Time Travel

The Strange Tale of a YouTube Time Traveler

In the future, there will be artificially intelligent governments. That’s according to yet another alleged YouTube time traveler, who was featured on ApexTV’s channel earlier this month.

It’s a 13-minute-long spiel (which might not even be available to watch, anymore) about what we can expect from society and technology about 4,000 years from now, with one or two dramatic twists along the way.

Now, I’m a fan of both good and bad time travel yarns, so for a moment let’s suspend our disbelief and see how this one stacks up.

In The Year 6000

Our time traveler’s name is never given, but he shows up wearing a blue jacket and a beanie at some “undisclosed” park bench covered with snow. His face, blurred to protect his identity. His goal? He says, “To spread a message about the future.”

It’s almost a familiar tale – he claims to have been a member of a “top secret program to send people forward in time.” This program ran in the 1990s, and used classified time travel technology hidden from the public, which our time traveler here wishes to disclose.

This instantly brings another “top secret” government program to mind: Project Pegasus, which allegedly existed back in the 1970s and, as the story goes, accomplished much the same thing.

But this time traveler didn’t hop back to Gettysburg. He claims to have been sent to the year 6000, a time when technology has become almost magical. Not only has humanity cured “innumerable amounts of diseases,” they’ve developed teleportation, invisibility, and a whole lot more.

The biggest change, he says, involves human immortality. This is accomplished through what is effectively The Matrix. Humans can upload their consciousness to servers and live forever in virtual worlds. This is also, he says, how humans have chosen to proliferate throughout the universe – by uploading and spreading their consciousness out into the cosmos.

Not only that, but the computers their minds are stored on are only the size of atoms. Space is not an issue. I only wonder if he’s ever played a little PC 2game called Soma.

He rattles off a few more things. We’ll have the ability to shrink humans, so they can live in tiny communities and avoid overpopulation (similar to that recent Downsizing movie or, long before that, the Shrinking Man Project). The government will be controlled by an artificial intelligence that can “predict things with 100% accuracy.”

Time travel itself will be made available to the average person, allowing anyone to travel through time and visit historical events. What’s more, that aforementioned invisibility technology will allow people to stay hidden so as not to interfere with the past.

In fact, our time traveler claims it will be made public as early as 2028.

The Problem With Time Travel

Image: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

At about the halfway point, the time traveler pulls out a blurry photo of what he claims is a major city in the year 6000. He won’t say which city it is, for fear of damaging the timeline, but does mention that the blurriness is caused by the time travel process itself.

It distorted the image, somehow.

The same, he says, has also happened to humans (if you remember, this also allegedly happened once or twice in the jump room during Project Pegasus).

His story takes a heck of a turn when the alleged time traveler reveals that he didn’t journey to the year 6000 alone – he went with a friend. But his friend accidentally uploaded his consciousness into a computer server and, well, turns out that sort of thing is permanent. Full disclosure: I laughed.

This is far from ApexTV’s first foray into the “alleged time traveler” niche. There are many other travelers who have chosen to share their adventures in far-off futures on YouTube, one who apparently spent a weekend in the year 3207. It’s all a bit goofy. Of course, there is that one tiny bonus: These videos appear to garner millions of views.

And yet, for all the extraordinary claims of amazing new technologies and even consumer-grade time travel, there’s something missing here.

It used to be, if someone claimed they were a time traveler, they’d send you a weird cryptic fax, or post some photos on a backwater message board, or even phone in to a late-night paranormal talk show. They’d make it a compelling back-and-forth, weaving a mysterious tale that sometimes went on for months.

And I’m not just talking about John Titor.

These days, we’re left with…YouTube videos. They just don’t make fake time travelers like they used to, I’ll tell you what.

But why the rise in people claiming to be time travelers, anyway? Is it just for views? No, no. The answer is obvious: They’re just muddying the waters to distract us from the real time travelers!


Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.