We’ve all heard of the Butterfly Effect: one small action somewhere can be traced to larger effects somewhere else. The idea is that everything touches everything else, because we’re basically living in a soup of molecules (on the planet, anyway-- space is more like a thin broth, not because of absence of stuff --there is, in fact, a lot of stuff in space-- but because that stuff is spread out over a very large volume). Molecules bump into each other all the time, causing reactions to those bumps.
Right now, we can reconstruct causes from their effects at a macro level-- after two cars collide, we can looked at the smashed vehicles and determine which one struck the other, estimating the speed each were traveling, etc. But the ability to do that on the micro-micro-micro-micro level --the quantum level-- is only a matter of sufficient computing capacity. By capturing a model of what is happening right at this moment, it is possible to reach backwards into all the possible combinations of molecular and subatomic collisions, and tell what occurred prior, leading up to the moment.
Not time travel-- there’s no way to go back and modify what occurred. But close-to-perfect time vision. The ability to see everything that happened prior to right now. Everywhere.
The math is staggering. We’d have to account for every atom, worldwide. And there would be some variables, as space introduces externalities to the (not-closed) system-- dust and rock and energy is constantly bombarding the planet, in non-negligible amounts.
But once we nail the formula...nothing that ever happened before would be unobservable.
Forget the end to privacy-- that’s already underway. But the end of ignorance...the end of not knowing. The end of mystery. We will always know exactly what happened.
It won’t be predictive-- human beings are the reason; free will is the chaos in the soup. We add too much randomness to the formula, because we act from motivations other than instinct or reason.
But nothing that has already happened will be shrouded from anyone. We will all know what happened, everywhere, always. The applications and implications are vast-- the ways in which this will change how we behave, interact, and function are almost unimaginable and incalculable.