by Jasper Joyner
I'm a big fan of this marvelous subreddit, r/timetravel, where every now and then a “real time traveler” graces the rest of us stuck-in-the-present plebes with a wild AMA, answering all of our pressing queries about the not-so-distant future. From new inventions to weird slang to celebrity death predictions and national disasters, it’s truly amazing. Sometimes they even get a few things right!
I love these threads so much that I’ve created a new one. But first, we must address the Reddit-shaped elephant in our proverbial internet room. You may have noticed all the laissez-faire hullabaloo over Reddit as of late. If you have not, here's a little recap:
- On May 31, 2023, Reddit announced it would go from free API’s to essentially killing off all third-party apps with a new, ridiculous fee (which is hella inaccessible, btw).
- Redditors led a two-day blackout protest, quickly interrupted by the site's CEO, Steve Huffman, who sent out a “stop it or else” note like an evil villain out of a Marvel movie.
- The threats worked, kind of. Reddit is pretty much back. Basically. Mostly. But not without some iconic trolls. For example, a lot of the subreddits are still shit-posting and allow a bunch of unmoderated porno content. They even made John Oliver the face of the protests, which Oliver fully endorsed on Twitter stating, “Dear Reddit, excellent work.”
So in honor of the protesters still doing the damned thing, let’s do our own.
Writer’s note: I will be playing the roles of Time Traveler From the Year 2182 as well as all the Redditors asking the questions, including that one dude who asks if he ever gets famous. There’s always at least one.
I’m a time traveler from the year 2182, AMA
Does everyone time travel in your time?
No, I do it for work. I’m a researcher at BETI, Bureau of Extraterrestrial Intelligence.
Apparently, a significant group of ET landed in the United States around this time. I’m here to find out why, and where exactly they land.
How’s your search going?
Not bad. I have a lead. Unfortunately, I can't use all the tools I need at this time, so the search is a bit harder than it could be.
What do we eat in the future?
I noticed people really like chicken in 2023. We don’t have those in 2182. Also, people are super grossed out by roaches in 2023? They’re a big part of our diets now.
Are there still avocados?
Yeah, pretty much a lot of the stuff you think is endangered now gets saved thanks to AI and GMO technology. Couldn’t save chickens in time. Bird flu got them.
Are there like 20 people on earth because global warming wiped the rest of us out?
No. But everyone wears these masks called breathers. They're free and it’s illegal to go out of your house without one, but you can take them off inside, and everywhere is super sealed with good ventilation.
What happens if you take it off outside?
People take a chance with that all the time, and a lot of different stuff can happen but mainly, you could die?
What’s the minimum wage?
Money’s not really a thing like it was in 2023. Most things are free, but beyond that everyone uses a really complex barter system established by the world government in 2101.
Is Google still a thing?
Believe it or not, yeah. So is Amazon.
What about TikTok?
Nah, it kinda fell apart after the US ban in 2025.
Is social media still a thing?
Well, to say yes would be an understatement. Social media is basically our global government. It’s how we vote about pretty much everything, including our world leaders (we have 8). In 2100 we eliminated borders and re-sectioned the world based off of it. But unlike in 2023, we’ve figured out a few of the kinks, like it’s really hard to be an online troll or to dox people. Security technology is impermeable these days.
Do people still read?
Not really. It’s kind of like calligraphy in your time, a niche hobby you can take up but it’s not really common. There’s these things called readings where you can go to a show and someone’s act is just reading to the audience. Pretty cool, actually.
Gotta know, has AI taken over yet?
It’s a huge part of everything, sure, but humans now would probably say we have a symbiotic relationship to it. Doesn’t feel like it overwhelms my life or anything, if that’s what you mean.
Does everyone talk like you in the future?
I don’t even talk like me. Right now, I'm using a thing called an Expressor to change the way I talk so that I can type to sound more like 2023 English.
Am I famous?
Idk. What’s your name?
Huh. Doesn’t ring a bell.
Sorry, man. Maybe you are, and I just don’t know.
Do aliens hang out with humans yet?
No. A lot of humans have never seen aliens in person. I have, because of my job, but generally they’re pretty stealthy figures.
Prove you’re from the future. What’s a major event that happens in 2023 that hasn’t happened yet?
Sure. Major 2030 California Earthquake is gonna dramatically change the entire West Coast and the US climate at large.
Does Trump run in 2024?
No, he goes to prison right before the election, but then the next president pardons him and he runs again in 2028. Doesn’t win though.
How does school work in your time?
Kids still go to “schools” as daycare services or whatever, but we don’t really do “school.” No need with AI.
What do you mean, no need?
Every kid around age 5 does this super simple procedure called an imprint, where our parent’s education gets downloaded into our genes via epigenetics technology. We can learn whatever after that, but there’s a lot less pressure.
Where do you live?
I live in the southeastern part of what people used to call the United States. There aren’t really countries or borders anymore, but my area is called Quad-one.
What’s something that happens in the next 20 years that only you could know?
The US discovers a cure to cancer in 2038 thanks to a lot of the strides made after the 2020 COVID crisis.
Is COVID still a thing?
Yeah, pretty much just another flu these days.
When is WW3?
I learned from my imprint that it lasted from Feb 2022 - May 2028. There hasn’t been a major war since.
Feel free to ask me—I mean the time traveler—more questions about the future below.