Monday, September 21, 2015

Story prompt that probably isn't original

I occasionally look at Reddit and see "story prompt" postings.  Given last week's story of a physics experiment that will attempt to put a microbe in "two places at once" in a quantum experiment, I thought of my own, but I wouldn't be surprised if it hasn't already been the subject of at least a short story.  Here goes:
Future teleporting won't be about destroying one version of yourself and recreating it elsewhere (as used to be speculated in Star Trek) - it will be about quantum splitting of yourself into two places, with one of you branching off into the (very similar) multiverse, never to be met again.   Quantum computers will make this cheap and simple - so much so that nearly everyone in a country with a modern economy will teleport daily to get to work, the shops, etc.   It'll replace public transport, cars, airlines, etc.  The biggest problem will be limiting the numbers wanting to get to popular destinations.   You just have a home portal, and all major buildings will have there's at the entrance.

One day, however, the Google controlled Universal Teleporting System breaks down (possibly via interference from another universe.)   The quantum duplicates and the original stay in the same universe, every time a person teleports.   Given that (say) a quarter of the world's population teleports at least once daily (many several times a day), within the space of a few hours, the world's population has doubled, with some people finding multiple copies of themselves turning up at their front door, not expecting to find themselves already home.

How does the world deal with this? 
Update:   here's a thread that talks about how "teleportation ethics" has been raised in both Star Trek and other science fiction stories and novels.  But it's based on the problem being that the original person being destroyed or disassembled in the process of being re-constituted somewhere else.  

My prompt isn't worried about that - as the explanation for teleporting will be that the other "you" has gone on to live in another universe - one nearly identical to your own, and the universe if quantum branching all the time anyway, so what's the harm in that?


Anonymous said...


Will you stop removing my comments, you gutless twerp?

Steve said...

JC, I haven't removed a comment for quite a while - a month or so? Can't remember what the last one would have been.

Aren't you the one who keeps on telling people at Catallaxy not to complain if comments don't appear sometimes?