One Step at a Time
Of course, nothing actually happens in real time. The general theory of relativity tells us that in the real universe, the principle of simultaneity and the limiting velocity of light require that all events occur in an unambiguous sequence within an observer's unique frame of reference. By definition, events that occur simultaneously cannot affect each other. Otherwise, causality breaks down and you get all sorts of interesting but paradoxical outcomes.
What's material is the reaction time to an event. And reaction times have to be optimized to the needs of the situation and the available responses. Respond too fast and you'll miss or waste resources in the overshoot. Respond too slowly and you'll miss and get shot. Getting this right isn't easy.
This article was originally published on 01-17-2003