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5 Awesome Sci-Fi Inventions (That Would Actually Suck)

#2.
Teleporters

As seen in:
Star Trek, The Fly, countless video games.

Why we thought we wanted it:
Here's a technology that'd make the flying car and the jetpack both look like that retarded Flintstones car you drive with your feet. We're talking instant transport to anywhere, any time. You can live on the beach in Hawaii and live in New York. Sit there in the morning and sip coffee until about five seconds before the meeting is set to start, then step into your transport and there you are, in the conference room.

Why we were wrong:
Many later science fiction writers have declared that a device that can disassemble and reassemble a human molecule-by-molecule would be patently unsafe (the most famous and grotesque portrayal of a teleporter accident came, of course, in the film Spaceballs). But, even if they get the bugs worked out (what method of transportation is perfectly safe, after all?) there is a much larger and much weirder issue.

A teleporter wouldn't actually break down your atoms and then shoot those same atoms thousands of miles through the air; even if it were possible, there'd be no reason to do it. It would instead just grab Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms from out of the air and assemble you out of those (one Hydrogen atom is the same as another, after all).

In other words, teleporters would work more like fax machines than mail. It transmits a signal and the machine on the other end spits out a copy. Only instead of a copy of a letter, it's a copy of a person, right down to all their thoughts and memories and here the original is destroyed. This was demonstrated in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Episode 250 ("Second Chances", aired May 24, 1993, Stardate 46915.2) where they failed to destroy the original Will Riker and were left with two of him.

Are you grasping the weirdness of this? The original is destroyed. That means when you step into a teleporter, you die. But, the rest of the world won't know you died, because a copy of you will step out of the other end of the machine. It won't be you, though, it'll be another you that happens to share your memories. To the outside observer the thing will always work fine, and the thing that steps out of the receiving end will think it worked fine. The one person who knows it didn't worked fine, can't tell anyone because they fucking died via total atomization the moment they stepped into the machine.

So, the first time Captain Kirk used the teleportation device to beam down to an alien planet, he was basically resigning himself to an immediate death and hoping that his twin would carry out the mission for him.

#1.
Matter Replicators

As seen in:
Again, Star Trek

Why we thought we wanted it:
You're hungry, and you don't really feel like cooking or even going out to get something. Well no need to starve! This machine will replicate virtually any food that you can think of. Or, at least a series of foods that have previously been programmed into the machine.

Not just food, either. Anything. Need new batteries for your remote? Replicator. New pair of shoes? No problem. Forget your girlfriend's birthday? Punch a button on the replicator and it'll spit out a pair of flawless diamond earrings.

Why we were wrong:
Since it's just assembling molecules, presumably it would be cheaper for this thing to make you a pair of diamond earrings than a hot dog, since fewer molecules and less energy would be required. It could print perfect counterfeit money. Hell, punch a button, and it'll crank out a molecule-for-molecule replica of The Mona Lisa.

The bad news is, of course, it would eliminate your job. Your job, and all your friends' jobs, and, well, almost everyone else's. No need for farms or factories or stores. The only people who'd still be working are doctors and the people who make replicators. Oh, wait, you can just have a huge replicator that makes replicators. Nevermind.

It's just as well, even if there were jobs, there would be no way to pay you. You could make bars of gold in your replicator. Yes, we're talking about the utter collapse of the entire basis by which every society has ever existed on the planet.

The end of everything will come on the day when anyone can make anything. Except a flying car, those will still be useless.

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