How would a working teleporter affect society?

Inspired by this thread.

Let’s say that, through whatever improbable means you wish to postulate, you came into possession of technology allowing teleportion. For the sake of this discussion, assume it’s space-warp type technology requiring both transmitter and receiver: i.e., no bodily duplication or destruction is involved, and the teleportee remains conscious & aware during the entire transport. In other words, you walk into the teleport booth in New York, say; the door closes behind you, and the floor rotates so that you are moved 180 degrees from your starting position; and then the door opens in front of you, and you find yourself in London. The theory underlying the teleportation process is such that the it is inconceivable that it could be accomplished without a booth at both ends. The teleporter’s distance is limited to terrestrial distances; even if we went back to the moon, you could never 'port directly there. However, it makes no significant difference to the energy or material costs whether you’re teleporting one mile or ten thousand; the mass of the teleported object or person doesn’t matter either, only the volume and shape (in that the object has to be small enough to fit through the doors of the booths.) At the largest possible size, the booths can be made with so that the doors are twenty feet high by twenty feet wide. Lastly, operational costs are such that transporting a an object the volume of an average human costs about ten times as much as a first class airplane ticket from New York to Tokyo.

What effect would such a device have on the world? How would you market it?

You’d never live long enough to market anything like that. The military would be all over that type of technology faster than you can say Nikola Tesla.

“Nikola Tesla Nikola Tesla Nikola Tesla.” :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve asked you before to stop bothering me with facts, Counselor. :smiley:

Fine, fine, fine. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that in addition to discovering this magical tech, I also come across sufficient power generation, weapons & automation tech to easily kick the ass of anyone who annoys me, but only choose to release the teleporter tech. Kay?

Every Embassy in the World becomes a gateway for invasion.

All social, governmental & political order breaks down.

WW3 in 2 years.

What are the power and infrastructure requirments of the teleporter? Is it something like a TV station’s broadcasting tower, but with even worse power requirments, or could a crew of guys break one down, reassemble it in the field, and run it off a pickup trucker’s alternator?

Or even, say, mount one inside a moving aircraft?

As long as it costs ten times the price of a 1st Class ticket I don’t see how it would affect much of anything. It’d be a toy for the rich.

These things would probably have to be public with everyone knowing who and what went through. Governments would enact laws forbidding their unmonitored use between embassies, for instance.

I think the most important question that nobody has asked yet is:

If this is the ONLY teleporter, can I teleport back?

What embassy in the world could hold more than a few hundred troops? Once they overflowed into the street and the war started the embassy would be bombed.

Any country in the world could ALREADY fly a few hundred troops in under the guise of diplomatic papers and arm them in the embassy.

If I understand correctly, the terms of the OP are as follows:[ul][li]The technology doesn’t effect anything except transportation (no matter duplication, no moral quandries about whether teleporation=murder, etc.)[]A reception site must be prepared; no 'beaming" to random locations[]Expensive enough that it doesn’t replace alternate forms of transportation, only offers the ultimate speed-at-a-premium service.[/ul][/li]A lot depends on how unrestricted the technology is. Can anyone buy or build them? Is their transmission in any way traceable or blockable? Long story short, the technology would be heavily restricted, if not suppressed outright, if it were possible to do so: it would be too revolutionary in every sense of the word.

If it were uncontrolled and uncontrollable, I don’t see how smuggling could be prevented. You could prosecute people for possession of unlicensed teleports, but it would be like busting Prohibition speakeasies: new ones would pop up faster than they could be shut down. The cost would prevent mass migration of hordes of people but armies could invade anywhere a “beachead” could be established. At “only” 10x the cost of first class air travel, it would actually be economical for people whose time is extremely valuable-execs and the like. The wealthy would expand their range of options of where they live and work: nine to five in Manhatten, home to Aspen in the evening. Maybe ultra-fresh food would become the latest haute cusine: your salad was picked an hour ago, etc.

How fast can these be cycled?
Regardless, drop automated cylinders down a borehole and start teleporting up otherwise inaccessible oil directly to the refinery. The costs saved in shipping will cover operation of the teleport if it only costs several thousand dollars.

Travel could be possible. Not too many people book passenger travel with Maersk-Sealand these days, but if you only have to spend a matter of seconds (rather than weeks) to reach your destination, the big shippers would probably take passenger transport on as a side business, you’d just have to hitch a ride with the next shipment of ore or computer chips or injection molded adult novelties.

Ten thousand mile limit? Put one in LEO. Hello space elevator. What if you daisy-chained them? Could you port-bounce to the moon?

Sure, just like they kidnapped, enslaved, extracted the knowledge and executed the creators of radio, airplanes, homing warheads, nuclear power, digital computers, the Internet, Stealth.
How do we know the first thing the inventor would do would not be to go to the military and get a big fat contract to sell it exclusively to THEM (with the civvie street version to come 20 years down the road)? I know if I invented myself some true killer app with strategic potential, I’d pitch for a DoD contract…

. As mentioned, not realistic with the specs described. Most embassy grounds are far too small to be an effective LZ/beachhead for a practical invasion force. Specially if the door it has to march through is 20 feet (6.5 metres) wide x 20 feet tall. How do you get in your air support?. Treaties would be established to assure that everybody preserves the embassy’s theoretical sanctuary by not doing that. And why bother with that when you can instead set up covertly somewhere else, say tap into some high-voltage transmission lines going thru the woods, and conduct your infiltration there?

Next, and related to both these items, due to the potential for use to circumvent security measures the use of teleportation technology would likely get legislatively and by treaties constrained to governmental control, either by being operated by government agencies or state-owned enterprised, or by a heavily regulated utility franchise. As with telecom frequencies the warp pathways would soon be declared a public use reserve to which a government agency franchises access, but in this case no aspect of teleportation is left “common” or unregulated. A universal “Caller ID”, e-sig or public/private key system would be legally mandated so not everyone with a booth can send to every other booth unless the call is accepted by the receiver; with mandatory “backdoor” for government access, naturally, or else no license. And that’s where considerations of how portable or power-hungry the device is come into play – based on the cost consideration the OP brings up, this would be at first used for premium cargos with high time premiums. Which includes such things as heroin and WMDs. BUT if it requires a whole substation powered off the 240KV main transmission lines, or if it requires a shielded reinforced-concrete bunker, it’s different than if you can run it “ham” from a converted shrimp boat just outside the 12-mile limit. OR if it involves some sort of measurable, detectable, directional field that, like radio, you can block out by alocating a defined slice thereof to each “legal” 'porter and letting them keep their channel on, cranked up to Ludicrous Power.

It would NOT have much of an effect on leisure or a lot of business travel but Condoleeza Rice would literally be everywhere - just follow the sun and have a 9 am meeting in Canberra, Beijing, Kabul, Nairobi, London and Brasilia in the same day.

Well, I know lots and lots of people - including myself - who could no longer avoid visiting their families.

I think a possible positive outcome might be even more of a global community than we have now. The Internet is s-l-o-w-l-y eroding some of the differences we have in different cultures and different religions. A lot of young people are more open to different and unusual ways of thinking. I have no cite for this, but it seems like it’s more than ever before, when we were completely insular and were able to ‘protect’ our children from outside influences.

Sorry, got distracted. I mean to continue on and say, instantaneous travel to other countries might help that even more, and get rid of even more ethnocentrism which unfortunately still exists.

That is all.

And **Skald, **it’s mighty good to see you back, dear.

If you can port-bounce, the planets become colonizable. The moon in 30 seconds. Mars in eleven hours if it takes ten seconds to make one port bounce, obvious less if it takes nothing. If you used giant lenses set near each bounce station, the trip could be just about free in terms of energy costs, once you hit space.

It costs ten times the price of a 1st Class ticket from Tokyo-New York. You can still avoid family visits unless you’re rich.

The OP said:

It seems you need a booth at both ends with no port-bouncing so teleporting off planet is a no-go. Plus the OP stipulated it will be expensive.

Glad to be back. And rest assured I shall in short order resume my evil plots to conquer the earth and take you as Wife #2 in my harem of 1897.

The whole embassy thing relies on a) embassies having transporters in the first place, and b) any transporters that were in embassies being open to the public. It isn’t hard to imagine that incoming traffic would have to be authorized by the receiving chamber.

Larry Niven did a lot of speculation about this back in the late sixties and early seventies and wrote a number of great SF stories about it.

In his stories, “transfer booths” were expensive and limited in distance at first, and started out by more-or-less replacing airlines. Then local booth networks spread, and things like “flash mobs” appeared: some minor event would get on the news, and people would start “flicking in” to look around, and protestors would arrive seeking an audience, and then minor criminals would flick in to work the crowds, and then agitators, and then thugs and hooligans looking for a fight, and things would get out of control, and and bam! Instant riot!

Definitely the former. And certainly not #3. Add to the tech requirements that both booths be stationary relative to one another and, for that matter, Earth, which shoots down Evil Captor’s plans for planetary colonization too.

“The Theory And Practice Of Teleportation” from “All The Myriad Ways”, I don’t have my copy handy but it’s a great discussion of what various types of teleportation would do to society.

Regarding the whole “invasion by teleporter”, I think that’d be low down on the list of military concerns. Suppose country X gets pissed at the US, they just shove a hydrogen bomb through the portal into their embassy in Washington DC and whammo, no more capitol. For this reason I think that there’d be a very hard clamp-down on who can build the booths and where they can put them.

Ten times the cost of a first-class ticket from Tokyo to NYC to move about 200lbs…so we’re talking a few tens of thousands of dollars…what currently costs upwards of $100/lb to ship? Maybe this would be an advantage for moving something fragile with high insured values (instead of insuring the Mona Lisa for a trip by boat around the world you’re only moving it a few feet on a cart) or for some kind of high value perishable (transplant organs? something like that). Transporting really dangerous substances long distances.

Off the top of my head I don’t see it having a drastic impact on society (aside from the military concerns) until the cost drops a lot.