When is the future?

Nature (International Journal of Science) recently published an article entitled “Science fiction when the future is now“.  A thought-provoking title and a nice article that made me wonder, when is the future?

I imagine that in every industrious period, especially later in the period, the people of the time might begin to feel that everything has been built or invented — or soon will be.  While it’s true that today we are more technologically advanced than ever before — unless you believe there is a sunken Atlantis which had an even more advanced society — there are many ways that society might change.

Time travel stories sometimes place the future in the past, such as “Back to the Future”.  Ultimately, though, the future does not remain in the past.  Time’s arrow puts the future of 2018 at 2018+x, where x could be 1 femtosecond or 1 billion years.

So, while now is the future for some prior year 2018-x, it’s hard to see how the future is now.  If it were, then the future might be the future of the future.  If x is arbitrarily huge, approaching infinity, then the future of the future is an infinity past an infinity.  That doesn’t seem likely.

My conclusion is that the future is not now.  Whether you agree or disagree, if you enjoy thinking about subjects like this, you might also enjoy reading my time travel stories.  Happy New Year!

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