It lets you represent vastly distant times both in the past and in the future. "short" time differences can be represented very precisely, although absolute times far from 1970 will have lower resolution the further you go.
And future systems would need to make sure they increment their time by large enough values that the timer keeps increasing... rather than effectively adding zero every tick, once the time got past a certain date.
It's what I do in my programs, I always convert time to a double.
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