Yes I know the Daily Challenge is a day late, but never mind.
Picking a time machine model well you’d think this would be a relatively clean cut choice but it isn’t so simple. First of all what would be the benefit of using a forward time machine? Only a few answers realistically could apply for me at the moment; namely curiosity as to see how the future looks or to witness whatever legacy I am going to be leaving behind. Same for example I had a terminal illness and I had a young family I could postulate that I could go forward in time and see them as adults, which again I guess revisits the theme of seeing your legacy. Alternatively, use a forward travelling time machine altruistically along a similar theme; taking a friend/relative/unlucky person forward to see an event in the future they know they won’t live to see. Is this a one way trip though? If it is a one way trip going forward needs to take other decisions into the frame. Money (invest all cash into a tax free ISA and collect the compound interest?) and more significantly medical issues. If I travelled say 500 hundred years into the future and influenza/ the common cold has been stamped out for two hundred years, if I arrive with the flu I could unwittingly wipe out a large proportion of civilisation. The flip side being also potential viruses and diseases my immune system is not used to could infect me and well there go the consequences… Also this needs to be taken into account if I can return home, bringing nasty infections to a world not ready for them.
Now going backwards is a much bigger can of words. To a certain extent you can prepare yourself for your destination, history is very well defined so it is simply a matter of research into your chosen period. But oh dear, future knowledge could be very dangerous in the wrong hands. It is all very well knowing if I travel to 1940’s Britain and knowing to get out of the cities before the doodlebugs start arriving, (future knowledge of wartime Britain could in fact place the time traveller in a lot of trouble as there’d be good grounds for the Government to suspect you of being a spy!), but someone less scrupulous could interfere with history for personal gain: we’ve all seen Back to the Future Part Two as an illustration of this point. But would doing this influence the future and your own self and the result mean you start experiencing the Blinovitcal Limitation Effect, also known as the Grandfather Paradox. In short in interfering you change the future which nullifies your starting point so does that mean you didn’t come back in time in the first place? But who is to say that small patterns of change aren’t possibly, say if you travel back in time you can fix the dice as it were but not alter the flow and make you part of it. If say you use your knowledge of the National Lottery to win a reasonable sum in order to help maintain yourself, are you interfering or becoming part of the flow? Or on the other how about fixing some issues you messed up in your life, the girlfriend you dumped and regretted doing so. You might know who her new fella and how they met. Say for example your partner settled down with someone twenty years older whom she’d known for say three years in a work capacity, so the older you could go back in time and assume that identity and therefore continue the relationship… which admittedly does sound like taking stalking to a whole new level! But a similar tactic could be used in much less sinister ways, you could be the person who gets your friend or your self their job.
Safe to say the best use for time travel backwards for me would be time tourism, go back in time and see a little bit of history unfolding or as a retirement option set yourself up in time period and retire there.
So yes, I think I would take the Time Machine which goes backwards