Teleportation would destroy the world.

Think of industries such as trucking, taxis, airlines, shipping. All obsolete. Add to those people driving cars far fewer miles and both the auto and oil industries fail.

Why would you live in Duluth when you could live in Sarasota and teleport to work?
Entire cities would flounder as few people would live there and the tax base would crash. People would lose their investments they made in their homes as it would be impossible in some areas to sell them.

The demographic of tremendous areas of countries would change quickly. When one could live anywhere are teleport to another area immediately, employment would no longer be a reason not to move. Entire areas would become desolate while other areas would have massive overcrowding.

The hotel industry would collapses. Why would one pay for a hotel on Maui when you could teleport home and come back tomorrow? And imagine everyone being able to show up at Disney Lands front gate for the price of a phone call. Waiting time of 62 hours to get on a ride.

Crime detection would be next to impossible. Teleport from Seattle to Phoenix and then to Charlotte, rob a bank, then teleport from Charlotte to Detroit, hop into another teleporter and go back to Seattle. Trace that!

Companies like Fed Ex, UPS, and the postal service would be extinct. And why would we need pizza delivery boys when one can have a pizza just teleported to their home.

Teleportation would destroy the worlds economy and bring about the destruction of our entire society.

Plus it will eventually turn us all into giant human flies.
Post your arguments for it here.

Quickly, please. We’re giving my nephew an Erector set for his birthday next week and who knows what he might build!

On the contrary, I’d think that teleportation would require that detailed records of everything’s molecular structure be sent to the other end. There could be records sufficient to build an exact model of everyone who teleported into Charlotte. It could even detect weapons or run fingerprints and DNA and send miscreants straight into jail.

For Star Trek-style “take 'em apart and put 'em back together again somewhere else”, yes. (Star Trek-style transporters would also imply replicators, leading to even more economic disruptions, since there would no longer be shortages of any material good; and would probably also imply something like immortality, since you could simply scan your pattern as a healthy person, then if you get sick or injured simply reset yourself back to the undamaged pattern.)

Some kind of “wormhole”/“space warp” type of teleporation–a short cut through Somewhere Else–wouldn’t necessarily imply any of those things.

When has an invention that makes life easier ever harmed society?

First, the Luddite economist issue. It’s like saying we’d be better off if the printing press was never invented and the only books were slowly written out by hand, or that curing all disease would be bad because it would put too many doctors out of business. It’s a good thing, not bad, if teleportation renders the transport industry a luxury, not least of which because of its positive effect on the environment.

However, one of the two major forms of teleportation would not do so. The slurry system, the one Lord Feldon refers to, cannot ethically be used on humans. You could unmake your luggage and pick up exact duplicates at your destination, but you could not teleport there yourself - attempting to do so would simply kill you. It would then create a doppelganger at your intended destination, but that doesn’t make you any less dead.

Your only valid argument is the danger of misuse. Assuming teleporters only work platform-to-platform, requiring infrastructure at both ends, it would be best to consider teleporters the same way we consider airports - public places with customs and security officers checking incoming traffic. You certainly wouldn’t put one in your house.

I guess the ethics of this depends on your philosophical perspective. As far as the doppelganger is concerned, he is you, and you won’t care either way, being dead. People in the Star Trek universe seem to be cool with this. Maybe future humans will come to accept it as just one of the minor inconveniences of modern life, like the way we look at being stuck in traffic during the rush hour commute.

Actually I think teleportation would help spread people out pretty well. Your only requirements for a living space would be: somewhere that looks nice, and is safe.

Living in the middle of a forest might not meet the second requirement (then again, it might). But living in the middle of somewhere massively overcrowded would likely not fit the first requirement.

Actually this is a big philosophical question (“personal identity”), and one which has been hashed out on the dope a number of times.
My position on this is largely the same as yours, but definitely there are compelling arguments for the “you survive” position also. It’s not cut and dried.

Unless your philosophical perspective says that murder is A-OK because the victim isn’t around to complain, you are wrong.

It is cut and dried. Unless you have performed the necessary experiment to establish absolute proof that it maintains continuity of existence (and in Star Trek they have absolute proof that they don’t), using a slurry-based teleporter is an act of suicide.

Well, I don’t know. Anyway, it’s a different debate entirely, and I apologize for starting the hijack. I guess we should stick to the issue in the OP.

Saying this does not make it so. True quantum teleportation would transport you, not a copy. But there are good reasons to suspect that this wouldn’t work for macroscale objects.

Assuming that we have a magical form of true macroscale quantum teleportation, the economy wouldn’t collapse, instead it would just be radically different.

An interesting examination of the possibilities of teleportation can be found in Larry Niven’s Flash Crowd stories; one problem he examines is the problem of conservation of momentum, since objects on the surface of the Earth are all rotating at different speeds with different tangential velocities. A person teleporting from Sydney to London would have lots of angular momentum to dissipate.

The OP assumes, not only that teleportation exists, but that it’s extremely cheap, available to everybody and doesn’t need any kind of terminals. Look at any extant technology: the only products that stay equally expensive throughout their life are failed ones (think laserdisc) and those items made specifically as luxury items (but no matter how expensive a Testarossa, cars in general are within the economic reach of a much greater % of the population now that when they were all built by hand). The implementation of teleportation would take time and it would be used for cargos with greater value/volume ratio first: it wouldn’t just instantly make everybody able to zoom around the planet.

I expect that any attempts to teleport without a terminal and without visual references would suffer from “Nightcrawler’s nightmare”, which is how I just dubbed the possibility of porting into a wall. And where are all those people suddenly moving to highly-desirable areas supposed to live? Do you expect people to teleport into Madonna’s living room and set up shop on the sofa? Some might try, but many would rather have a place they can call “theirs”, even without the high probability of large security guards.

Assuming cheap teleportation technology that works for destinations beyond the surface of Earth (even if it is first necessary to send a terminal there), colonisation of the Solar system becomes a more realistic possibility.

Depending on how the teleportation solution handles conservation of momentum, interstellar travel might also get easier - because you can accelerate a ship to phenomenal speeds on a linear track by just continually teleporting it back to the start, then letting it go when it is going fast enough. (Thanks, Larry Niven)

The vessel that you shoot off to some other star can be an unmanned teleport gate - so you wait until it arrives before sending manned vessels through it.

the very fact that teleportation, of either kind, would make space travel viable will trump all other considerations.

We did a pretty good job of surviving the collapse of the horse industry.

No, that would be to shift the burden of proof.

To illustrate why this is not so clear-cut, imagine two scenarios: in one, we freeze all your atoms, so they can neither move nor decay/react for 1 year (ignore for the moment the impossibility of doing this, it’s just a thought experiment).
And in the other scenario, we spread all your atoms loosely around the universe for 1 year, before somehow reassembling them back in place.

The question is, which, if any, of these scenarios would you survive?

If the answer is neither, or only the freeze scenario, what is the other scenario(s) lacking to be you? Some sort of magical essence?

If the answer is both, then the question becomes why is it you if we use your atoms but not you if we use “fresh” atoms (the “slurry” teleport). What is special about your own atoms? Are they holding your “soul”?

Again, my position is that the “slurry” teleport likely does result in a doppelganger, not you, but I accept that this is not a fact, and there are compelling arguments both ways.

Damn right I’m shifting the burden of proof. We’re talking about the significant possibility that an invention has a 100% fatality rate. It would be criminally negligent to allow its use to transport people without ruling that possibility out.

Prices drop, drastically! Distribution is a huge expense. The purchasing power of all of us explodes in response to distribution becoming super-cheap. Those laid-off truckers and pilots can get new jobs that were previously marginal. Some are better off, some are not (more so the pilots, I’d say), but as a species, we are much better off.

I’d rather live in Duluth than an overcrowded, awful Sarasota. Another thing you may be overlooking: areas that are scenic and beautiful, but thinly-populated due to lack of infrastructure. Keep Sarasota, I want a little piece of Alaskan or Pacific Northwest forest to live in, with anything I ever need a teleport away.

The tax code would probably need to be changed, perhaps going to only income and sales taxes, with state or federal distribution to cities replacing some property taxes. That’s a minor issue, though.

Yep, we’re all a lot richer, all right! Sounds good.

That’s hard to answer without knowing more about the exact technology behind the teleporters.

So, everything that was shipped or delivered is much cheaper. Not a bad thing.

The economy depends on productivity, not labor. This device would greatly increase productivity.

pkbites, have you read Larry Niven’s series of stories and articles having to do with teleportation? He takes a shot at some of the things you mention. As well as having the earliest mention of the phrase “flash mob” that I’ve ever heard of.

I agree with Human Action’s observation that a lot is going to depend on the exact technology of the teleporters.

Actually, Star Trek included both kinds of teleportation, but the “take 'em apart and put 'em back together” was the most common kind. E.g. your typical Federation, Klingon, Cardassian, etc. transporter used this technology. Iirc there was an episode where it was established that a form of personal wormhole technology caused cumulative damage to the body - there was a terrorist organization that was using it instead of regular transporters in order to evade detection - the result was a lot of hyped-up insurgents who knew they were going to die anyway.

You sure about that? Once an area becomes so overcrowded that people get uncomfortable moving there, people are going to start looking for less crowded areas. The market would self-correct. Sure, large numbers of people are going to move to Florida, but then all the people who think Florida is too crowded can move to the Outer Banks or somewhere else. Once the Outer Banks fill up, then you start filling up the Eastern Shore, then the Jersey Shore, etc.