A lot of people would jump at the chance to take a ride in the TARDIS, and not just because of David Tennant’s looks. Time travel has fascinated us for decades; in fact, for as long as stories have existed, there have probably been ones about travelling to the future. It’s something so far-fetched, the possibility of getting one up on everyone else by seeing the future, that it’s a common answer to ‘what superpower would you want to possess?’
But would seeing the future, or visiting the past, be a good thing? For a start, you’d have to manage to go through the time period without doing anything to mess up the timeline or cause a paradox. Travelling to 2075 and sleeping with your grandchild isn’t the best way to ensure that the future runs on as planned. And what if you were to find out World War Three began in 2023 after a disagreement between China and Australia over an island discovered in the ocean? Would you, when you reached 2022 in the real timeline, diffuse the situation to prevent 130 million people dying worldwide? Or would you let the future unfurl as planned, keeping the global peace state that came as a result of the war in it’s place?
And what about going back to the past? Would you warn people not to fly on 9/11, or would you challenge Hitler for Chancellor and prevent World War Two? Or something that could result in your real self not being born, causing a giant paradox? It’s a tricky question.
Fortunately, time travel is only a thing of fiction. But as science and technology progresses more rapidly than ever, will such a thing be possible in the future. Not in our lifetime, but how are we to be certain there’s not somebody from the future walking around in 2009, having travelled back from some distant century?