffer the same sort of problems as sentences like "This sentence is false".

76:

I thought about that. Then I decided that it was better to wish for a method for total conversion of silicon to energy...with the limitation that it only produce energy slowly (still working on the definition of that, as I don't want bombs, only an energy source), and the advantage that it be cheap & easy to build with off the shelf parts.

Then I decided that a just and honest government was even more important. But haven't yet figured out how to phrase that so there aren't any downsides, and so that it's permanent.

The other one would be for the ability to design and operate a closed ecology. (That last one really WOULD require magic. But I don't know enough about how to do it to say it properly.)

P.S.: I don't assume malice on the part of the party offering the wishes.

77:

I had to goggle to discover what ' TimTams ' are, and ...Look what I found ! ...


" Tim Tam - May contain traces of WHAT!? "


http://imgur.com/gallery/CLQ3M

78:

Oops ...a slip of the fingers on my post 77 rendered me ' Anonymous ' I wasn't seeking to avoid the Wrath of Chocoholics.

79:

(All wishes to be elaborated upon and refined to form a water-tight description of what I actually want).

1. Everyone (living and yet to be born) to be maintained in a state of perfect physical health, protected from hunger, injury, age, disease, etc. (Yes, another immortality wish).

2. Everyone (or maybe just me. Not sure on this one. Wish 1 prevents most of the *really* bad consequences of it being everyone) gets an "Oracle". A little voice that lives in their head, has non-sentient but smart-human-equivalent-or-better intelligence stores a massive repository of knowledge from a sufficiently-advanced post-scarcity society, as well as full knowledge of existing human society and extensive information about bootstrapping.

3. A complete restoration of the earth's natural resources (fish, animals, trees, oil, coal, etc.) to some point say around a few thousand years ago. Where this would directly impact human infrastructure that infrastructure should be moved or otherwise modified in a way that does not substantially affect their existing functioning and purpose.

I figure with those we can then do all the interesting stuff ourselves.

80:

1. That from tomorrow onwards any person who murders any other person (using my personal definitions for murder that I'd be happy to discuss with you at great length later Mr Genie) drops painlessly, permanently dead 30 seconds later.

2. That from tomorrow onwards no one under the age of 25 can become/get someone pregnant

3. That from tomorrow onwards all persons standing for or holding any form of public office are unable to say anything other than the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth for the entirety of their term of office plus an additional cooling down period equal to one half time served.

Regarding point one my definitions would permit police officers acting to deal with an immediate threat to others but act against judicial executions. Permit members of armies to follow lawful orders but kill the politician that gave them. Not harm someone who's well maintained and carefully driven car kills a person but act against someone who was driving drunk, knowingly unqualified/uninsured and killed someone. Judge whether the person who's immediate action causes culpable death is responsible or acting as a weapon used by someone else. It would definitely need a Q&A session to get the rules straight.

81:

1. A common language for all the people on earth so ending semantic misunderstandings.
2. No more need for religion(s).
3. Women to be able to determine, unilaterally, when they wish to bear children.

82:

I'm going to go for some big ones.. why not. Unlike some, I'm not going to assume benevolent interpretation on the part of the wish giver. So my first wish is:

1) The wording of my remaining wishes to be interpreted in a way that a reasonable, benevolent being would rather than examining each word for ways to grant the wording while destroying the spirit of the request.

2) That the current European Liberal Intelligentsia's undoubted decrease in discriminatory behaviour observed during my lifetime to date on the grounds of sex, gender, sexuality, race, religion, culture etc. becomes a high infective meme, spreading to all humans within the next 4.5 decades or sooner, so that we judge people on merit and actions, not from a position of prejudice.

3) That the time, effort and money released both from activities that openly or covertly support the discriminatory standards be released to support education, healthcare and R&D to enable the greatest reasonable number of humans to live a fundamentally happy, fulfilling life in one or more well-balanced and sustainable 'healthy' biosphere(s) within a similar period of time (where similar means 0≤x≤1.5x in this case) with approximately equal access to resources for all and visible, acceptable and clear progress towards this goal on a year-on-year basis.

----

Yes, this is changing the mind of others, but it's one I'd happily have done unto me, so I'm at peace with the choice. It also doesn't guarantee people won't die - one possible solution would be a reduction of the world's population to under about 3 billion (possibly lower) - but that's OK if it's the best solution. Other solutions include lunar and martian bases and the like, aliens arriving us and giving us cornucopias and FTLs. I don't mind which of them occurs. For the visible progress the aliens could arrive tomorrow, or a message from them could saying "We're coming, hang on a bit longer!" so we get a big countdown to arrival. There's quite a few caveats to stop the aliens turning up to turn us into happy meals on legs.

83:

I'm always reminded of "The Devil went to Bell Labs", from How to Play in Traffic, by Penn & Teller. Wherein a computer scientist uses programming logic to wish first for the best advice from the genie, and then uses that advice to eventually get infinite wishes. Charlie ruled out infinite wishes though.
Assuming that the genie/whatever is omnipotent (and it should be, as it's granting unlimited power wishes), that advice alone could be used to do nearly anything you want. The other two wishes could then be saved for impossible things.
It's one of my favorite stories, you should look it up.

84:

James disappears down an infinite loop, in which he forever wishes for (1) followed by (2).

85:

I'm good, thanks anyway.

86:

May contain traces of Tim

87:

1: An infallible, self fueling, self powered, (portable to a standard human being) Cornicopia machine that can produce anything real or imagined, living or dead, within 5 seconds of request.

2: That anyone about to cause harm to another be immediatly frozen in a reversible-by-authorities stasis field.

3: That all people in positions of power are absolutely truthful, honest, and incorruptible.

88:

1: To have at my side for the requests of the next two wishes a very, very smart lawyer/contract writer/otherwise-legalese-savvy-person-who-is-good-at-closing-loopholes-and-avoiding-monkey's-paw-scenarios-in-general.
2: To make reincarnation a reality, in such a way that we retain all our memories from our past lives when we start anew. (Yes, I'm aware there are huge problems with this, but it seems better than any afterlife alternative. I find the prospect of nothingness after death terrifying, and the prospect of an eternal afterlife even more so.)
3: Space colonization that is safe and easily achievable, so that we wouldn't have to worry much about overpopulation given the obvious ramifications of #2.

(As an aside, am I the only one who finds some of these wishes a little creepy? The ability to read other people's minds, for instance, or #16's "TimesEye" device, both of which would utterly obliterate the concept of privacy. Then again, some might find reincarnation similarly dreadful.)

89:

Speaking in a purely addled ex catheter state:

  • The ability to (correctly) identify and control pathogenic invaders within my corpus

  • Time enough to love

  • Time enough to read





  • The last two are still fighting out who gets to go first.

    90:

    One wish only: That the theory of the multiverse turns out to untrue, as the truth of it entails an amount of suffering that is truly horrifying. One universe is enough, thank you,

    91:

    1. FTL luxury space yacht, fully stocked with provisions, and that has planetary lift off.

    2. Companionship of my choice.

    3. Somewhere to go.

    92:

    It seems that 3-wish opportunities come along so infrequently that we might have a moral responsibility to use them in a powerful/universally beneficial way....

    (Not that I don't like Tim Tams)

    1) superuser privileges on our reality. (pretty transparent grab for more wishes, I guess)

    I guess I can't improve on Charlie's choices - although using the first to ask the magician for advice seems pretty prudent.

    93:

    Quite right too! Mine would tend more towards coffee and McVities Gold Bars but I see nothing wrong with the principle.

    94:

    1. The ability to experience time at different speeds
    2. Mind control
    3. The artistic ability of every talented artist in the world past and present

    I would then proceed to make astounding artistic monuments out of living human bodies, and slow down time to appreciate the work before it collapses in on itself.

    95:

    1) provide civilization of sentient beings derived from humanity with continuous unlimited spatial, temporal and cognitive growth with at least linear growth rate, with temporary setbacks not exceeding 10% for no longer than 10% of the previous growth period

    2) provide immensely huge, but finite threshold after which the said civilization will transcend to internalize infinite (as of above aleph-0) cognition abilities, calculations and growth.

    3) (personal) Give me the ability to renounce at any time (including after my death) my afterlife (provided there is one), with my memories, personality, psyche and everything destroyed quickly, painlessly and above all, irreversibly.

    96:

    I'll have,,
    1: the wish granting entity will act in my best interests and seek to fulfil the spirit of all subsequent wishes
    2: the next bet I make is a win..
    - accumulator on ftl,cancer cure and ultracapacitor
    3: ability to cure and and all illness or injury in self or others as an act of will..
    thattl do methinks

    97:

    Yes! A cornucopia machine is first on my list too. Just don't forget to make it capable of self-replication too.. That gives everyone on the planet access to decent housing, water, food, medicine at the very least.

    I think the upheavals caused by that will be quite enough for now ... I'll keep the other two for later or to clean up the mess #1 causes.

    98:

    1 - knowledge, Ability, materials, tools to construct a targeted wormhole that allows humans to travel to distant locations instantaneously
    2 - Long list (minimum 500 planets) of inhabitable planets (including coordinates for targeted wormholes)
    3 - Box of fruit loops

    99:

    That humans would stop wishing for magical solutions? ( it just seems so anti-enlightenment to me).

    100:

    I expect that my answers are going to make me appear to be a monster, so let me explain. The fundamental problem that our planet has is an over-abundance of humans. If we were to wipe out at least half the human population or thereabouts life on earth would be a lot better in the long term.

    Curing, feeding, or worse yet rendering immortal the population of the planet would be a catastrophe. Feed and cure a bunch of people starving because there aren't enough resources for them on the planet will just result in them making more humans and running down the resources again.

    The wishes:

    1. I wish for all humans with serious psychiatric problems, such as schizophrenia, sociopathy, or autism, to die quickly and peacefully.

    2. I wish for every seriously ill, incurably diseased, or starving human to die quickly and peacefully.

    3. I wish for every human that has ever killed, crippled, tortured, or raped another human being to die quickly and peacefully.

    I acknowledge that good people would die. Soldiers and police officers just doing their duty for example, and some of the vile would escape my indiscriminate slaughter. Con-men and wall street bankers who weren't sociopaths for one, and people who order death to be carried out for another. In having made these wishes, I myself would die upon utterance of the third wish, but I would die content that my daughters would grow up on a much more peaceful planet that should have sufficient resources for them and their children's children to have a good life.

    101:

    Asking a genie to eliminate belief in the supernatural is a bit psychotic, you know?

    102:

    I want all the magicians / gods / witches to form a committee and come up with suggestions for the other two wishes.

    103:

    "Firstly, I could use a biscuit."

    Fool :)
    You could get a whole *bag* of biscuits!

    104:

    Wish first to know the two things-that-can-be-expressed-as-a-wish that result in the best possible overall lifestyle for all self-aware beings in the universe. (Not any one particular being or even species, but all.) Then wish those.

    I don't agree with the minimize-harm approach that many of the other comments have taken (including Charlie's, if I'm reading it right). It's extremely rare - I'd say impossible - to do something good without harming someone, even if only by omission. The bigger the thing you're doing is, the more potential harm. I don't believe that we should allow avoidance of harm to prevent us from doing good. Certainly it's worth taking steps to minimize the harm, but don't let the possibility stop you from doing the good in the first place.

    105:

    Interesting patterns in all of this.

    The "give everyone cornucopias" people should probably reread Singularity Sky among other works. Unlimited power without unlimited wisdom equals unlimited disaster.

    The altruism vs personal satisfaction split was pretty predictable. The "permanently neuter this from ever happening again" sentiment is surprisingly strong, though. Little faith in the breadth of human wisdom?

    Causality is somewhat overrated, but the consequences of it being widely violated are significantly bizarre and unpredictable.

    High IQ is somewhat overrated. Smart people correlate only weakly with more wisdom, see second para above. I like being smart and being around smart people, but most of the smart people I know don't groove on or care much about deep problems.

    106:

    If WISHES were FISHES the sea would be full

    However to play along, here's a construct of wishes to keep things continually 'interesting':

    (1) Buddha reincarnation re-envisioned as a 'level up' in complexity series of infinite Universes unlocked via suitably complex/appropriate mental states. Some variable amount of previous state information allowed to bleed-over to drive continual improvement. Not just hierarchical complexity and richness but horizontal branches of variation.
    'Disperse to your appropriate niches!'

    (2) Consciousness determines Wave Function Collapse re-envisioned as 'required for Wave Function Collapse' and the mere existence of observers brings into existence new things with a self-consistent history stretching backward in time. Requires interacting with wave functions in the universe versus just sitting there wishing.... but opens up the universe to open-ended evolution.

    (3) Immortality tied to mental evolution... static mentalities ossify in a very real manner and die. Only those shedding a sufficient percentage of mental pathways survive as a semi-new entity.

    --- and now to find a seat and popcorn to watch the fun ensue...

    107:

    I'll keep 'em simple:
    1. To be able to read faster; just enough to be able to read a longish novel in a week or so, without losing comprehension--keeping the whole "Monkey's Paw" thing in mind.
    2. Good math skills.
    Not to be completely selfish;
    3. Health&Peace for everyone.

    SInce she brought "The Monkey's Paw" up, Megpie should relalize that her wishes may lead to relatives finding her slumped over the back of that comfy chair, after the hot chocolate was too hot and spilled, causing a nasty burn, the shock of which leads to choking on the tasty biscuit, and attempting to self-Heimlich on the back of the chair.
    Wishes, and Food can be dangerous things.

    108:

    All wishes have the set statement "While remaining fundamentally me."
    1: Full Immortality: Defined as no aging, no disease/cancer, no need for life support but the ability to still use it if desired, rapid regeneration and recovery, full adaptation to enviromental changes. I need the time to read/watch all the stuff that interests me.
    2: Multiversal Portaling: Defined as the ability to look into alternate Earth's and enter them at will, transporting myself and what I choose to carry with me, with the ability to always know the way back to where I've been. I want more seasons of Firefly, Profit and Brimstone, another two good Tim Burton Batman movies and any number of different takes on favourite books by various Authors.
    3: Personal Temporal Control: Defined as the ability to alter the rate at which I interact with the time stream. So I can take 8 hours sleep in a minute and if I'm imprisoned somewhere I can make it pass by much more quickly.

    I would share the shows, movies and books.

    109:

    hmm..
    1: an easily usable power source that uses something surprising.. like M-Brane friction co-efficients .. the knowledge to be discovered and managed into society with minimal harm and as positive an outcome as possible.

    2: Culture-like society to Contact us and provide all the 'upgrades' and societal mores that it expounds.. the wish including that it goes smoothly with minimal harm/disruption..

    3: Access to the Discworld. I rather fancy the Archancelorship.

    and none of this second guessing malarky.. it just works the way it's supposed to. :)

    110:

    1) Good health from birth to old age for everyone in the world, including proper food and care and the basic education to maintain that health.
    2) Enough money to buy the building I've been dreaming about and refurbish it/support it. A space with 5 or 6 big apartments upstairs, a pool/communal garden/solar and wind farm on the roof, and downstairs - workshops/practice/performance/gallery spaces for the group of artists who'd live there. Having the space would give us all time to work on what we love, and to spend time teaching young adults to do things they don't get in school. Note that the first location would have to be in LA - we have no desire to move.
    3) More money - to travel and be able to set up similar programs in other places. Artists and creators seem to be undervalued in most of our society, and I'd like to give more of them the space and time to create and teach. Maybe a foundation to over see it all.

    111:

    I'd wish for sanity and enlightenment in the next two seconds (per Bodhisattva specs, not temporary satori), starting with the being granting the wish, then with me, and continuing on to every other person, without exception, starting with the most violent, the most insane, and the most power, and working from there, and that my other two wishes could only be used when prefaced by a phrase which I would always remember and not divulge except to the wish-granting entity.

    Why not create an enlightened society? Someone's got to do it, after all.

    112:

    Tricky.

    I make one wish:

    "I will fully understand how I should use my other two wishes such that they maximally benefit me and the rest of humanity such that I and humanity will continue to exist as conscious entities for the rest of eternity." And Yep, that could use a bot of work, but you get the general drift I hope.


    (this is a bit along the lines of my, erm, proof that atheism is correct because I am an atheist... i.e. given that I am an atheist there is no omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent God who wishes me to know for a fact He/She/It exists. Because if such a God did, I would. And I don't.)

    113:

    1) Complete instructions for making room temperature superconductors.
    2) Complete instructions for building some form of FTL communication.

    Not sure what else. The first one alone should revolutionise life, with more energy available all over the place, no losses during transfer from power stations, etc.

    114:

    >> given that I am an atheist there is no omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent God who wishes me to know for a fact He/She/It exists. Because if such a God did, I would. And I don't.

    Well, to be fair, maybe an OOO God does exist, but doesn't give a fig about whether you think/know/believe that they exist. (This is about where I am on the atheist scale... OOO God may or may not exist, but if he/she/it does, they definitely don't exist entirely within the universe - Maxwell's demon and the laws of thermodynamics preclude that - and therefore probably wouldn't exhibit the sort of compassion or personal concern for us or our planet. I'm looking for a good term to sum that up, and I've come up with "Adeist - I don't believe in a God who needs or wants to be worshiped or who takes a personal interest in my affairs")

    I suppose it doesn't rule out a non-OOO god (ie the sufficiently advanced alien version) either. But such a being is to be pitied if they need or want my veneration rather than worshiped.

    Now, my wishes...
    How dangerous is it to wish for the speed of light to be increased to an extent that inter-stellar travel becomes feasible from a time-to-get-there perspective? I suppose that might also change the speed at which gravity (and the other 3 forces) propagate, an might throw off certain dynamic equilibria that depend on that constant... How fast would that have to be? Let's assume that we could reasonably achieve a speed relative to earth of 10% c (regardless of the actual value of c), and we'd like to get to the closest stars (which represent the closest possible way-points) in under a month or so.

    Next, I'd like proofs/disproofs of the Riemann Hypothesis and the P=NP problem.

    And finally, I'd like my own personal curling rink, and the financial security to run it in perpetuity.

    115:

    Guthrie writes:

    2) Complete instructions for building some form of FTL communication.

    As we understand physics today, FTL communications probably is equivalent to time travelling communications (communicating into the past), and that probably creates the ability to create an Eschaton-like-entity in short order.

    What it can figure out how to do from there, is an open question (probably not further violate the laws of physics on its own, but who knows, we're talking about a universe that has functional genies/witches/gods...).

    I'm not terribly attached to causality in the classical sense, but that's a mighty big can of weird you open up with that door. Sure you want to do that?

    116:

    The problem with 2 is that you may not be your chosen companion's choice.

    117:

    David Stigant writes:

    How dangerous is it to wish for the speed of light to be increased

    I think that shifts of that magnitude in fundamental constants might render the universe uninhabitable by life as we know it. Possibly quite rapidly. Stellar internal dynamics depend a lot on how fast and how far energy propogates internally. You could either shut the stars all off or cause them all to supernova with games like that...

    Not sure which one, probably varies by star type. Some are mostly convective.

    The big ones near the range of pair production instability, supported by radiation pressure internally... Hmm. First guess is that they become hyperstable, because disturbances are smoothed out much faster. I think this mechanism shuts down supernovae. But I don't do this for a living. There's a difference between owning most of the stellar / plasma physics books, and doing it for real.

    Black holes might evaporate. Potentially all of them, at once. Wouldn't want to be there for that...

    I think that playing with C is probably unwise.

    118:

    (1) That we'd found my son's brain tumor sooner.
    (2) That the whole world had the German health care system.

    119:

    Don't be silly. Playing with C is just a bit dangerous; playing with C++ is unwise.

    120:

    Yes, those are certainly good wishes.

    121:

    If you can't use a wish to settle with an enemy of what good are they?

    122:

    Well, obviously, that would work out in the details.

    123:

    Not necessarily. I kind of figured it might be useful and point the way to new physics.

    124:

    Object oriented velocities also violate the equivalence
    principle.

    125:

    My naive wishes:

    1. A benign world government predicated on planning for long-term stability and peace.

    2. A self-sustaining, multinational Mars colony

    3. A definitive, fully elaborated explanation of the phenomenon of consciousness, because I am damn curious.

    126:

    Sef intoned:

    Don't be silly. Playing with C is just a bit dangerous; playing with C++ is unwise.

    It's nice to see you're still Objective about these things.

    On the other hand, the /. story today on a study comparing perl usability to two partly randomly generated programming languages makes my head hurt...

    127:

    1. That all humans develop true empathy AND Counsellor Troi like 'empathic senses' to enable us to feel how others are feeling and understand them.

    2. That we develop a cheap, renewable, pollution free source of power. Fusion/solar mirrors/wind etc.

    3. That humans finally meet a friendly, technologically advanced alien race that has travelled by some way (FTL, wormholes, warp drive; whatever) to earth from their own earthlike planet and don't want our resources/planet/women. We would no longer be alone, wondering if we were some galactic fluke/orphan. Learning in the process that other earthlike planets are common, that interstellar travel is possible and that intelligent life is also common. Galactic Federation here come!

    128:

    and don't want our resources/planet/women

    If the aliens just want our men, will that be ok? :)

    129:

    1) The ability for any vertebrate animal to enjoy biological immortality and even rejuvenation by simple expedient of ingesting a ubiquitously available substance every 6 months. Here "biological immortality" means that a human can perpetually look, feel, and think as well as you did in your early 20s, and cancer, degenerative diseases, and autoimmune disorders are gone. If you start ingesting later in life, you can maintain your current apparent age by taking a small dose or start to restore lost functions of youth by taking more. Scarring, amputations, lost teeth, lost hair, deafness, and blindness are also gradually reversed by consumption of higher doses.

    Getting hit by a bus, drinking poison, or catching a virulent infectious disease could still kill you. It's an edible substance rather than an intrinsic property of humans because you might want to treat some non-human animals, and because some people might want to not eat it and see what it's like to age. It's ubiquitous (shall we say as a mold of distinctive appearance that forms on human hair moistened with saliva) so that it can't be effectively monopolized or prohibited anywhere.

    2) Every human will have the ability to control pain and fear at will. If you do not want to feel pain or fear, you can attenuate or completely eliminate either or both. Even if you're trapped in a burning car or being attacked by a shark, you can consider the situation as calmly as if you were sitting in a library.

    3) Every human will have the ability to telepathically subvocalize or share sensory experiences with any other human located within a sphere 1 astronomical unit in radius, with the signal propagating at the speed of light in vacuum, as long as all parties are willing participants. Nobody can listen in or even tell that communication is taking place without the consent of all participating parties.

    Like the Cornucopia Machine wishes, I think this would be enormously destabilizing. Unlike the CM, I think it would almost exclusively destabilize aspects of the world that shouldn't be stable. People could no longer be controlled, disabled, or silenced by pain, fear, censorship, old age, or any non-fatal injury or medical problem. If we acted now to cause problems decades or centuries later, it would be us and not hazily envisioned future generations who would face the consequences.

    130:


    127:
    and don't want our resources/planet/women

    If the aliens just want our men, will that be ok? :)


    No, as we all know - men in space will be sleazes on an intergalactic level. The more colourful and more arms/orifices the better. We will need to live up to the legends of Dr Smith/Captain Kirk/Commander Riker.

    131:

    The day I became a heretic coincided with one of my favorite feast days...

    only suddenly I became part of the menu.

    The suit was ill-fitting and the armor too thin,
    the blanket but a swatch and the quilt in tatters.
    Stained with embarrassment and bitter tears,
    the land had turned into a stranger,
    and home appeared to be in exile.
    Now comes the last chill of a bell,
    as it sounds retreat, surrender,
    I wonder what is best to remember,
    on a night long forgotten,
    the darkness covers multitudes and me

    132:

    1. An eternally self-refilling Pint of Guinness
    2. Another one
    3. Same as 2.

    133:

    I've a vague recollection of a story about what happens when robots really meant the First Law. The author had the robots ignoring psychological harm.

    And no, I don't want to work for Special Circumstances.

    134:

    Way back, maybe when Halting State was being written, the term "iPlod" was used here, for the sort of future policeman with an overlaid HUD on their vgiew of the world, and a head cam recording their every move.

    Today, Friday, you can watch live head cam video from Police officers in Sussex, as they go on patrol.

    The BBC has the story here with a link to Sussex Police as the bottom of the page.

    There are a couple of links to related stories as well. We're not yet at the stage of an iPlod, but the future is arriving.

    Scotland isn't independent yet.

    135:

    I disagree in principle with any magical granting wishes, but then I could imagine they may come from some being in a higher energy universe being practically omnipotent in this one. So I would wish for a total stop for their intervention in the universe we are in. That would break the other two wishes.

    I like the realist alternative, when it is not magic, but a human agency with almost limitless resources, expressed in human terms.

    Then it would be:

    - A ton of money on developing an energy positive fusion reactor.

    - A second ton of money in material and containment development to make those fusion reactors small and safe.

    - Several tons of money on building and hooking up fusion reactors to the electric grid.

    Because I believe all mundane problems can be solved if you have enough energy, and that is all I can hope to solve.

    136:

    An infallible, self fueling, self powered, (portable to a standard human being) Cornicopia machine that can produce anything real or imagined, living or dead, within 5 seconds of request.

    "I want a one solar mass black hole -- HEY, WAIT --"

    137:

    135 posts? and no-one went for:

    - Harsher sentencing for parole violaters, Stan
    - Oh, and World Peace.

    Meanwhile, I'll settle for a decent code autogeneration IDE. Preferably one that covers the full UML specification, and supports transitions across the hardware/software boundary.

    That, and the ability to truly comprehend C++

    138:

    Enter 1 packet of centrifuged legumes. ;-)

    139:

    Quoth paws4thot [#137]:
    > Enter 1 packet of centrifuged legumes. ;-)

    Will simply entering such a packet suffice, or must we also visualize the aforementioned[1] to extract their maximal utility?

    ________
    [1] as juveyrq crnf, IIANM.

    140:

    Just the one--SLACK (tm) for everybody, retroactively.

    This saves time hunting down the real bastards and dispatching them, because they (1) never got to screw anybody over and (2) never felt the desire to.

    And if a genie doesn't understand SLACK it's a Pink genie and will probably screw you on the wishes anyway, so stay away. Mr. Spiggott would be the best you could hope for.

    141:

    As causality violating supernatural entities are bad for reality:

    Wish 1: a logic system at least as powerful as arithmetic that can be proved to be both complete and consistent within itself.

    I'll think of the other wishes when the genie delivers on that one.

    142:

    Whilst I agree that it is a milestone in policing, especially policing PR, it is pretty silly in real life. Now you've just admitted the precise location of part of your police force to the local thieves, who therefore know where to avoid. If coverage is improved, it would make catching thieves etc a bit harder.

    143:

    "Here it is" says the genie, slapping 1000 1000-page volumes full of dense highly esoteric mathematical stuff in front of you.

    144:

    "Enter" as in "enter stage left, chased by a bear".

    145:

    No problem. If that magician/god/witch really can do what he/she promise, the causal integrity of the universe is already broken. Otherwise it is perfectly safe to wish anything.

    Btw, here is my pack of wishes:

    1) Personal Absolute Shield. A device that protect person who carry it from any possible harm. I would wish that device for everyone but there is a problem with definition of 'every' and 'one' and I have some prejudice against decide for other people without their consent, so instead we will set rules of its proliferation:
    a) Shield copy itself to other person on their mutual consent, e.g
    - Alice-the-shield-carrier propose to Bob to acquire a copy of Shield and Bob agrees
    - Bob asks Alice-the-shield-carrier for a copy of Shield and Alice agrees
    b) Shield copy itself to other person on attempt of person-the-shield-carrier to do any harm to that unprotected other person
    c) Any person who have Shield can discontinue his/her possession of Shield at any moment, this will not prevent the ability to get Shield again.

    2)Personal Absolute Homeostat. Or call it Personal Entropy Shield or Magic Health Pill, but the purpose of this device not only conserve the integrity of current biological human body, it have to prevent the degradation of any carrier of the person mind on which it will be run at some time in the future. Device transfer rules a) and c) from first wish applies to this one too.

    3) (no really need this, but as I have one more wish...) Cornucopia machine.

    146:

    paws4thot @ 143
    Erm literature fail...
    And I saw the play last year (again)
    It's from "The Winters' Tale"
    Act III sc 3
    Antigonus: " ....This is the chase: Iam gone for ever"
    { Exit, pursued by a bear. }

    147:

    We find a way to expand our living space (space or dimensions) - but aliens have left a bug which we get that matures us beyond our Righteous needs.

    We adapt to this change with minimal disruption.

    The bug works - we don't go about killing each other or others, but instead cherish differences.

    148:

    "I wish for you to fall permanently, unreservedly, and unselfishly in love with me."

    149:

    What makes you think that I didn't know what the stage direction actually was? I'll cop to having thought that it was from the "play within the play" from A Midsummer's Night's Dream", but I switched Exit for Enter on purpose.

    150:

    1: That my mate, who was knocked off his bicycle on Tue and had 8 hrs emergency brain surgery Tue night, makes a full recovery. I don't care if it takes a few years, but I'd like him to be able to resume being a radiographer.

    2: When they plug the large holes in his skull that have allowed his brain to swell without damaging it (any more!) that he doesn't look too bad - though to be fair he was never an oil painting!

    3: That he will still be the same person.


    151:

    Restored to life and health: Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, John Martyn. If that's one wish rather than three then for my second wish, the same for Syd Barrett, Nick Drake, Amy Winehouse. For my third wish, a longer life for cats. This supercedes my previous 3 wishes.

    152:

    Assuming Cat's Paw Law not to be true, these are my three wishes:

    1) I wish for the World as Myth theory to be true and the ability to access and return to these worlds at will. Essentially a variation on Robert Heinlein's 'Number of the Beast' where you can flip between any universe of an infinite number of universes as long as you know something about that universe (ie, you read about in a book you assumed to be non-fiction, but was really a clever window into that universe). I wish for this mainly because I want to revisit my youthful dreams of exploring all these worlds, meeting Lazarus Long and his family, etc., etc., etc.. Because of this wish, I can skip a lot of other wishes (I wish for a world where Magic is real, for instance) because I can go visit that world when I want.

    2) I wish for everyone a life as long as one's choosing with good health, the ability to apply one's talent, skill, or desire and earn a comfortable living, and the intelligence and compassion to be positive contributors to society (with Charlie's golden rule wish tacked on here). In theory this should result in humanity coming together to solve the world's problems "Hey I can live forever if I choose, I want the world to be in good shape."

    3) I would give the third wish to the genie/witch/god to free themselves from any future obligations that weren't self imposed.

    153:

    Well, as I haven't seen nearly enough self-serving wishes here...

    #1 That my next lottery/gambling ticket purchase be a top-tier solo winner with no other irregularities in the drawing.

    #2 That no catastrophic cosmic/global scale disasters occur in my lifetime

    #3 That no one else gets any wishes during my lifetime...

    Why? Because I don't believe it is actually possible to meaningfully 'improve' the human condition without destroying everything that makes us human in the first place. Making life universally safer, easier etc for everyone with no effort or cost would not end well.

    My choices would allow me to make my life better (and that of my family/close friends) and give me the resources/time to spend on whatever causes, businesses and such that I felt were worthwhile. I'd probably use a hunk of the money to found a independent and solidly libertarian university.

    The last is just because there are far too many people I wouldn't want getting them :)

    154:

    1) That either of the three possibilities comes with me visiting Richard Dawkins. The look on his face will be priceless.

    2) All the powers of the entity.

    3) That the entity disintegrates into non-existence, so that I become undisputed in my status as Overlord of the totality of existence.

    :)

    155:

    In some Buddhist traditions, the idea of a wish-granting jewel is that it grants the wishes of everyone but its own. Wanting to become that jewel is a very magnanimous wish indeed.

    156:

    Wish # 1 – Immortality – The good kind. None of this ‘drinking blood’, or ‘growing eternally old’ or ‘can be killed by decapitation’ business. Immortality with perfect health, including the added bonus of being able to sleep for centuries of so desired.

    Wish # 2 – Time Travel – The good kind. None of this ‘Kill your father before you were born causality’ or ‘the past cannot be changed’ or ‘can only travel into the future’ or ‘unable to control your destination’ business. Time Travel where the traveler steps outside of the time-stream for purposes of time paradox.

    And honestly, I’d personally be rather happy with just those two modest requests. But if there is a third, why not shoot for the moon.

    Wish #3 – Godlike magical powers. That’s right, the good kind. Want to travel through the stars? I can open intergalactic portals with a wave of my hand! Prefer to live in a post-scarcity world? I can have that for you with a nod of my head. But truthfully, this feels like cheating. I see little difference from wishing for more wishes.

    Basically, what I’m trying to say is- “Slave, I make my third wish. I wish to be an all-powerful genie!”

    157:

    Your wishes strike me as rather hellish.

    For #1, you need to read Divided by Infinity by Robert Charles Wilson. If you can't die but are doomed to live forever, the vast majority of your life will sweep by after everyone you care for has met their end. In fact, most of your existence will happen long after the Earth has ceased to be capable of supporting human life. Or, indeed, after the universe we live in has ceased to be capable of generating human-inhabitable planets with biospheres powered by luminous stars.

    For #2, you need to read "Palimpsest" by, er, me. (Time travel, standing outside the time stream, is not likely to be a bed of roses.)

    Wish #3 is basically cheating (you're asking for unlimited further wishes).

    158:

    And as the all powerful genie you are compelled to spend all of eternity granting wishes, until a foolish 'customer' wishes for your job

    159:

    How dangerous is it to wish for the speed of light to be increased to an extent that inter-stellar travel becomes feasible from a time-to-get-there perspective?

    Horrifyingly dangerous.

    Remember E = mc2 ?

    The energy locked up in any piece of mass is proportional to the square of lightspeed.

    You just tweaked c by 10%? Great: the light from all the spontaneous supernovae will begin reaching us in a few years! But first, you'd better have some sun block -- you just turned up the sun (not to mention melting down all our nuclear reactors, heating up the Earth's core (which is partly heated by radioactive decay) and destroyed all our electronics).

    160:

    I submit that your wishes #1 and #2 are monstrous. Why wish for the mentally ill to die, rather than get better? (Here's a hint: there's quite a lot of evidence that schizophrenia, sociopathic personality disorders, and autism have low-level organic components which may in fact be curable. Nor is it anything but insulting to put schizophrenics or autism patients in the same basket as sociopaths.)

    161:

    Ta for That ..I've had two bouts of clinical depression. Decided that the second one was one too many and took early retirement just after the Year 2000 after having decided that a Third Time would not be third time lucky, and, right now - after having read that post from Glen Murie- I am unreasonably angry .. must go away, Drink wine and Black Coffee whilst finishing my Cheese and biscuits ... must ' Control FIST OF DEATH ' this later from Dilbert.Your response was so much more temperate than mine would have been... much practice I suppose.

    162:

    1) 10000 years supply for all mankind of all materials at present usage rates that will run out in less than 10000 years. I'll have a bit of the gold myself, so I can have money.

    2) A viable design for moderate cost large institutional fusion - just low enough cost to display fossil fuels.

    3) High capability ai - that will answer most questions given in english, with designs if need be, with no ego, a strong sense of ethics, and that must obey the law by design. It will not help with the creation of new ai that may be dangerous.

    163:

    Can i wish for my Transnistrian Infundibulator to arrive early? Christmas is not nearly close enough.. and i've got the cats to de-worm.

    164:

    Okay, let's play devil's advocate here ...

    Wish (1) -- you just upped the partial pressure of O2 in the atmosphere high enough to combust all the extra fossil fuels you wished for. It's now probably high enough that waterlogged organic matter (us) is combustible, too.

    Wish (2) -- you seem to have a touching faith in the 1950's propaganda about fusion reactors being free of unfortunate side-effects like, oh, neutron-activated secondary radioisotopes.

    Wish (3) -- you want a panopticon singularity!

    165:

    I can't see a situation in which granting someone 3 wishes can end well - unless the wishes are so trivial as to become irrelevant (A biscuit) or so personal as to provide only that change which can be caused directly by an individual (heal my broken back so I can walk). Anything with a larger significance (and, honestly, even the two above) can have a whole slew of unintended consequences. So, given that, and assuming the 3 wishes must be utilized, I'll fall back on an old standard - and one as harmless to everyone else as I can figure.

    Grant me:

    1.) The serenity to accept the things I cannot change

    2.) The courage to change the things I can

    3.) The wisdom to know the difference.

    166:

    A little selective perhaps? The full quotation goes ...

    " The Serenity Prayer (full text)

    God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference; living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not a I would have it; trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you forever in the next. Amen
    Reinhold Neibuhr 1894-1971), American theologian "


    Still, fair enough, I don't like the ' Surrender to your will ' part...though there's a lot to be said for being " .. supremely happy .... forever" so, I too would pick and choose.

    167:

    1) Yes, I've forgotten to include 'in stable form', which ought to mean solid. Wish spells are really hard.

    2) I've already specified reasonable cost. I ought to mention that that includes whatever safety costs are imposed. I should think it can be made safe.

    3) The ai has a god level understanding of ethics, so maybee not.

    I think I've got one out of three right.

    168:

    " I think I've got one out of three right." .

    Really?

    Define 'Reasonable cost ' reasonable to whom ? ..and also ' safety ' What constitutes 'Safety ' to the supernatural entity of your choice ? And then there's " ethics " Tricky that one ..what ethics. Things can get a little complicated hereafter " what where whom " a quick web search result ...

    http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/the-laws-of-yichud/05.htm

    169:

    Ah, the good ol' Serenity Prayer. I actually debated pulling from that as well.

    Believing Godlike magical powers to be a bit outside the rules of our current discussion, heightened foresight and intellect (Powers of Discernment) certainly seemed a very attractive alternate choice.

    But simple altruistic wishes (while certainly bound to have unseen far reach consequences) are less likely to have large manifest downsides, and so I'd probably still go for such.

    For instance, a wish that all of humanity was a bit (oh, let's say 20%) more driven to educate themselves, to seek an understanding of the physical world around them, and to share that knowledge freely with others.

    Definitely there are many who do this already, but there are also vast numbers of others who have no interest whatsoever in learning about the nature of the world that they live in.

    170:

    for all the people who replied they did not want to wish because literature has proved wishing has "always ended with regret"... None of the people who wrote those stories ever were granted wishes.

    My three wishes:
    1. Stop time if I so desired
    2. Change form when I decide (invisibility,shape-shifting)
    3. Had the ability to grant wishes

    171:

    as a DM wish spells ended up being dreaded by the players in any campaign..... muhahahaha!!
    I ALWAYS got em

    172:

    Absolutely of course selective - And let's be honest - to even excerpt your selection of Neibuhr's full text prayer without the context within which he wrote it can be seen as disingenuous.

    By pulling out the portions which I frankly don't care about - Jesus, eternal afterlife of joy, I stuck with the 3 things I actually care about and for which I can see a (non-harmful) use.

    :-)

    173:

    Once time stops, how do you see? Hear? Breathe? Does gravity effect you? How? Why? How do you move through the now-still air?

    174:

    Once time stops, how do you see? Hear? Breathe? Does gravity effect you? How? Why? How do you move through the now-still air?

    These are wishes- I'd guess it is safe to assume we are ignoring some of the more basic laws of physics. I imagine that, in spirit, the wish is actually phrased-

    "Magically Stop time if I so desired, and be able to magically move around."

    However, the consequences of just stopping time without our good friend 'Magic' are fun to think about.

    175:

    No, OGH seems to be trying to think about the unintended consequences of the wishes. (See, for example, what happens when you change the speed of light.)

    I can't help asking those questions when I read about someone altering time somehow, and it's all due to Daniel Keys Moran.

    176:

    That's the optimistic reading.

    Arguably, the speed of light is just the distance/time conversion factor. On that basis, the genie is at liberty to implement your wish by stretching the whole universe spatially by 10%, while leaving the laws of physics unchanged. Good luck surviving that.

    177:

    1) Culture style gender fluidity, the ability to change gender at will, over a period of time to become biologically the gender of your choice including any point along the gender spectrum.

    Purposefully not an instant change to stop regret cases, a long (I'm talking months scale) transition to the desired point allows for reflection on the change. Going through transition would give all aspects and secondary sexual characteristics of chosen gender, no getting out of having periods or erectile dysfunction. If birth control is not used, yes you could become pregnant! Preserving personal responsibility ;-)

    (Being transgendered, I'd be happy to end my wishes here ;-)

    2) Post-humanism to take off (with a side order of better-than-natural prosthesis development, above-the-knee for me) so that I can lose this deadweight leg, get a better one and no longer be addicted to opiate pain killers. (My left knee has hurt constantly for a decade now, several major issues with it, I would lose it in a heartbeat if the above were possible)

    3) Socialised healthcare the world over, people should not be treated on an abilith-to-pay basis. I'm biased with having the NHS, but I couldn't imagine living without it. Yes it has its flaws, but importantly it is free at the point of delivery.

    So that's my three choices, selfish I know, but all 3 can benefit others as well as myself.

    178:

    I'd need a good long think about universally beneficial wishes, but I can think of 3 personally beneficial wishes:

    1) 5 seconds warning of anything which will kill, harm or impare me.
    2) Total, absolute and immediate control of my mind
    3) Total, absolute and immediate control of my body

    179:

    "1) 5 seconds warning of anything which will kill, harm or impare me."

    I predict insanity within the first day.

    "3) Total, absolute and immediate control of my body"

    I predict death from not remembering to breath or pulse - total control means that they no longer happen for you. Or any of the other basic living functions that we are not generally aware of (peristalsis, anyone?).

    180:

    I think Beggars in Spain covered about half the wishes mentioned here. It does seem more like "Monkey's Paw" analysis of the consequences of wish fulfillment in retrospect.

    181:

    1. An IQ over 200
    2. The power to see various patterns and their outcomes in ANYTHING at will, such as in people, trends, etc.
    3. Increased Health and Youth for my wife and I so I could use the aforementioned gifts to their max potential.

    182:

    (Also, I don't see any wish coming out totally in anyone's favor. Ask for eternal health and youth and life, you could come out a statue. Ask for 100 million dollars, you could get ton of stolen cash and it's traced back to you. Only gifts of a self-sufficient nature could work out well, such as being able to fix anything, thus you might be able to make a pile of cash doing so. Even a massive I.Q. could have major downfalls, such as insanity as a by product, or ending up like Stephen Hawking. Nothing comes for free...)

    183:

    I'm surprised we've gone this far without mentioning Steve Martin's take on the issue:

    http://snltranscripts.jt.org/86/86fwish.phtml

    "If I had two wishes that I could wish for this holiday season, the first would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing in the spirit of harmony and peace... and the second would be for $30 million a month to be given to me, tax-free in a Swiss bank account.

    You know, if I had three wishes that I could make this holiday season, first, of course, would be for all the children to get together and sing... the second would be for the $30 million every month to me... and the third would be for all encompassing power over every living being thing in the entire universe.

    And if I had four wishes..."

    184:

    One of them would have to be for a Portal Gun a la the video game Portal but with the abilty to create many portals and link them to each other at will. Infinite free energy from perpetually falling water or pressure difference. Free transport to anywhere you can point to. Oh yeah, it needs to be able to make portals big enough to get my spaceship through now I've solved the travel time problem.
    While I'm at it I want a full understanding of human level cognition to the point of being able to reverse engineer it

    185:

    1. All of the powers and abilities attributed to the Christian God.

    #2 and 3 are thereafter irrelevant.

    It's probably hubris to think I would be benevolent, as I can't really see there from here.

    186:

    Piling onto the consequences of increasing the speed of light; that's the ratio of electrical to magnetic effects you're changing. Although it isn't often taught that way, electromagnetism is closely linked to special relativity. If you think of special relativity's length contraction in a moving frame of reference and consider that negatively charged electrons are moving relative to the positively charged atoms in a wire, the frame of reference affects whether the wire is electrically neutral. Maxwell's equations can be written more concisely in special relativity, by introducing a 4-D antisymmetric tensor where the electrical field components are in the fourth row and column if time is the fourth component of space-time, and the magnetic field components are in the 3x3 purely spatial antisymmetric tensor. Seeing how beautifully that works out almost made me want to switch from engineering to theoretical physics. Which brings me to the point that, regardless of what changing the speed of light would do the stars and to nuclear energy, electric motors and generators would need to be beefed up if you increased the speed of light. If you increased it a lot, they would no longer be practical, and that seems far too high a price for making star travel only slightly less intractable.

    My response to the three wishes trope is that it is ill posed, both in the sense that, semantically, the question is not posed clearly, and in the Hadamard sense that small changes in the constraints give rise to very different answers (at least from me). Beings powerful enough to grant the more interesting things I might wish for would require a major adjustment to my world-view, so I'd have quite a lot to ask before I could decide what to answer. If I have to use up one or all my wishes just to understand what I can wish for, so be it. I don't think I'd wish for anything in a way that violates Charlie's golden rule.

    187:

    I wish I had gone for this instead, in retrospect. It's equivalent to mine, but more specific.

    188:

    Charlie, I'm afraid your third wish would be voided by your first wish. The key was in your second wish, wanting anything wished for to be achievable by human efforts. The problem is, there are people who will want the things without having to put in human effort, and they would see the eradication of wishes and not being positive for them since it would eliminate their shortcut to whatever they would normally have to put in work for.

    189:

    I think you misunderstood my three wishes. (They work best if expressed in symbolic logic; they're intended to stack and selectively prevent certain effects. In other words, I'd rather see fewer but positive outcomes than more outcomes (including some negative ones). A situation where no wishable outcomes are ultimately forthcoming is therefore entirely acceptable.)

    190:

    Wait, we're not low on oxygen.

    191:

    Those are meta-wishes. I would've thought that the wish physics that precludes wishing for more wishes would probably also preclude other kinds of meta-wishes too.

    Poster 1's 3rd wish (to reverse 1 and/or 2) is the same as wishing for n more wishes, only with n negative. So unless there's an arrow of wish counts, that's ruled out by the no-more-wish-wishes stipulation.

    And now the word 'wish' is starting to sound weird.

    192:

    1. Long, healthy life for myself and my family
    2. Free from financial stress
    3. To forget I ever made these wishes.

    193:

    Charles, your first wish prevents nearly any improvement.
    Think of the distress caused to a sadistic serial child rapist in a certain culture where it is traditionally legal, if he can't do it any more or if those he tortures don't feel pain any more.
    If you are wanting to better the humanity, that implies moral absolutism; not everyone values the betterment.

    1: everyone having an alternative Earth free of its own sentient life, and with otherwise the qualities and items that the person desires, to which they can teleport themselves and by mutual consent other people and on which they can teleport around.
    2: immortality.
    3: no more magical wishes to anyone, or at least not ones that'd interfere with 1 and 2.

    194:

    I've seen a couple of wishes for IQs of up to 200, which is somewhat baffling. Mine is around 200. It's fairly high, enough so that most of the people you meet on the street will seem unfortunately dim. It's not terribly rare or magical.

    The potential range of available wishes does not seem to be highly constrained so, what to wish for?

    The option of eternal youth has a certain charm, to be sure. Of course, people come and people go. Societies change. Civilizations rise and fall. Life isn't always exactly pretty and, err, extinction events happen.

    Small changes or large changes? Hmm... is it even moral to change the nature of the human race? Let's go with spot mods. Might ought to be able to make some changes with that. Kinda need wisdom, whatever that is, first and foremost, to know what's sensible and what's right. Perhaps the (heh) modest ability to restore and reshape your own body, indefinitely, without necessarily having to be conscious at the time. Teleportation.

    Those add up to mildly godlike powers, I guess, with a lot more sense than the usual gods seem to manifest.

    195:

    Supposing wisdom doesn't come with emotional regulation, that may need to be second. A drunk, angry, depressed demigod is nothing to mess with.

    196:

    Your IQ is around 200 and it's not terribly rare or magical?

    200 IQ is in the range of 6 to 7 standard deviations from the mean at the positive end so you're a member of a group between 0.0000001973/2% and 0.0000000002560/2% of the total population. So in a population the size of the United States (approximately 300 million) you'd be a member of a group of 30 people with a similar IQ to you if your IQ is 190 or 0.0384 people if your IQ is 205. This does imply that for it to be likely to find a person with an IQ of 205 you need to be looking at a starting group of just under 4 billion people.

    "Not terribly rare", where do you live?


    197:

    There's this original 'intellectual maturity' IQ scale which doesn't relate to intelligence, and on which you can have meaningless IQ of 200 when little and then grow up to be average guy.

    By modern definitions, though, the IQ of 200 is one in 4.8 billions (SD=16), or one in 76 billions (SD=15):
    http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/IQtable.aspx

    BTW. It is unclear that IQ=200 individual is more capable at problem solving than IQ=150 individual. Runners are a good example. A good runner runs a lot faster than the average guy, but the best runner in the world is barely faster than your highschool champion. Animals give good example as well. A smartest chimp in a trillion still won't have human sized brain.

    198:

    to clarify: what i meant is that while the iq=200 individual does the test better (has fewer errors in a set time), it is unclear that he can solve any interesting problems that iq=150 individual can not, in the way how iq=150 individual can solve problems that iq=100 individual never could.

    The runner at 'running quotient' of 150 runs MUCH faster than runner at RQ 100 (perhaps even twice faster), but the runner at RQ 200 (world champion) is on order of being 1% faster than RQ 150 guy.

    199:

    "A situation where no wishable outcomes are ultimately forthcoming is therefore entirely acceptable"

    It isn't acceptable to someone who would be robbed of using wishes, which would mean that the outcome of the wish would not be positive to them, and, as they would be affected this would then mean you would still violate your first wish with your third. Human laziness and greed would keep you from being able to have that third wish fulfilled. You might intend for the wishes to be perfectly stackable, but I'm just pointing out that the way the third wish is worded, it wouldn't work.

    200:

    Wish 1: My children will live long (>75 years), happy, healthy lives.

    Wish 2: To dance (in 45 years) at one of my grandchildrens' weddings.

    Wish 3: To drop (and keep off) that stubborn 20 lbs.

    201:

    Since I can't count Charlie --- "I'd wish to put an end to this silly wish nonsense, unless people wish only for things that every human being agrees makes them better off" --- I have to say that Jim G. would qualify for the "only sane person on this thread" award.

    The caveat is that I haven't read it that closely.

    202:

    pretty much the same things that are in the serenity prayer.

    the strength to change the things i can.
    accept the things i cant change
    the wisdom to know the difference

    203:

    Evan at #165, and Nadine at #202 have both quoted the usual form of the wish(es) as per OGH's rules, rather than the full prayer (which I'll admit to not having known either).

    204:

    I guess I threw a curveball into the mix. Apparently, I'm a bit behind on current IQ ratings. I'm more like 1 in 250, which is smart enough to be awkward in general company, and not remotely rare in the world community.

    The whole point, eh, hello? Of the question was just to stir up some thought about what you'd most like if it didn't really come with any strings attached and to see how it might compare to your neighbors. There is no value in quibbling about the question. It's an open-ended thought game to see what dreams might come.

    I won't say there aren't any wrong answers because, y'know, changing the universal constants is likely to do things we won't like to the whole universe, which includes us. But, gedanken experiment. Go with the flow.

    205:

    1. Erase all cliches from existence.
    2. The ability to snap my fingers and ala Road Runner have an Anvil or Bag of Horse-Sh** fall on the person of choice.
    3. Eliminate those annoying 15 second of awkward quiet in bars.

    206:

    1. Integrity: Over the next 5 years people gradually increase their personal integrity by say 10% a year (as in telling the truth, avoiding self deception and internal contradictions, etc; I make this one gradual as iI'm fully aware this will also lead to an increase in mental illness of those not able to be with a closer expereince of reality - but I think the other benefits will drawf this)

    2. We get a scientific breakthrough in the area of governance and understanding and using power (per Karls great post) such that we know how to create power structures that are healthy and beneficial

    3. The top 10 million people in the world who are causing the most harm to others as I would measure it (i.e. serial killers, dictators, white collar criminals whose actions indirectly cause the death or harm of millions, certain heads of certain religions) all die of natural causes over the next 2 years

    Keen to hear any negative outcomes that might arise from this wish list...

    207:

    A clean, practical, and essentially unlimited energy source.

    Practical and affordable FTL travel.

    A Jack Russell puppy.

    208:

    Excellent! Now I can make clean, practical FTL superbombs capable of releasing a galaxies worth of mass as energy per explosion.

    209:

    Oh come on, Jack Russell puppies are destructive, I grant you, but not that bad.

    210:

    They're more a "kills people but leaves buildings standing" weapon.

    211:

    One of my uncles has had a succession of Jack Russells, and IME the main risk is of them attempting to lick you to death! ;-)

    212:

    I have an adult Rat Terrier (a rescue), that's kind of like a Jack Russel on a mission. When he takes up his Aspect and shows his Attribute he's the nearest thing to perpetual motion we're ever likely to see. Destruction's just a side effect.

    213:

    1. That the global scientific community (and to a lesser extent everyone else) map and fully understand human cognition (i.e. cognome)
    2. That the global scientific community (and to a lesser extent everyone else) map and fully understand human sociology (i.e. socionome?)
    3. That the global scientific community (and to a lesser extent everyone else) map and fully understand political science (what are the trade offs of each possible system).

    If I had 4, I'd add the human proteome. That's about the best I can come up with in 30 seconds. I would hope it would help us better ourselves.

    214:

    Um... Charlie, the partial pressure of O2 in the atmosphere really doesn't need to be changed to combust all the fossil fuels man can ever burn. Where do you think the O2 in the atmosphere originally came from? It's the oxygen half of CO2, after the carbon was lost to buried organic matter. A tiny tiny fraction of this is fossil fuel. Most is carbonate rock.

    If we burned all the fossil fuels in the crust and the whole biosphere to boot, we'd reduce the partial pressure of oxygen in the atmosphere by well under 0.1%. Not worth worrying about.

    215:

    1. I wish to be broadcast on every channel of every television set, and to be heard on every radio station for the duration of one hour, starting now. If possible, to also be teleported somewhere awesome and remote, like Ayers Rock.

    Then I would explain who I was to the world, and how I had three wishes, the second of which I would use to prove this.

    2. I wish to happen to not die so long as I could think of a question for which I could not think of a satisfactory answer (satisfactory to me).

    Then I would go about jumping off Ayers Rock or doing other things that should be fatal, to test the second wish. Then I would wish humanity farewell and apologize for any possible negative ramifications of my third wish.

    3. I wish to meet God here and now.

    Specials

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