Side-effects may include destructive interference
I like to think about the future. Not necessarily my future, but the future of the human race. Where are we and what are we heading towards. Because I’m a technical entity, most of my thoughts turn to AI at some point and then onto “what would an AI with an almost unlimited learning capacity be capable of?”. Sure, we’ll use it to cure diseases and build houses and stuff, but what about those things that, as humans, we are incapable of engineering because of our own limitations.
Teleportation. The stuff of science fiction. But also something that would be very cool if the AI revolution turns out OK. We already know that matter and energy are known to be linked (hat-tip to Einstein for that one) and these days we can routinely(?) convert between them. What we can’t do is convert with structure (information) embedded in it.
But that’s just an engineering problem, right? With enough advanced knowledge of nuclear physics, we would be able to control the matter-energy conversion in such a way as to make it reversible. And boom - teleportation. Stand in this device, we’ll convert you into pure energy, fling you across some distance (at something close to the speed of light) and then rebuild you back into your squishy, matter-filled self.
Travelling anywhere on Earth would take less than a second and getting to any of our planets in the Solar System would take less time than a flight across the Atlantic. While in transit, you’d also be in a sort of suspended animation: the ultimate in anti-ageing.
Of course, if we achieved that level of technology, there’s a good chance we would have cracked immortality as well. So it’d probably be really useful to easily send humans out into the galaxy, otherwise Earth is going to resemble Oxford Circus station on a Friday evening.