1. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    Inventions from the future

    Discussion in 'Research' started by jwideman, Feb 17, 2013.

    I have a protagonist from hundreds of years in the future that is trapped in our time. I'll come up with the invention, but how would she go about profiting off the invention without becoming famous or anyone noticing she doesn't have a social security number?
     
  2. Lunatia
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    Lunatia Member

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    She could pretend to have amnesia and nobody can claim otherwise. Here comes the fun bit, or at least, the fun bit for me: You can research how a person with complete loss of memory would go about creating a new life if there exists no trace of them to start with. Do government allow for this sort of scenario?

    Otherwise, if she's an anti-hero or just plain evil, she can steal someone's identity. Happens all the time, sadly.

    Not becoming famous, that's a bit more tricky if it's a groundbreaking invention. But with a new identity, nobody can link her to her future (yet younger) self.

    Good luck. :)
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe if she's from the future, it would be a simple matter for her to hack into the Social Security computer system and give herself a number with no one being the wiser.

    As for not becoming famous, the same technique may yield a solution. She could set up a completely fake identity - a fake person - and that fake person would be responsible for the invention. In "The Shawshank Redemption", Andy creates a fake identity to steal the warden's money - you could handle it like that.
     
  4. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Before computers were common place, old bikers used to search in graveyards for babies who died about the time they were born. Since the baby had no recorded social security card, drivers license, etc., that infant had a clean slate.

    With the baby's birth certificate, the biker then applied for all other forms of identification under that name.

    If he was later arrested on some beef that looked like serious prison time, he went home, grabbed his "BOB," which means bug-out-bag (which was also stuffed with money, ammunition, etc.) and just climbed aboard a bus.

    Before you laugh, there's a lot of bikers I haven't seen in decades...
     
  5. BlueJay27
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    BlueJay27 New Member

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    Is it even necessary for her to have a social security number? If she doesn't want to be famous then it's not like she has to stay in the boundries of the law. She's from another time, which may as well be another world, so would today's ethics and laws resonate with her at all? A lot of this stuff will come to you when you've decided what kind of person you want her to be, not to mention what you want the invention to be (whether it's meant for good/bad/neutral particularly).
    Don't forget that your character doesn't have to be instantly a bad person just because they deal with bad people, either.

    Oh, and just because I'm interested, have you thought out how the mechanics of time-travel are going to work in your story? I'd be careful. If the invention she creates in our time is of technology comparible to what is new in her own time then isn't it likely to create a paradox (as her own time would become even MORE advanced, surely)? Ooo, or do paradoxes split into parallel universes?

    ...

    You have to send over a copy when it's done. :p
     
  6. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    If she is interested in profit, but not fame, then she would just need to sell the design anonymously to a corporation that operates in that area. Companies would be more than willing to plop down an island of money for a future technology.

    As far as social security number and whatnot, well, once you have an island of money, that wouldn't be a problem. With enough money, anything is possible. ;)
     
  7. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    I gave this one some more thought, based on some of your answers.
    Paradox figures pretty heavily in this story. I can't ignore it in just this one instance so she can profit off future technology. I was thinking she'd trade a simple, to her, invention for stock in a tech company about to boom.
    Maybe what I should be asking is how someone from the future can make a living without violating paradox?
     
  8. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Alternate timelines explains this with no problem.

    Timeline A: George Smith invents a machine that regrows limbs. He profits and all is fine.

    Timeline B: Jennifer takes the machine, enters the past and invents it herself, causing George Smith to have no reason to invent it, and he moves on with his life and everything is fine.

    The only problem being that Jennifer can't go back to Timeline A, because going tithe future would just keep her in Timeline B.
     
  9. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Maybe that's the hook, it's a sub-plot.

    Perhaps the person from the future does find a new identity, and profits. In so doing he/she alters the future to such an extent that their own "Plan B" is damaged.

    The conundrum of "shooting your own grandfather."
     
  10. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Like I said, you shoot your grandfather, and now you're living in an alternate future without you in it. Your 'home' future still exists, just without you.
     
  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Natch I'm thinking Star Trek - what else? But consider The Return Home as an example. Scotty and Bones give the secret for the discovery of Translucent Aluminium to a company director, and their excuse for not changing the course of history - they didn't know who invented it anyway - why not this guy. Also they could have asked for money instead of a few panels of the stuff and thus avoided the whole becoming famous and worrying about taxes side of things.

    Also, if you want to get a social security number and not have to do cemetary checks etc, and if you have the resources, emigrate. The US will take foreigners if they come with the right credentials. So my advice, give your character a background in a foreign country where there's poor records and a good reason to leave, you might want to rustle up a few degrees while you're at it, and then emigrate to the US. If you speak English and have a few mill in the bank, I don't think they'd get reject your application. After that you have a completely legit SSN.

    Also, with any invention you'd have to be careful to make sure first that it isn't so far advanced on what current technology allows to be unmanufacturable - think turning up in Victorian England with the schematics for a computer etc.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    she can enlist someone to front for her... or, as noted above, assume the identity of a deceased person, as criminals often do... and if she wants to remain anonymous, she can submit the device for patents/sale through an attorney and keep her identity secret... for a while, at least, since in this day and age nothing stays secret for long...
     
  13. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    That won't work because that ignores paradox, which is REAL important. I'll give a bit away:
    In her future, she will have a son. He invents a device that is integral to time travel. In the far future, a time traveler goes back to her time before she has the kid and by accident she gets sent back to our time. She is protected by paradox until she returns to her own time. Realizing this, she decides to wait it out. Like any good time travel story, it will mostly be about her coping with living in a time she only understands via history books. But there will also be other elements centering around her temporary immortality.
     
  14. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    This discussion all depends on how you define time paradox in your story. You said she is immortal because of the time paradox but i don't think it works that way normally. If so then are you suggesting she intends to live hundreds of years without forming any personal relationship or affecting the world in any way whatsoever in order to finally reach her original time period and actually live her life? Because if she affects the world in any way, let alone bring about a future invention,she will kick-start a ripple effect that will split the timeline and even if she lives that long she won't reach her original timeline and she may even never be born. For this kind of setting the first thing you should cement in your mind is the clear boundaries(or as clear as something like that can be) of the time paradox effect.
     
  15. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    Hmmm... that's a good point about personal relationships. I hadn't considered that. I might have to go back to the drawing board a bit.
     
  16. BlueJay27
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    BlueJay27 New Member

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    If you split the story into parallel universes (each time time travel is used, even if it's not a major point) then whatever path is taken can be taken knowing that each world is going to run its course respectively.

    On the other hand, if she's going back in the same universe then could it not be that she understands the mechanics of time-travel, just well enough to know that anything that will happen has already happened, therefore she could go back and take credit for something knowing it was her who had created it all along. It does require a kind of fatalist approach to how life is lived out, though. And of course that knowledge could destroy the world if it got out.
     

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