How Teleportation Technology Would Change the World as We Know It

Tuesday, 25 September 2018 - 12:52PM
Tuesday, 25 September 2018 - 12:52PM
How Teleportation Technology Would Change the World as We Know It
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Timm Weitkamp CC BY 3.0 DE (license linked below)
Forget waiting for Scotty to beam you up-if teleportation were at the level of common tech like microwaves or WiFi, it would have major effects on many aspects of our lives. At least that's what science fiction author Peter F. Hamilton believes. According to Wired, Hamilton recently appeared on an episode of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast, where we spoke about his career as a writer and his seven-volume Commonwealth series. His latest book, Salvation, is a departure from the series. It is set in the year 2204 and considers a world where mankind has reached further into the void to discover more of the galaxy. They have also discovered the wonders of teleportation, but there are some ripple effects in terms of how the new tech has shaped every day life.

"It came about because I wanted to something different something," Hamilton told Wired. In Salvation, he set out to create a  "whole new universe, whole new set of characters, whole new problems for people." The author explains that in this world, there are portals that split and have a quantum spatial entanglement so that they form two doors that people can walk through no matter how far apart they are. "The fun bit of that was saying, 'OK, we've got this system, how would it actually work on a practical, day-to-day level? How would it affect our world? How would it change our transport? How would it change the way society is structured?" You can read through Hamilton's book for the full answers to those questions, but one of the ripples of the tech would be that several industries would be made obsolete.

Spaceships would not need fuel because their exhaust would be channeled through portals linked to the sun, there would be no need to garbage collection or processing because it would also be tossed through portals, and the infrastructure of cities would have to be repurposed because no one would be driving to any destination. The hotel industry would also be useless in Hamilton's future. "If it takes two minutes to walk from where I am to where you are in America, what do I need a hotel for," he asked rhetorically. "There are still fabulous resorts and places like that, but the idea of a businessman needing a hotel for the night? No, that's gone."

Terrible writers rarely consider the ramifications of "cool" futuristic technology, but from this podcast episode is sounds like Hamilton was thorough in his world building. The hardcover version of Salvation is 576 pages long, so there is a lot of time for readers to realize that not every sci-fi fantasy should come true.



cover photo: Timm Weitkamp CC BY 3.0 DE
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