LESSONS AT THE EDGE OF TOMORROW: LIVE, DIE, REPEAT

Edge of Tomorrow is a 2014 science fiction film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. It’s set in a future where most of Europe is under the control of a voraciously destructive and technologically superior alien race. Cruise plays Major William Cage, a public relations officer, with no combat experience. He is forced to join battle operations against the aliens. He is killed in combat, but finds he is in a strange time loop that sends him back to the day preceding the battle every time he dies, with some memory of events.

Cage teams up with special forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Blunt) to improve his fighting skills through repeated days. All the time they’re looking for ways to defeat the extra-terrestrials.

Cage slowly builds his knowledge and skills across ever lengthening time in the battle zone, before returning to start all over again. He convinces and carries Vrataski with him. They win the day and defeat the alien horde.

Okay. It’s Groundhog Day with aliens and weapons of mass destruction. No Bill Murray. No Andie McDowell. No Punxsutawney Phil (the titular groundhog). I digress. My point is that, like Murray’s Groundhog Day character, Cage builds knowledge and skills across an ever-expanding passage of future time. He ‘grows’ his moments of truth (good and bad) by learning from them.

Now, physics has established that time is irreversible, even at the quantum level. But, there are large (and pointy) ‘arrows of time’ emerging across the natural environment, politics, economics, society and technology. So, it is perhaps wise for to do a little forecasting about what is to come and to acquire some knowledge and skills that, if not from the future, may protect us going forward?