Time travel is possible. Theoretically anyway. Or so I’ve read. The mathematics prove it. The theory of relativity says it so. Yet no one as of today has travelled any when. No one born before today, anyway. But what if time travel were actually possible, beyond theory. What if it was just a matter of attaining more computing power and using the right materials to build the time machine. Perhaps not today, or tomorrow, but let’s say within the next one to two hundred years it had become somewhat practical to do so. How could we prove for sure that someone had achieved it?
Everyone has their story of having met someone that they thought could have come from another time. I remember when I was younger working in a department store. a customer had asked me if we accepted cash. Another time, I received a spam email from a supposed time traveller who needed parts for his time machine. This one I was more inclined to believe was true since the traveller never asked for money, only ship parts that most probably still won’t exist until we build a time machine.
There are also several photographic proofs of time travellers from the last 100 or so years. Several ancient ruins seem to depict time travellers or space men who undoubtedly came from the future.
But in all practicality, when you examine the potential costs that would be associated with time travel, at least within the first one-hundred years from the first successful journey, you must contemplate the reason why someone or an entity would want to time travel. Assuming that time travelling has the same potential cost and effort as sending an astronaut into outer space, and the potential repercussion of the action itself, the chances of anyone time travelling is remote at best. Sure, if time travelling was free, everyone would do it, but the purpose would undoubtedly be related to its cost. The most expensive it would be to travel, but more important the purpose would need be.
So someone would not simply travel back in time one week to retake an exam. Not would an individual go back in time to save someone’s life, unless that saved life had profound repercussions.
The Grandfather Paradox
Assuming that today we have discovered time travel and we can send anyone to any point in time. Why would we do it? Obviously, the first experiment would be to test the famous Grand Father Paradox. Would the traveller be able to kill his own grandfather before his mother or father were born? And how would we prove the outcome? Would this result in a split in the time line? One where the traveller is successful. Another where he is not. Another where he is successful, but it doesn’t kill the traveller. And yet another when the traveller ceases to exist, which ponders the obvious question, so who killed the grandfather? And what is a timeline anyway?
Practical Time Travel
But thinking in more practical terms, what would we want to achieve? Assuming we want to change the outcome of the present or near past, how far back would we be willing to go? Would going back and preventing World War I really change what’s happening today, one hundred years later?
Would going back further than say ten years really achieve anything meaningful? You might prevent the death of a loved one, but from a societal perspective, how meaningful is the interference? You have have lived a happier life. And may still if that person hadn’t died in the last ten years.
You could perhaps prevent the extinction of a specie, or bringing back a male and female to the present time to reintroduce. But there’s concerns today about bringing back the woolly mammoth. How would nature react to the reintroduction of a species that has been wiped off the face of the planet.
We’re seeing the slow extinction of the white and black Rhinos by poachers and we aren’t able to stop it now. So how would time travel give them a better chance to survice if we aren’t able to save them when they’re still alive.
Given the potential cost and effort in time travel, one of the only few options is greed. If a mining company that lost out on a bid to mine an asteroid worth quadrillions in US dollars. (Let’s be realistic, when time travel is possible, corporations will be dealing in quadrillions in currency.) They may find it more lucrative to invest in a company on the cusp of completing a time travel machine, go back in time and fix the bid.
Of course, the question becomes, if time travel is a viable alternative, why not just play the stock market and leave the dirty work to everyone else. No one will know you have a time machine, hopefully. Unless, of course, you run into a ton of really good luck. Then you run the chance of someone that will get suspicious. Then there’ll be a scandal
There are so many potential use and scenarios for time machines in the military. You could go back in time and kill a dictator or stop a genocide. Go back and rig an election or sabotage a mission. But in reality, the only use a time machine would have in the military is to destroy the enemy’s time machine before their time machine became functional and destroyed yours. This would essentially become the new nuclear stalemate. Once you’ve destroyed their time machine, how do you prevent them from designing and building a new one. Suddenly, all of your allies and enemies that matter have time machines or are close to completing one. And then everyone is constructing a time machine. And don’t forget, once you’ve travelled back in time, you still need to solve the problem you when back in time to solve.
If you look at the Terminator, going back in time wasn’t enough, the assassination still had to be carried out. It’s even worth nothing that going back in time was probably easier than completing the mission.
When you consider the above implications of the military, the only conclusion I can come up with is that the military already has a time machine today. Built far off in the future and delivered to us today as a preventative measure. If you had a time machine and you wanted to hide it, there is not better place to hide it than in the hands of your predecessors far off in the past.
Time Travel Tourism
If I could go anywhere in time, and I knew I would be safe, I’d want to go see the dinosaurs. Then bring back some real DNA, not that amber stuff. Or immerse myself in Egyptian culture and see who really built those darn pyramids. I certainly wouldn’t travel back twenty years to go shopping at Walmart. There is nothing worth seeing in the last two-thousand years that I can’t read about in a book or have seen a film adaptation. All the important discoveries of the past are written in books.
Also the technology I would be bringing with me would be far more advanced, relatively, than a cell phone sixty years into the past. Who would travel in the past sixty years? Not me. Again not worth the cost and effort.
Going to the Future
Assuming we’re sufficiently into the future to build a time machine., who in their right mind wouldn’t want to visit the future? Go find some cool tech gadgets. See how much of a mess Donald Trump left behind. Did we manage to fend off global warming? Of course, the question is, does the future exist already? Or will travelling into the future create it as we move forward.
Of course, I’m assuming that I’m the only one with a time machine and no one knows about it. But if I managed to build one today, then there aught to be a few in the future that were built by others. Did they ask themselves the same questions I haven’t asked yet, if it would be possible for someone from the past to come for a visit forward? Assuming time travel to the future is possible. Forget the complexities of multiple timelines, or that the universe is continuously replicating itself into parallel universes.
At some point, someone from the past will come knocking to check out what we’re up to. Perhaps hoping to steal some secrets to take back with them to fast forward their discoveries and achievements. If the traveller from the past travelled forward far enough and took back some technology from the future, this could potentially result in a super fast advancement paradox. By the time the past catches up to the future, technology may actually have jumped ahead of schedule.
If a government sent delegates to the future to learn new technologies and techniques, society could potentially jump forward extremely fast. Advancing thousands of years in technological knowledge and experience within the matter of a coupe of hundred years. All the spurts of advancements in our past could have been achieved by time travellers from the future.
At this time, time travel seems more of a reality in outer space near extremely large bodies like a black hole or a wormhole. If we had the potential to accelerate time, as is the more likely scenario, we could use it to our advantage to help us in the construction of ships and other technologies that would otherwise take several hundred years to complete.
Imagine if we found a planet orbiting a star where time runs much slower than our own. Something similar to Miller’s planet but in reverse. Where every hour spent on the planet were seven years back on earth, but again in reverse.
We would send AI robots to build a manufacturing plant on the planet. And our ships and machinery would be built in those manufacturing plants. What would take one hundred years to build, would in actuality take fourteen years.
So if time travel to the past is possible, in all likelihood there is already a time machine somewhere on Earth, orbiting the Earth, or on the Moon, today. Or sometime in the near future. Put there by our future selves as a preventative measure.
But realistically, the human race is more likely to take advantage of time distortions to accelerate the construction of spaceships or a Death Star. I’m not a expert in the theory of relativity, so it’s highly probable that we would never be able to find a body in space with a high enough time distortion to make much of a difference.