Why Teleportation Will Be Awesome

As I sit in my hotel room in Virginia trying to fall asleep (and not succeeding), my mind has wandered to my trip here from Austin this morning and my trip home to Colorado tomorrow. During this contemplative moment, I’m fantasizing about teleportation. I would like to simply walk into a teleportation machine on this end and appear instantly in my house in Boulder. Then I’d be able to sleep in my bed tonight.

Recently, in Los Angeles, I was having dinner with Amy, Joanne Wilson, Fred Wilson, and a few of Joanne and Fred’s LA friends. Fred and I were at the end of the table and started talking about teleportation. I told him that I’d do it in a heartbeat if I had a 0.1% non-cumulative chance of losing a finger or a toe (e.g. the probability of losing a finger in each teleportation event was independent of the probability of losing a finger in the next one.)

A few days later, at the Upfront Summit, Fred did a great interview with Dan Primack, which is worth listening to in its entirety as Fred and Dan cover a ton of interesting ground. At the end (starting at 24:40), Dan asks Fred “What is the one thing you are looking for that hasn’t crossed your desk yet.”

I grinned when Fred said “teleportation.” It really would be a remarkable thing in our world and when someone shows up with a credible approach, I expect Fred and I would happily co-invest in it.

Teleportation is a mainstay of a lot of science fiction I read. As a huge Hyperion fanboy, I’ve had my mind immersed in the dynamics of farcasters, the effect of instantaneous interplanetary teleportation of the human race, and then the massive societal impact when the farcaster network abruptly stops working galaxy wide.

If you haven’t read Hyperion, pause for a second and ponder the idea of a house where every room is on a different planet. As you walk through doorways, you farcast to where the next room is located. It’s seamless – the house is one continuous entity – but each room has the properties of whatever planet it is on. And, there is no preparation to jump, as there is in BSG. It just happens.

The super awesomeness would be a portable teleportation machine that I could take with me. I go wherever I want, and then I can go from there to wherever I want. Instantly. Without having to go through TSA.

One can wish.

My special bonus is I’d see Fred a lot more often, which would make me very happy. Plus I’d be home now, instead of still in Virginia.

  • Scott Duffy

    Brad – I love this. Been thinking about teleportation as well. How cool. I’ve also been thinking about how cool it may be for my kids to go to space, some how, some way in their lifetimes.

  • Andrew Cohen

    I could see how a version of teleportation could be possible by 2030. Imagine a combination of:

    – Immersive VR

    – Mild electrodes that convey messages to optic nerve and hippocampus

    – A humanoid robot covered in haptic sensors

    I strap on the Oculus Muse, and I fully experience the senses and sensations of my distant avatar. I control its movements with my brain as if it were my own body.

    The Oculus Muse then partners with Uber Avatar, so you can seamlessly “rent” a virtual body anywhere on the planet (or universe).

    • VR will allow effective teleportation (among other things), probably much earlier than 2030.

  • As far fetch as it may seem to some, warp drives and / or teleportation will inevitably be discovered — that’s the only viable way for humans or other species to travel space over long distances.

    The only thing is, Brad, you may be a few hundred years old by then. Hopefully Larry Page will have included you in his life extension program in time 🙂

  • Miloš Jovanović


  • To any distance, even inter-galactic

  • As an OG trekkie I love the concept of teleportation. It’s incalculably disruptive, that’s for sure.

    How about we just see if we can even handle driver-less cars first?

  • Funny, I said Teleportation on AVC too when Fred posted the 2 min Upfront pre-Summit video asking VCs to predict the biggest technology change in the next 5 years.

    But I would be happy with a pseudo-teleportation, i.e. imagine there were thousands of tiny cameras everywhere you wanted to be, and you could be transported online and appear to be there by a combination of VR/AR super-imposition and if it’s done the same way in reverse, then two people could have the illusion of being with each other and inside the remote environment, virtually.
    I think that is probably more plausible in the next 5 years, than hard teleportation.

  • One more on that topic. Read this short post by Fred, from 2 0 0 3 !!
    We should ask Microsoft where their teleportation research stands at.

  • I can think of some situations where I could have used teleportation.

  • Eric Ralph

    Alas, teleportation is almost without a doubt impossible. Even if it were possible, the ethics of it are truly brutal when fully considered.

  • My super power wish when I was small (maybe seven or eight) was to be able to travel instantly, in a straight line, to anything that I had line of sight to. As I got a bit little older I kept the wish the same, but developed some complicated accessories for travelling across oceans.

  • DaveJ

    Teleportation of your mind will be a lot easier than teleportation of your body. So upload (& download) technology is the best bet. Obvious line extension for Hertz & Avis.