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Time Travel: ‘Back to the Future’ may one day be Possible, experts say
Dick Pelletier   Sep 1, 2012   Positive Futurist  

“Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to the Time Portal. In a few moments, we will beam your minds 10,000 years into the past at a location what is now Russia, where you will experience the sights and sounds of the Neolithic Revolution as humanity transforms from Hunter-Gatherer to Civilization status.

Your body will remain here in a sleep state, while your conscious mind observes prehistoric human tribal activities on this 30-day journey. We hope you enjoy this exciting time travel adventure.”

Of course, today, this scenario is only fiction; but the recent possible discovery of the Higgs boson by researchers at the Cern Large Hadron Collider, have encouraged a few bold future-thinkers, to believe that the LHC might one day be able to send information with a hypothetical particle called the ‘Higgs singlet’ to another time.

Vanderbilt University researchers Tom Weller and Chui Man Ho believe Higgs singlets have the ability to jump out of our three dimensions of space and one of time, and into a hidden dimension thought to exist by some advanced physics models. By traveling through this hidden dimension, these freaks of nature could move forward or backward in time and then reappear in the future or past.

Future watchers predict that this discovery, combined with research efforts to demystify consciousness, expected to happen by the 2040s; could turn the above Time Portal scene into reality by century’s end.

However, will we ever build machines that can transport human bodies through time? Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku sees this as a real possibility in the distant future. Kaku explains in the video below:

Even though the laws of physics permit time travel, the idea for humans to travel backwards in time is fraught with complications.

Say we go back in time and stop our parents from getting together. This would prevent us from being born; we would not exist, thus our journey in time could not have happened. Scientists call this a paradox. By altering events in the past, we created a present different from the one that already exists.
Clearly, mischievous time travelers from the future cannot change today’s present. People are not suddenly disappearing because a rerun of events has prevented their birth.

Therefore, something else may be stopping future time travelers from disrupting our present, and many experts believe they know what it is: parallel universes, as explained in this Synthesist Chronicles article.

This holds that our universe, as suggested in the Gwyneth Paltrow film, Sliding Doors, can split off into a myriad of alternate universes. If you travel in time and prevent your parents from meeting, you will find yourself in a parallel universe, one where you never existed before, a world where you appear as a time traveler from another universe. But beware; you may never be able to return to your original world.

In addition to traveling back in time for exciting adventures, some believe this technology, with the help of predicted advances in neuroscience, might one day be used to help deceased people regain life.
We would send information-seeking nanobots back in time with instructions to scan the brains of lost loved ones moments before they died; then bring that scanned copy to our time and transfer it to a newly-cloned body. Because we can’t change the past, our loved one’s original body would still die, but a copy of their mind, with emotions and memories intact, would gain a second chance at life in our future world.

Will reviving the dead in this manner ever become reality? Though seemingly impossible, with science advancing exponentially, we are in the midst of the greatest acceleration of change in Earth history.

Every scenario mentioned in this article is consistent with known laws and theories of physics and biology, and are within the capabilities of human comprehension and accomplishment. Many believe we are in position to achieve this future, and much of it could even unfold during our lifetime.

Science fiction stories about space travel inspired us to land on the moon. Will time travel stories inspire us to create real time travel? This writer believes that they will. “Back to the Future,” here we come!

Dick Pelletier was a weekly columnist who wrote about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He passed away on July 22, 2014.


Sending nano robots back to the past would still run the risk of causality problems.

However there is an easier solution—transmitterless reception from the past. Already quantum mechanics researchers have managed to photograph objects through solid walls without drilling a hole in them. The reception of sounds from the past other than by virtue of someone having recorded them may one day be possible. Once that is achieved, pictures from the past may become possible. Eventually, technology may make it possible to snatch a connectome from the past at the moment of death, thus enabling recovery of the hapless individual who has perished.

@John re “Eventually, technology may make it possible to snatch a connectome from the past at the moment of death, thus enabling recovery of the hapless individual who has perished.”

Great observation John. I think this time scanning technology (some call it Quantum Archaeology) may indeed permit resurrecting the dead from the past, someday.

Concerning the grandfather paradox (the causality problems of time travel: if you go back in time and kill your grandfather before he had children, then you were never born and so you cannot go back in time to kill your grandfather), I think it is only a paradox to our limited imagination. For example in Everett’s MWI there is no grandfather paradox: other times are special cases of other universes, so you can only go back to a different branch of the multiverse.

However, as you say, time scanning is _not_ time travel, and it is compatible with fundamental physics as we know it. Implementing time scanning technologies with sufficiently high resolution to copy the dead from the past to the future will be, of course, a huge engineering challenge, but in principle [time scanning + mind uploading = resurrection].

It is actually funny because.. let’s say we could send a quantum sized wormhole to the past.. to revive someone at the point of death, we would need to measure every quantum state in the brain at the same time, this would effectively render the brain electrically dead.

@melis256 re “this would effectively render the brain electrically dead.”

Why? According to most experts, the classical (non-quantum) approximation is good enough to model the brain and the mind. Of course some (e.g. Hameroff) disagree and think that quantum effects are central to consciousness, but I think theirs is a minority position at this moment.

Also, don’t forget that we don’t need a “perfect” bit-by-bit copy of the brain, just one good enough and fit for the purpose of re-instantiating consciousness and memories.

I think perhaps 99%+ of the information encoded in our brain is only used to keep the body alive (breathing etc.) and can be replaced by generic off-the-shelf subsystems while preserving the conscious self.

Great comments, people. I would like to add one thought: in the future, when sending information through time may be possible, intelligence might also advance, which could produce simulations of one’s consciousness, memories, etc.

At least one expert, Ray Kurzweil, has announced intentions to one day revive his deceased father through simulations.

I believe there may be many different approaches towards achieving indefinite lifespans, but humanity will overcome unwanted death at some time in the future.

Comments welcome.

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