Now You Know What I Think

3. February 2010 18:31
by nickolay_kolev

Time machine was never invented

3. February 2010 18:31 by nickolay_kolev | 62 Comments

I am about to disappoint you. It is that simple. Time machine was never invented.

What I imply, when I use the word ‘time travel’ is to be able to move back and forth in time, somewhat similar to the way we move in space. In other words you pick up the time-travel bus and instead of arriving at work, you arrive yesterday or tomorrow (could be at work, no problem of course, for this discussion we are not interested in the space aspects of your adventure).

In school, when studying special and general relativity theory, people usually use the so called ‘twin paradox’ to give an example of ‘time travel’ in the future. This is more like a one way ticket to the future for a near-light speed traveler. The interesting question is how you manage to travel both directions – to the future and to the past. ...

I don’t want to discuss the physical aspect of the phenomenon. I suppose it is an interesting exercise to try to proof or disproof time travel is possible using science methodology. But I want to bring to your attention something I think is the proof that time travel is not possible, which is based on human nature.

Everything we create, invent and use gets commoditized at some point. It is a matter of time and the number of deployments. If you have enough customers paying for a product, prices go down and the development gets to the point everybody can afford it.

What this means is that with time, more and more people will consume the product or the service that was once expensive and was a privilege to very limited rich eccentrics. Time machine, if it was ever invented and created, shouldn’t escape this commoditization process and should become available to the mass market.

You might argue that because of the implications this machine can make to the Universe, its use would be regulated and limited to only skilled and certified people. That might be true for the year X. For year Y or Y+1000 that is most likely to be not a concern, simply because human beliefs and value systems or governing of things would change . Even if everything holds for so many years, it is impossible to be 100% free of errors and mistakes.

The result of somebody making an error would be disclosure of the existence of the machine all over the time stream.

I don’t believe it is possible to hide such a product from mass public and consumption for to long, which means that if it existed, we should see time tourist all over the space and time.

There is one more implication with time travel. Let’s assume you have the time machine at your disposal to play with. When you decide ‘when’ to go and push the ‘Go!’ button, you will separate from your time stream. Since time has to exist for you too, you will essentially create a new time stream. Now, if everybody that has such a toy generates a new time stream, the question will be not only ‘when’ you want to arrive, but also in which time stream you want to arrive. This is a real problem, unless you have a way to lock down to the signature of one of these time streams during your time travel.

What happens if the time stream you were locked in turns out to be a temporary time stream created by another time traveler like you, and disappears before you arrive in that time stream? This can get really complicated and at some point you will lose the sight of the master time stream, the one that this whole mess started from. This is why you should see time travelers looking for directions all over the place and time.

As a result time travelers will be present not only at or after a certain year, but they will be known to exist in the past and should be mentioned in the documents from the past. Of course, we should already know this, since we should have seen a time traveler in our time too. In other words, time machine once invented and created should exist during the whole human history - past, current and future.

Since we haven’t seen a single time traveler yet, we can safely assume that this means nobody invented nor created such a device as a time machine.

Of course there is still the possibility that it is going to be created, but can only travel in the future, not in the past. This is more like jumping into the future, not really instant time travel, as we see it in all Sci-Fi movies.

Another possibility would be that we are at the ‘front’ of the time wave and there in nothing before us, so it is up to us to invent it. This puts us in a very special position, which sounds very unlikely. It is very humanly to think that way, but very unlikely.

As I said, sorry to disappoint you, but wrist watch kind of time travel devices don’t exist and never will.

Update (Feb. 08.2010): Well, I decided to check what Wikipedia has to say about time travel. I entered 'time travel' and sure enough - there was "Time travel' article discussing this interesting matter.

It got really intresting, when I got to the section named 'Tourism in time'. What made it really interesting was that Stephen Hawking (and I) in fact used the same argument to defend the idea that time travel was impossible. Also he said that time travel might be possible only in specific spacetime region that is 'wraped in the right way', which is somewhat close to waht I said that we might need special conditions to explore such a phenomenon.

At least I lost the first place for a new idea to a great person like Stephen Hawking! But hey - he was doing this lifetime long, for me it is just in my spare time :).

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