Do you ever think about how fantastic it would be if certain technology was developed or if the world was ruled by women or if you won the Cash for Life lottery? I do. Constantly.
I have a funny feeling that this is going to be one of a suite of posts on stuff that would be really great if it happened. Life is tough, and I think most people really wish that it would be fantastic if a few things happened to make it easier. This is going to have a list-y feel to it, but bear with me – I love lists. Mostly because lists, to me, are well-organized, coherent thoughts that help you get stuff done. Anyway, let’s move on.
Start suspending disbelief in 3…2…1…NOW!
Have you ever seen an episode of “Star Trek”? If yes, you know what I’m talking about and likely, I need to go no further because we all know how awesome teleportation for the masses would be. If you haven’t, they have this technology (in the future) that moves people over distance almost instantaneously by splitting the traveler into a gazillion little pieces, or dematerializing, and putting him back together into his whole person, or re-materializing, on the other end, at his destination. Now, there are a million existential, not to mention physics and light-speed travel, issues with teleportation. But dream with me for a moment, because that’s what this whole post is about. A traveler would jump into a teleport machine, choose a place to go, press some buttons, and go forth to be de-materialized and re-materialized at the destination of their choice.
In my future world, everyone has a teleportation machine in their house, and such machines would exist all over the world. This would mean the death of the airline industry but the economy would make up for it in tourist spending because I would go out for dinner in New York City or Rio De Janeiro or at a Tuscan farmhouse every night of my life. Also, imagine how teleportation would help with development. I would spend a weekend a month building houses in Bangladesh or irrigation trenches in Zambia. It’s the cost of travel that often keeps people from doing these kinds of philanthropic activities and with that barrier removed, imagine what would get done. Also imagine how much better we would all understand each other. I’m assuming we would need a passport or some kind of tracking to make sure immigration didn’t get out of control but imagine how easy it would be to educate those who don’t have access to the level of education we have. Imagine how easy it would be to get the best medical treatments. Imagine how easy it would be to transfer knowledge. Also, we wouldn’t need cars anymore because we would all just teleport to where we were going – work, school, grocery shopping. Is teleportation actually possible? Well, maybe. This is a good, relatively layman’s terms article that answers some questions, and asks others. Also, here’s a video about the science of teleporters from a real live professor! The video quality isn’t fantastic but it’s fun anyway:
You know what would be fantastic? If public policy and decisions were made with history in mind. I’m a Political Science grad, and one of my best friends is a History grad. We talk about the mix of politics and history all the time, and most of the time, it’s pretty clear that a decision is bad because someone hasn’t remembered history. History shows patterns of events and their long-term results and we should be paying more attention to the lessons of history. For example, how many times do we have to see that cutting taxes for the rich and restraining government spending doesn’t result in growing economies? How many times do we have to see that religious fanaticism results in war and violence – two things that most religions aren’t big fans of? How many times does it have to be shown that human learning and enlightenment result in progress like healthier, happier, wealthier people?
I had a discussion with said friend the other day about the European Union. After WWII, France and Germany in particular realized their warring history and made historic decisions to band together in economic cooperation in order to make it WAY harder to consider going to war against each other in the future. Obviously, this is a simplified view, but for all intents and purposes, countries that are bound in economic and social cooperation are likely not going to screw it up. This wasn’t a new idea – people and states have done this over the many millenia to usher in new periods of peace and prosperity. History comes back to both help and haunt. There’s much I want to say about this but I would rather see what you all have to say in comments instead of shoving my own ideology down your throats.
I’m a little scared of elevators so I wish that they had more back-up systems than they currently have and were absolutely guaranteed to get me to the 10th floor without fear. Elevators are ubiquitous in this life, and so I wish I could throw that little phobia overboard. Scientists, particularly at CalTech, are researching a SPACE elevator. SCARY!!! I will NOT be going up in that elevator.
That’s all I’ve got for now. What do you think would be fantastic if it happened?