TORONTO – Researchers with Michigan Technological University have published a study answering one of modern society’s most important questions: Are there time travellers on social media?
In short, the answer is (shockingly) no.
For the study titled “Searching the Internet for evidence of time travelers,” physicists Robert Nemiroff and Teresa Wilson scoured through posts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and search engines looking for evidence of time travellers.
But, what evidence could time travellers leave, you ask?
Simple: bits of historical information that wouldn’t have been public knowledge at the time they were posted.
In order to verify any potential time-travelling posts, the team combed through posts made between January 2006 and September 2013 for results.
“Were a time traveler from the future to access the Internet of the past few years, they might have left once-prescient content that persists today,” read the report.
The authors looked specifically for information pertaining to “Comet ISON” – a comet discovered in September 2012 that broke up in December. They also searched for any mention of the name “Pope Francis” before Jorge Mario Bergoglio was selected and named Pope Francis on March 16.
But they didn’t stop there.
In an attempt to reach any social-media-savvy time travellers, Nemiroff and Wilson also posted in an online message board asking time travellers to go into their past and tweet #ICanChangeThePast2 or #ICannotChangeThePast2.
They did not receive any viable tweets.
But before you get discouraged – the researchers do not believe that this disproves the idea of time travel.
“Although the negative results reported here may indicate that time travelers from the future are not among us and cannot communicate with us over the modern day Internet, they are by no means proof,” read the report.
The report argues that it may be “physically impossible” to leave any evidence of their stay in the past and that it may be “physically impossible for us to find such information as that would violate some yet-unknown law of physics.”
“Furthermore, time travelers may not want to be found, and may be good at covering their tracks,” the report reads.
Alternatively – though this might be a difficult idea to grasp in present day – social media may be passé in the future and therefore time travellers don’t use it.
Are you a time traveller? If so, tweet us news tips from the future using the hashtag #TomorrowsNewsToday.