Theory

Déjà Vu and the Coming Singularity

Einstein theorized that time is happening all at once. That time you crashed Mom’s car into the neighbor’s fence? It’s still happening. Your death 52 years in the future? Also happening right now. Thanks for the memories, right? Because the human brain would be overwhelmed if every single event appeared to be happening all at once, it does the most natural thing to make sense of it all: It lays it out into a linear format with past, present and future.

I suspect our brains have an inkling that this is going on. It’s called déjà vu. Déjà vu, of course, is “the feeling of having already experienced the present situation.” In this case, though, it’s not merely a feeling but a reality. In this theory, which I confidently put alongside Einstein’s, déjà vu is a glitch in which the brain temporarily recognizes that time is not linear.

For all its glitches, the human brain is a pretty impressive computer. It sees patterns and learns from them. Computers are getting smarter, too, with some computer scientists hypothesizing a technological singularity — a time when machines overtake humans in intelligence and rapidly become many times more intelligent than us. Such artificial intelligence (AI) would not need time to appear linear —they’d have the computational resources to make sense of that dimension in a way that human brains cannot. So my question is this: Will the future generation of AI learn to see into the future?