"What?!", you may be asking yourself from reading the headline. "Time travel to the past — almost here?! Why haven't I heard about this before?".
Well, like they say — there's a first time for everything. Actually, however, this is not new, just under reported. The subject of time travel itself, however, has gotten plenty of press — the problem is that the greater majority of it is highly inaccurate and outdated theories that have been rehashed for decades. These stories are then aimed at, or even perpetrated by members of "geek" culture. So, it ends up as the blind leading the blind.
Case in point, "Is Time Travel Possible?" by Vishveshwar Jatain writing for 9.9 Media's Digit web site. Not a word or a single phrase that hasn't been in practically every other article about time travel. He starts out talking about how Sergei Krikalev, the Russian cosmonaut, and his being a time traveler to the future due to time dilation.
Jatain's article is rife with little factoids of nonsense, like "Time travel is simple. Step 1: Find a really fast spaceship. Step 2: Try not to die." And of course, he wastes space (though not much) discussing paradoxes (which in reality are scientifically impossible, due to the fact that they violate the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics) would be caused by the same geometry that made Stephen Hawking suggest his chronology protection conjecture, unduly violate causality, and have been proven wrong with calculations, formulas, computer simulations and finally, some of the physical experiments you'll read about later.
He also mentions another time travel cliche — the idea you can't go back in time before the time machine exists.
"In his book, Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You, Marcus Chown states that you can only go back in time so far as when the first time machine was invented, anything before that is unrecorded history. This explains why we aren’t overrun by tourists from the future — doesn’t mean time travel is not possible — just that they can’t reach us in a time before we invent it."
Well, that tells me that Chown hasn't learned to apply quantum mechanics to closed timelike curves, the general relativistic source for that erroneous idea. People like Jatain, who quote that constraint, usually have no idea where it comes from.
It comes from the cowardly position that physicists fall back to because they don't have the guts to actually study time travel, so they rely on theories that are deemed "safe" but won't even get them there — literally like the drunk crawling around on the ground under a street light looking for his keys — because that's where the good light is.
In this case, physicists call closed time-like curves "time machines" because the geometry that they have, which turns space and time into a loop, allowing for limited and controversial, time travel to the past. That's like calling a waterfall a washing machine.
Since you can't go back in time any further than the loop allows, and since these purely conceptual monstrosities are referred to as "time machines," people that don't know any better actually think that it has some relevance to actual time travel science. It doesn't. If you can't take a time machine back before it was invented, guess what? It's not a time machine.
That’s why physicists, who try to call it time travel, I consider rank amateurs on the subject. Experts, and there are very few, know that the basis for true time travel is information theory, not relativity. Here’s an example of what I mean with Michio Kaku. In an interview with a science communicator, Kiki Sanford, Kaku spins his rehearsed line of outdated data and reasoning, completely clueless to how meaningless it all really is.
Kaku suggests massive energy requirements must be met to do time travel, yet they are only a factor because he’s using solutions from equations from General Relativity which no one, who is really interested in practical time travel, even references anymore because there are no practical solutions for time travel in either theories of Relativity. Don't believe me? I'll prove it!
The Special Theory of Relativity is the one that deals with the speed of light and velocity in general. That's where all the comments on Quora.com come from that begin with "If you could go at the speed of light...." usually in reference to a massive time dilation effect as the goal. I reject such notions on their face. Why? Because you would need a space program to even consider such things, that's why! One with propulsion technology not even available at the moment. That's not going to happen, so time travel via special relativity isn't going to happen. Period. The benefit from attempting it isn't worth the cost, anyway. And anyone going around talking about how astronauts and cosmonauts, who've spent long amounts of time in space, are true time travelers ( like Jatain does) because they've experienced so much time dilation, are just advertising their lack of the cognitive ability to work in temporal mechanics. Here's why:
The reasoning behind those comments is based on the Twin's Paradox, where one twin stays on Earth and the other travels out near the speed of light for say, 50 years — whereby when that twin returns — they haven't aged as much as everything and everyone else on Earth, due to time dilation.
That's not time travel; that's age retardation, because the traveling twin has to stay at that velocity for 50 years. It doesn't matter that, due to their accelerated reference frame, that it only seems like, say 5 years. In the viewpoint outside that accelerated reference frame, they were gone 50 years. Hell, you could come up with some form of suspended animation and basically do the same thing far cheaper.
The other problem with that viewpoint is that it ignores the physics of what it would be like to actually be a few seconds in the future. The more a person was in the future, relative to someone else, the more they would begin to fade. Light would not hit them the same way anymore, and the greater the difference, the less they would be in the same reference frame.
When Sergei Krikalev was orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station, people on Earth tracked the platform without ever losing touch with it. So the idea that the Segei, let alone the space station which has been up there longer, is in the future, relative to us, is nothing more than mathematical slight of hand. Put another way, aging, or the lack thereof, does not equate time travel.
The second idea is General Relativity. For example, Kaku mentions that to do time travel, it would take a type 2 or 3 civilization that could harness the power of a black hole. Those stellar objects were predicted by this theory of Einstein's. Problem: the closest black hole is beyond reach at 1,600 light years away, requiring a multi-generational space faring effort to reach it and more than 4,000 years to get back any useful information from that mission.
It is not known whether a warp drive would even help because research into any proposed faster than light propulsion system would have to be done to determine what kinds of effects and side effects would be encountered from its use. Only then would it be possible to determine how much time could be saved due to the fact that time dilation would not play a part, because the flat space-time inside the interior of the warp bubble isn't being accelerated, only the space-time outside under the influence of the bubble. No acceleration, no time dilation. So you're probably having to look at yet another multi-generational effort to reach the closest black hole in order to do what Kaku is talking about. That, or a mission run by robots and AI. Alert Mark Zuckerberg.
To prove my point about Kaku's limited knowledge, at 1:30 on the counter, Sanford begins to ask how would it work so that you would be on the Earth in the past, since you would need to know where the Earth was in space during that past. Kaku, instead of answering the question directly, meanders off into his canned response about the “old man river” of time and how it creates whirlpools and ends up talking about paradoxes, etc. He never answers the question, so I will.
You have to realize that the entire science behind practical time travel isn’t based on Newtonian physics or Relativity, as I’ve mentioned, but on information. Peter Byrne in this interview with NOVA said:
“Everett, coming from this point of view in which consciousness was not 'privileged,' in which he had a paradox that had a mathematical formula backing it up that was not solved by the prevailing notion of a collapse of the wave function, started to calculate using information theory, which had just been invented in the post-war years by Norbert Wiener, Claude Shannon, and some others.
We say we live in the Information Age. Well, it was pretty much born in about 1948, when Shannon and Wiener and others put forth some remarkable theories that said that information has a physical reality independent of any kind of meaning that you might want to give it. And on the basis of that analysis—that information is physical—all modern technology has come into being.”
Everett is the Hugh Everett who formulated the Everett/Wheeler hypothesis which is the quantum mechanical solution that uses parallel universes. So this is the beginning of the information basis, but there’s more.
From this Scientific American article by Tim Folger on John Archibald Wheeler:
“What is reality, then? Wheeler answers his own question with the koanlike phrase 'it from bit.' Wheeler explains the phrase as follows: "Every 'it'—every particle, every field of force, even the spacetime continuum itself—derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely—even if in some contexts indirectly—from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits."
Folger also writes, “Wheeler was one of the first prominent physicists seriously to propose that reality might not be a wholly physical phenomenon. In some sense, Wheeler suggested, reality grows out of the act of observation, and thus consciousness itself; it is ‘participatory.’”
So if the universe is participatory and based on information, then the secret is to determine how to manipulate that information so that the participatory universe gives us the result that we want: time travel.
It is no longer dependent upon energy and matter and is beyond the constraints of relativity theory. This information isn’t coming from some New Age guru, this is from one of the greatest physicists of all time and this is why Michio Kaku is a rank amateur when it comes to time travel theory. He’s hopelessly out of date on it and so is everyone else cited by the popular media.
"How can that be?", you ask. Simple. Because not a single one of them — not Brian Greene, Sean Carroll, Kip Thorne, Stephen Hawking, Paul Davies, Ed Farhi, Paul Halpern, Brian Cox, Jim Morison, Ronald Mallett, none of them is working on making time travel a reality.
So, if you want your 2017 Lamborghini tuned up, do you take it to a guy that's never worked on a foreign car, let alone a Lamborghini? No. Then why listen to a bunch of physicists who have never done any serious work on time travel? And I'm sorry, when the first word out of their mouths is "relativity", they're saying, "Metric tools? What's them? But I got all the latest wrenches, even a couple of them there 3/16ths..."
But I still haven’t answered the Sanford’s question. However, I’ve given the basis for the answer. The answer is that any proper, practical time machine will manipulate the participatory aspect of the universe so that it causes into existence a new, parallel universe copy of the past time period that is targeted. This doesn’t happen in space. It happens on Earth. The information basis for this new parallel universe copy is triggered so it is manifested where the time travel incident takes place.
Conservation of energy laws are maintained with no new entropy introduced, due to the fact that this new parallel universe appears with the time traveler already in it. Thus, practical time travel is instantaneous, seamless and as undetectable in experience, as the constant splitting of reality into parallel universes, is.
This is no longer up for debate — parallel universes have been proven to be real through physical experiments described in Tim Folger Discovers A Time Machine.
Here is Wheeler describing a key component to the time travel puzzle, the delayed choice experiment that appears to change the past.
I determined in my special report to Congress in 2013 (now the book, Paradox Lost: The True Geometries of Time Travel), that Wheeler was wrong but only slightly - the past wasn't changed but instead, new parallel universes were being created with different pasts. Otherwise, you'd have a time paradox which isn't possible, as it violates causality and a number of other things in physics. Besides, I could never find a scientific basis for it. Three years later, I proved it with the Emily and Rachel "retroworldality" experiments which went on to become the Gal's Club series of the Heaven's Falling Project, now detailed in another special report, Changing Worlds Like TV Channels.
As is suggested in Time Folger Discovers A Time Machine, these provide the means for building both of the two main types of actual time machines — the station type, as in the movie, Looper, and the vehicle type, as featured in Back to the Future and NBC's Timeless (not that they would operate as featured, just be one of those two platform types). I deliberately didn't mention the TARDIS from Dr. Who because, as any Who fan knows, the TARDIS is also a spacecraft. A proper time machine does not have to be a spacecraft.
This is where things get interesting. Yakir Aharonov won the National Medal of Science, not long ago. Aharonov’s paper, Two Vector-State Formalism: An Updated Review, has a section dealing with his idea of a specific type of time machine whose actions are based on quantum activity. In the introduction to section 4 of The Quantum Time-Translation Machine, it opens with the following statement:
“To avoid possible misinterpretations due to the name ‘time machine,’ let us explain from the outset what our machine can do and how it differs from the familiar concept of “time machine.’ Our device is not for time travel. All that it can accomplish is to change the rate of time flow for a closed quantum system. Classically, one can slow down the time flow of a system relative to an external observer, for example, by fast travel. Our quantum time machine is able to change the rate of time flow of a system for a given period by an arbitrary, even negative, factor.
Therefore, our machine, contrary to any classical device, is capable of moving the system to its “past.” In that case, at the moment the machine completes its operation the system is in a state in which it was some time before the beginning of the operation of the time machine. Our machine can also move the system to the future, i.e., at the end of the operation of the time machine the system is in a state corresponding to some later time of the undisturbed evolution.”
Then, in the next paragraph he states, “The success of the operation of our time machine depends on obtaining a specific outcome in the post-selection quantum measurement. The probability of the successful post-selection measurement is analyzed in Sec. 4.5. The concluding discussion of the limitations and the advantages of our time machine appear in Sec. 4.6. ”
This, essentially is the concept behind a “quantum trigger.” Based on what a quantum measurement or event is, that measurement triggers a macroscopic result. Very much like what happens in the famous Schrodinger’s Cat gedanken experiment, but the difference being that no superpositional state is required for every system to use a quantum trigger - it could be the reaction to a which-way-path set-up, that triggers the result. Any advanced concept science and technology engineer would recognize the potential, immediately, although those outside that field would be still in the dark, as it were.
Yakir Aharonov’s work is cited by MIT's Seth Lloyd in his paper, The Quantum Mechanics of Time Travel through Post-Selected Teleportation. The point being that Lloyd saw this concept of post-selection that Aharonov came up with and applied it to his team’s computer simulation of closed time-like curves to come up with a working simulated time machine. Lloyd had no intention of trying to design a real time machine...
Based on my experiments, the only thing left is to be able to trigger into existence a new parallel universe copy of the designated past target era, using a quantum trigger attached to another kind of apparatus that would be part of the machine. How to do that is already being researched, but there have been enough options identified that possibilities exist for both stations and vehicles. Both are pretty much the same except a vehicle could be still or in motion, but essentially, it would have to be enveloped in a electromagnetic envelope linked to the function of the quantum trigger.
The envelope would be programmed, another concept based on Wheeler but derived from Nikola Tesla's musings on the potential for a wall of light to affect space and time. Essentially, the process would involve a laser mechanism being the trigger to switch the vehicle from where it is, to the potential signified by the information in the field.
According to Wheeler, the universe is based on information and is participatory. It's just a question of getting it to participate in parallel universe production of the past. Those involved with the research, including myself, have plenty of ideas on how this might happen and, by my estimates, it will happen by 2020.
This is an important observation because everything in it is self-consistent, which then extends into the next and final demonstration — anecdotal accounts for decades of time slips and reality shifts. Due to their unpredictability, the natural phenomena of time slips and reality shifts has been ignored by the scientific community, much like UFOs, however, they have been mentioned in a couple of pop sci books as not violating any rules of physics.
The idea of walking along and then suddenly you’re back in the past — without having to do space travel, is consistent with the way that time travel would manifest. Furthermore, both incidents would involve copies of those times and thus not require the Earth to be in some previous location in space. In other words, you're on Earth, now. You enter a time slip or invoke a time travel operation. Without moving in space, you are instantaneously translated from the Earth, now, to the Earth, then.
Imagine it this way: you see an article that someone has written on a news site and you want that article. So you click on the little envelope icon, put in your email address and click SEND. Now, you check your email and there it is -— a copy of that article. The original is still on the web site, but now you have a copy that you can read without having to go to that site. Time travel is similar. You don’t have to go to where the Earth was when the event you want to see, took place. You can cause that event, that time, to exist where you are and you will be there.
Last chance to grasp it: in some ways, the Earth is like a TV. When you change the channels on a TV, does the TV screen change? What's on it does, but the screen doesn't. If what constitutes the Earth is that it's the third planet in orbit around the sun, what's happening on it at any particular time doesn't change the fact that it's the Earth. So time travel just gives you the remote control...
People who have experienced time slips, many times don’t even realize that anything has happened until they go back looking for a particular landmark and it’s not there. It’s only after checking records or viewing old maps, that they discover that the landmark in question hasn’t existed for a long period of time, sometimes centuries.
So how is this all closer than you thought? Because the only thing left to do is run the experiments that will indicate the best way to trigger into existence new, parallel universe copies of the past. It's not as hard as you may think. The problem isn't really making it happen, as much as it is in the attempt to make it happen. If it works, then we're there and we had better know how to get back if we're not ready when we do it. That's why this is no game, and as the research is moved forward, the question of containment will be the next focus — "Can we make the effect happen where we want without disappearing when we do?"
From my estimation, time travel will not become as common as taking a flight out of town. Once time travel becomes a reliable fact, it will be the most powerful technology on Earth in the history of humankind. Not because of any of the old asinine assumptions about going back in time and changing history, it's been proven impossible to have any causal effects on the present or future.
It means that in the right hands, large portions of the world could become depopulated. Imagine, for example, most of India's "untouchable" population disappearing when given the chance to start over again somewhere else. It's the ultimate, "Stop the world, I want to GET OFF!" and will mean it.
Breakaway civilizations become possible by restarting them in the past somewhere. Forget about Asgardia. Nationalists, separatists, anarchists and rebels of every stripe could all get what they want and leave for better pastures in a parallel past.
It would also mean enormous wealth for those who possess the capability, due to the fact that they could go back in time and mine areas rich in gold and minerals before there were people there, or an EPA to regulate how they do it, and no one here would be the wiser due to the fact that, yet again, there would be no causal link between then and now or any point in the future. I'm just scraping the surface, here. There is so much more...
As a result, any researchers will keep their results secret or risk a possible government intervention, and any researchers smart enough to accomplish time travel will have motives beyond providing time travel to the general public.
The bottom line is they're probably like the two Silicon Valley billionaires allegedly funding research into breaking out of what they believe to be the simulated universe. In other words, escaping the possibility of a future collapse of civilization.
"Time travel is one of those big unsolved scientific questions that forces us to think deeply, and then discover and invent things to turn our vision into a reality...", Jatain says at the end of his article. "Obviously, barring the exception of stumbling upon a functional time machine, it’s unlikely that we’re going to crack the code anytime in the near future, but some day in the distant future, taking a trip in time may be as easy as calling a cab to go downtown."
Yep. Wrong on all counts — but that's par for the course for most time travel stories in the media, as I said. In fact, Nerdist, is currently promoting an article on Twitter by Matthew Hart about a video by YouTuber, Minutephysics, on "logical" plotlines in time travel fiction.
Hart actually states "Minutephysics defines logical consistency in this context as a proper handling of freewill (“time travel to the past, where you can’t change the past”), and only having one timeline (as opposed to many timelines when characters time travel and make new universes)".
Yeah, never mind single timeline time travel violates all kinds of things in physics, as you've read here, and is only logical to people with no understanding of what they're talking about. However, to the nerds, it's logical!
But now, at least you know better...