Let's assume that I have deduced with a high probability what a certain famous person or organization will choose to do at a near-future date. How can I publish any proof of me having deduced this? The fact that they already have a plan now to make that choice at that future date might prove an unethical behavior or a conspiracy on their part. I would like to ensure that I can prove that it was me who made the prediction, and that the prediction was indeed made before the event.
Of course, if I publish after the event that "I knew it!", nobody will believe me.
If, however, I publish it before the event, it might lead to the following problems:
self-fulfilling prophecy: people might accuse me that the event happened because of the information I published (I "gave them ideas").
self-defeating prophecy: they might become aware of their "plan" being discovered and change it, with me possibly ending up as a conspiracy theorist making wrong accusations.
Of course, I would like to choose the simplest method which works, using technologies the most people are aware of. This is very important, because if the technology used is very complicated, I cannot convince my audience if they don't understand my proof at all.
What I thought of so far, is the following plan:
I write the information as a simple, text-only file. I publish the MD5 hash of this file on twitter, social media, etc., with a short description of "this will happen", maybe with a short description of what a hash is and why I'll publish the information only later. After the event, I publish the "I knew it!" article, with a link to the previously published md5 hash. By using several social media sites to publish the hash, people can reasonably believe the date and time of the publishing. If I only published the hash on a personal website, they might assume that I tampered with the dates myself.
Is there a better way of doing this?
I know that md5 is partially compromised, but I guess it's still a good choice because:
- it has a widespread use, if people have even heard about hashes at all, this will probably be the only one they know of. It also has a lot of implementations, so the average user can more easily check it.
- although it is not completely secure anymore, because someone might forge a different file with the same md5 hash, it should not be the case with textual information. One might pad an executable with unused gibberish until it has the intended md5 hash, but I guess it's impossible to write a human-readable and on-topic text file without any gibberish in it, to make it have a specified md5 hash. Is this assumption correct, and is it likely to remain correct for the foreseeable future?
My approach has two problem areas:
- Is it secure enough from an information security point of view?
- Is it understandable enough that as many people as possible will believe my proof?
Please, if you have alternative solutions, keep in mind the above two different sides of the problem.