Time travel technology – what’s in store?

A technological limitation to time travel?

There’s technology all around us – but how does this relate to time travel? I’d hazard the guess that in realising time travel, scientific progress is more limiting than cash – though the scientists may not be so sure about that! I’d counter: most of us carry phones in our pockets not time machines!

Time travel then, for the moment at least, appears either to be out of reach or confined to (science) fiction.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t scientists who are working hard to crack the time travel nut. One of these is Lance Wenner who recently sent me this link to his paper which is his “…life’s study/work in electromagnetic radiation and time.”

It’s titled “Signal Time Travel Dilation TEM Mode Time Machine Creation Theory” and can be downloaded at zenodo.

Do we want time travel?

Time travel - when do we want it?
Image credit: imgflip.com

I must admit that my time travel reading is mostly restricted to fiction, so I’ve not read Lance’s paper yet. But in receiving it I got thinking about the reality of time travel (outside time dilation) and what that might mean. And to be honest, I’m not sure if I’d like time travel to be mastered when I think of all the problems we have in travelling in the spatial dimension.

What’s down the road for time travel?

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel there are an average of 3,287 road traffic deaths a day (source: ASIR). If we escape this, we may fall victim to road rage brought about, for example, by commuters facing an average of 42 hours a year stuck in traffic (source: CNBC).

And this is all when we’re restricted to 2 dimensional travel!

I can only imagine that problems would be much worse when time travelling and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more hazards present than a few pesky time travel paradoxes at work.

Road traffic accidents are worse in some areas and at some times in and at other times and places; maybe the same would hold true for time travel. It’s thought that time travel into the past is harder than time travel into the future – but would it be more dangerous? Are longer journeys (skipping through longer epochs) more dangerous than shorter hops for reasons other than statistical likelihood?

Is there an equivalent of a time travel traffic jam? Is it conceivable that time travellers all wanting to get to November 1963 to witness or (try to) prevent the assassination of JFK will inevitably bottle-neck at 2016 (for example) for some reason?

Freeway versus free thinking

My other concern is admittedly rather ostrich like.

Whilst time travel is fictional we’re free to explore it with our minds. Once it turns to fact, this freedom immediately gets reined in.

Looking again at spatial travel and cars. Vehicle technology is developing at a pace at which I’m sure many of us are completely unaware. (For example, I learnt this only recently – did you know that by putting your foot on the gas pedal you don’t put more gas into the engine?)

But the premise is stagnant. The first fossil fuel car was made more than 130 years ago in 1885. Previously there were vehicles powered by steam, electricity and horses (or other animals). But the realisation of the fossil fuel car constrained our thinking into accepting that this is pretty much it for automotive mobility. Thankfully with environmental awareness this old fashioned way of thinking is now changing (e.g. thanks to these guys) but it’s taking a long time…

Any other complications?

But this is a point in itself – will the first attempts at time travel have environmental impacts? Will we be able to move the time travel technology forwards to make it cleaner, better and safer? Air travel is relatively safe, but insanely bad for the environment; so too is marine shipping. At least in the latter case there are steps, albeit small and slow ones, to clean up. And time travel is much more complicated than a floating a boat. And even birds can fly!

Will the best technology prevail?

Remember betamax video tapes? Superior to VHS tapes? But VHS became the dominant format due to its cheaper price tag, and BAM! No more video formats. This syndrome prevails over several sectors – free thinking, entrepreneurialism reigning until there’s a product ‘winner’ for whatever reason and then all that thinking gets stifled and polarised and everyone drives to work in the same black fossil fuel car and thinks the same as everyone else.

I’d worry that time travel technology would go down the same road.

Rereading this it seems I’ve had a bit of a rant…but at least for now I’m entitled to some free thinking! 🙂


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