It's a topic rife with possibilities for discussion, and the biggest one (to me, anyhow) is - how would this teleportation work? I can think of three or four ways, all of which would provide advantages and disadvantages...
|Posted: 24 September 2018 at 5:52pm | IP Logged | 4
1) Star Trek transporters (one interpretation) - the subject is transformed from its base form to an energy wave, transmitted across a specific distance, and reintegrated at the other end. This has been established as working on living tissue... usually. It is also shown to be not 100% reliable. I can think of three or four cases where it malfunctioned (The Enemy Within, Mirror, Mirror, ST:TMP, Second Chances, and likely a few others I don't recall. And I'm not counting Enterprise, when it was a new technology.) That's probably too significant a chance to try using it on a regular basis. Cars malfunction regularly too, but as someone said... you can't walk home from a transporter malfunction.
2) Stepping discs, used by Larry Niven (IIRC), Ilyana Rasputin (X-Men), etc. These are apparently holes opened from point A to point B in the universe where one is moved automatically (or by stepping through.) They work just fine on living tissue, and are mostly reliable - I don't recall any foul ups with these if they are used as designed (although if two people are attempting to control their use, then chaos ensues.) However, they're usually stationary, so they won't work on stationary objects; if it can't be moved, it almost certainly can't be teleported via these.
3) Teleportation as a magical ability - in comics and movies, this is pretty widespread. Dr. Fate, Dr. Strange, Clea, White Witch (Legion of Super-Heroes), Devil Slayer (Defenders), Zatanna, the Phantom Stranger. Magic is a great method; it doesn't require explanation and can work as desired, or malfunction as desired. This ties in closely with...
4) Teleportation as a super power. The use of this is also pretty wide spread; Blink (EXiles), Gates (Legion of Super-Heroes), Nightcrawler, Lila Cheney (X-Men), Time Bubbles (Legion of Super-Heroes), etc. This mostly doesn't get any explanation either, and again, functions or malfunctions as desired. HONORABLE MENTION: Super speed. Some super speedsters (mostly the Flash family) can move so fast that they seem to negotiate between two points in space without having to traverse the intervening distance. I mention the Flash etc. because they have the ability to travel through solid matter without restriction. This is obviously not true teleportation, but over relatively short distances, it is functionally the same. These are also beings who are so fast, they can seem to be in two locations at the same time.
There are probably others methods I'm not including; the imagination is stronger than I can bring to bear for every situation. They can also happen by other names that I haven't mentioned (e.g., wormholes, space warps, etc.)
The uses, too, are considerable.
Delivering packages point to point - no problem.
Delivering people the same way - likely the same.
Military use - Extinction level event. A detonating atomic bomb teleported into the Oval Office, etc. would be catastrophic. Teleporting a military or political rival leader to the bottom of the Pacific or to the Moon would also be horrifically effective. Considering the number of nuclear weapons that exist, and have existed, a nation with enough of these could teleport a nuke above every major city in another country - no warning, no approach, no time to react. The only responsive action (not defense) would be to have a site in every country with a facility to take the same action. This location would have to be hidden, and so carefully guarded that it would require the best defenses possible, and be a "lost" outpost - no one who goes there ever comes back. And just like Lays potato chips... it only takes one. A Frozen War, not just a Cold War.
Medical use - if sophisticated enough, teleportation could remove cancerous or damaged organs from a person. If highly sophisticated enough, it could remove plaque from teeth or cholesterol from bloodstreams or diseased alveoli from lungs. it could also make blood transfusions simple, and injections would be a thing of the past. (Having just endured FAR too many blood draws recently, I vote yes for that right now!)
If it works as Star Trek's transporters (the original is stored in a pattern buffer, then transmitted and unloaded out of memory), it could provide eternal life in a way. Regularly get a "beaming" to store a healthy copy of the subject's body. Something go wrong with an organ? Transport it out and transport a healthy copy in from the buffer. Pregnant and you want twins? Copy the fetus and then boom - you have twins. Need a thousand men as laborers or assistants during a disaster - or soldiers? Make 'em out of thin air. Have to test medical procedures on corpses? No need; just beam in a living body with everything but a brain, and you've got one.
I'll stop here; there are a multitude of topics of discussion for teleportation. Personally, I don't think we'll see it while we're still in a form called "human" - we may be talking about eons before development of functional teleportation. And God save humanity if we get it soon...