Alternative uses for teleportation

Doctor Hubert Hypothetical invents a working teleportation device. It can be used to transport anything from a single hydogen atom to an elephant and it’s absurdly simple to use, due to the built in targeting system which is managed by a superintelligent, benign AI.

So if you teleport a teapot, there’s no danger of only sending half of it by accident (unless you explicitly want to) and no risk of rematerialising it in the middle of a wall (unless you convince the AI that this is a fine idea) the AI even checks if you want to teleport just the teapot, or the tea as well.

However there are some limitations. It can’t be reliably used to teleport living things - the aforementioned elephants either turn up physically intact, but dead, or occasionally alive but thorougly evil, and the AI just won’t do that any more. No amount of arguing will change this.

So, obviously, the shipping industry is significantly impacted, but the tranportation of humans not so much (vehicles can be tele-fuelled on the move, vehicles can be repaired without significant disassembly etc, but people can’t be teleported).

There are no free lunches. The teleporter is very efficient, but does not violate conservation of energy - lifting something to orbit is still costly (cheaper than a rocket though, probably) and rearranging CO2 and water into hydrocarbon fuels costs more than you get back out of it.

All this is another way of saying:
Don’t fight the hypothetical, and
What nonviolent, creative uses could we find for materials teleportation technology, within these stated limits?

If your teleporter doesn’t allow violations of energy, momentum, or angular momentum, then you lose the main advantage that Larry Niven had suggested in his essay “:Theory and Practice of Teleportation”, where he suggested two teleporter portals, one above the other, allowing you to put particles in a perpetual state of falling, and you could “mine” the gravitational energy. Kinda like having a paddle wheel in a perpetual river. Presumably your teleportation device uses portals/booths/ whatever that have to take up the energy slack and account for angular and rotary momentum changes.
I’ll point out that, if energy is conserved, you can potentially still get energy out of your system, depending on how your system accounts for it. After all, this big, heavy pile of radioactive waste has a considerable amount of potential energy relative to the sun. If I teleport it there I should somehow get that potential energy out in the form of power or heat or something. Plus, I get rid of the waste. It’s a win-win situation, unless I have to maintain another booth in the sun. But I can still get energy out of a booth if it’s located merely closer to the sun. Now when it gets something teleported into it I can energy and momentum, and that ought to make it speed up into a higher orbit, or something.

None of that violates your original dictum, although I suspect it’s not in the spirit of what the OP wanted, which seems to be more along the line of "What if we could magically put something that was here over * here* instead? In that case, I’d say that what you seem to say rather dismissively at the end is probably the biggest opportunity – you can put things into orbit, or even way out in space or on other worlds cheaply. If all you have to “pay” are energy difference and momentum differences, then your teleporter is more efficient than a Space Elevator – and you don’t need super-strong fibers and have to live under the threat of dire consequences if the Beanstalk fails. Teleportation would give you (relatively) cheap access to space.

I’m thinking medical procedures. Remove plaque from arteries etc.
Does removing cancer cells/tumors violate your rules?
Should be easy enough to scrub the blood of contaminants, no more dialysis.

You could also have the Ultimate Dry Cleaning method – remove all the dirt, and No Dangerous Chemicals!

I’d just use it once a year to teleport a tennis ball just above the head of the POTUS before the State of the Union address. If it’s Jeb Bush I’d go for a bowling ball.

Greatest mining tool ever.

Deposits of mineral could more be extracted from deep veins safer and with far less effort. It actually makes The Devil in the Dark episode of Star Trek:TOS rather meaningless as teleport the minerals out of mines would have avoided contact with the alien life form, The Horta.

Just press a button and the old kitty litter would be teleported to a deep subterranean cave or South American country.

OMG, I can finally go to the bathroom without getting up.


Good one!
Along those lines, hazardous waste site cleanup.
How about water desalinization or even irrigation.

That’s interesting, because teleportation devices in all of Niven’s fictional works (at least, all those I have read, which is quite a few) do obey conservation laws - international transfer booths had to dump their spare momentum into a big damping device (a massive floating raft, I think) to avoid splattering their passengers. Of course, we’re not transporting passengers, but the problems are similar.

Yeah, I think we’ll have to say that any spare energy has to be harvested at destination. Receiving booths are optional, if you have one, you can split out the surplus and do something else with it - if you don’t. the payload arrives with everything conserved - so merely teleporting something closer to the sun probably just puts it in a more elliptical orbit.

Getting to space is not the same as getting into orbit, obviously, but it’s probably still cheaper than a rocket - assuming your payload, plus the booster it needs to get up to orbital speed is no bigger than an elephant.

Yep, pretty much all infectious and parasitic diseases are curable. Viral diseases might still be fatal if not caught early (because if you have to teleport away infected cells, that might do more damage than good).

Teleportation of tumours etc is possible, but a little care must be taken with the tidy-up (i.e. sudden reduction of pressure on the brain, blood supply to the tumour mustn’t be left running, etc.

Teleportation becomes very useful to dentistry - extraction of teeth and placement of fillings/implants etc is suddenly very straighforward and gentle.

Emergency, and perhaps robotic, medical and communications facilities sent to the place it is needed. Emergency and perhaps permanent housing sent direct to the site.

30 seconds or it’s free pizza delivery

Would make thru hiking the Appalichain Trail a lot more luxurious.

Conversion of matter to energy (does not violate any law, but I think you may rule this one out)

The controlling AI might let you do the tennis ball thing, if you catch it on a good day and have a really good argument, but not the bowling ball.

Yeah, probably not possible - you might be able to perform fusion by just teleporting atoms close together.

People who value their privacy will need tech to devise protection against video cameras popping up unbidden.

ETA: or does the AI prevent it?

If we can do teleportation at this level what about fission by transporting 1/2 a atom or even alchemy by fusing or fission(ing) something into gold?

Half an atom is too difficult, even for larger atoms. Fusion is probably ok though.

I find the idea of an evil herd of elephants oddly attractive.

Theft will pretty much become universal unless the AI agrees to enforce property rights.