In film and literature, time travel is a fairly common theme. Although it’s a idea that exists solely in science fiction (until proved otherwise), here is a question that is very rarely asked: if humans still exist in the future, whey don’t they try and pay us a visit?
One possible response has been offered on the website Quora, an interesting forum on which large numbers of people respond in detail to various questions. This response was offered by Yishan Wong, who currently works for Reddit, having previously worked for Facebook and Paypal, following his studies in computer science in Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, US.
If we are to take the history of the earth and imagine it in 24 hours, humans have only been present for 0.08% of the time, while the last 5,000 years, the so called “most interesting” age of humanity, represents only 2% of this 0.08% -a mere drop in the ocean. It is a minuscule amount of time, especially when we consider that the largest part of human history is yet to come, save for a major catastrophe. For Yishan Wong, the relatively short duration of this period poses a technical problem in terms of time travel.
“When Time-Traveling Future Man is spinning the little time-destination dial to decide where to go on his time-travel backpacking adventure, our entire “period” is probably smaller than one little “tick” in the dial.”, he explains.
Yishan Wong believes however that this is only one reason among many others. According to him, our current era is probably not interesting enough to attract a potential time traveler. For example, when we consider landscapes and countrysides, why would anyone come to our era, while during the dinosaur age, the views are bound to be far more impressive! Yishan Wong follows up with a second example: why would anyone come and visit beaches that have been ravaged by urbanisation and tourism, when these same beaches would have been much cleaner, calmer and more beautiful a few centuries ago?
However, there is no doubt that in the event that a time traveler from the future was to come and visit us, they may have more in mind than countrysides and sandy beaches. However, as for our technology? The future is promising and progress is continuous. For Yishan Wong, if people from the future can travel through time, it simply means that their technology is far more advanced than ours, meaning our current ‘amazing developments’ are likely to hold little interest for them.
“So the likely reason that time travelers from the future aren’t visiting our period is (other than time travel perhaps being physically impossible) that we’re just not that interesting, and we’re not really that large. It’s only temporal-centric egotism that makes us believe otherwise.”