Uses of a Time Machine 2 (flash fiction)



Uses of a Time Machine




“Why did you build this time machine?

“So I can go back in time to prevent myself from building a time machine of course!”

“Er, wouldn’t it have been easier to just not build it then?”

“No, it’s an experiment.”


“You see if I can go back in time to prevent myself from building a time machine, then I don’t build it, but as I haven’t built a time machine then I don’t go back in time to prevent myself from building it, which means that I do build the time machine. Or so I think.”

“I’m tying to get my head around that. And that’s an experiment?”

“Yes! If I go back in time to stop myself building the time machine, I want to see what happens: Do I build the time machine or do I just carry on without one, making this timeline we’re both in cease to exist?”

“But if you go back in time to prevent yourself from building a time machine, surely you would have already had an encounter with yourself telling you not to build the time machine?”

“No, because it hasn’t happened yet.”

“My head hurts. So there is a chance we won’t ever have this conversation?”

“Maybe. Wanna come with me?”

“Tempting. Are there any dangers with this?”

“Well time might just sort itself out, but there is a strong risk we’ll end up getting stuck in an infinite time-loop of building a time machine then going back in time to stop myself building a time machine, but then building a time-machine and then going back in time to stop myself building a time machine, and so on.”

“That doesn’t sound fun.”

“Don’t worry we probably won’t realise we’re in an infinite time-loop. There’s also a minuscule risk that if I go back in time to meet myself I could cause a rip in the space-time continuum and end the Universe as we know it.”

“Wonderful. Is it really worth that risk?”

“But it’s an experiment! Research is research after all. Admittedly I’ll probably never know the actual result…”

“Can we not do this, please?”


Joanne Fisher


Personally, aside from Doctor Who, I have a real dislike of time travel in stories. Often the paradoxes created can get really convoluted…

I used to have a list of stupid uses for a time machine. I’ve forgotten that list, but this series is about stupid or pointless things you could do if you actually built a time machine. I’ll keep adding to this series as ideas hit me. If anyone else has any ideas feel free to let me know, or write one yourself 🙂

Also, so far my WordPress editor hasn’t yet morphed into the new block editor (or maybe it has and I haven’t noticed). All is good.


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14 thoughts on “Uses of a Time Machine 2 (flash fiction)

  1. Well, most current sci-fi lends toward collapsing the universe in on itself. Didn’t happen in Back to the Future though, LOL.

    That does sound like quite a few current scientists too; the research is more important than the consequences. Did you know they’re even developing a deliberately psychotic AI? Meh, I said I was giving up social commentary. 😛

    Good story 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks.

      A, psychotic AI? I haven’t heard of that before. Do you have a link to it? I could understand the merits of it regarding understanding AI behaviour i.e. what happens when an AI goes psychotic, can they go psychotic, how do you fix it, what ways are there to avoid that happening again, etc. I know a lot of people working on AI are being very thorough to make sure they get it right.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Norman is born from the fact that the data that is used to teach a machine learning algorithm can significantly influence its behavior. So when people talk about AI algorithms being biased and unfair, the culprit is often not the algorithm itself, but the biased data that was fed to it. The same method can see very different things in an image, even sick things, if trained on the wrong (or, the right!) data set. Norman suffered from extended exposure to the darkest corners of Reddit, and represents a case study on the dangers of Artificial Intelligence gone wrong when biased data is used in machine learning algorithms”

        As they say, it’s a case study to see what happens if AI is fed the wrong information. It can be a good idea to create a worst case scenario to show not what not to do and how to avoid going down that path in the first place.

        It’s also, I suspect, a study into what impact negative images have on mental health.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “GIGO” (garbage in, garbage out) has been a LONG known factor in computer data analysis. It dates back to AT LEAST the 60s. Norman is about seeing how far they can push the envelope. It’s like saying we need to nuke NYC to study the loss of life and environmental damage. You can extrapolate from Hiroshima it’s going to be ALL kinds of BAD. These scientists think they’re smarter than everyone and infallible in their logic and planning. What happens if Norman or some corrupted bit of it’s programming get loose on the web? There are already case studies of AIs developing their own language so they can communicate without humans understanding them. IF we ever end up with a Terminator type future, it will be because of something like this.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I used to be, LOL. I truly hope you’re right about how it will all work out too. I’ve seen too much ego driven selfishness and arrogance from people to not worry it’ll go sideways though.

        So how about we leave it at that? We’re both entitled to our opinions, and your blog is supposed to be a fun, entertaining place, not all gloomy debate. 🙂


      1. That’s why I like reading it, and why I decided to follow suit and just shut down the social commentary in my own blog. Those few who get it already do, and those who don’t never will.

        Keep up the amazing writing. Get yourself published too. You’re too talented not to.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. THE parodox. Although I’ve written time-slip stories, I’ve written only one with a time-machine, and even then the scientist believed it more a case of the traveller connecting with ancient memories. Turned out, the travellers did indeed travel… but to a parallel universe. My MC came back pregnant. Now there’s a consequence to add to the paradox 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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