As we’ve repeatedly said before here on Capitalberg, we live in an age of science fiction. What were once the dreams of creative geniuses now consist of our reality, and some were even far surpassed. But that’s only natural, as progress is at the core of our species. And if we’re not going to follow what’s at our core, what else are we supposed to do.
While some science fiction franchises got a lot of things wrong, others got a lot of things right. Ray Bradbury nailed the tiny earbuds and the massive wall TVs in Fahrenheit 451 in the 1950s, Jules Verne had it right by predicting the moon landing in the 1800s, while John Brunner’s 1968 work Stand on Zanzibar gets a startlingly large amount of things right about 21st century technology and habits.
Star Trek’s prediction track record
One of the largest and most accurate numbers of future predictions were provided by the world-renown Gene Roddenberry in his Star Trek series. While some things were so ridiculously wrong, like still using cord telephones on a starship, others were uncannily correct.
Flip phones were predicted in the 1960s series, although they did have quite a short lived, but other predictions are far more impressive. Automatic doors, video calls and powerful scanners were all predicted by the show, among many others.
Beam me up, Scotty?
Arguably the second most important Star Trek piece of technology, after the replicator, was the beaming system. The way it worked led to many philosophical and even religious commentaries on the implications of teleportation, but it is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable technologies ever portrayed.
The way the transporter worked was via quantum physics. Since our bodies are made out of molecules that are all around us, the beaming technology worked by uploading your consciousness to a server, completely disintegrating your body in the original place, recreating it at the destination from the molecules present there and then uploading your consciousness into the new body.
Ignoring the implication that every single Star Trek character is actually a clone of a clone of a clone, and so forth, with the original body long destroyed, scientists have started working for a while now on the technology. And even though it was only achievable at a quantum level, they recently managed to move further.
But how does the real life Star Trek transporter use teleportation?
First of all, the teleportation of physical objects is still impossible. But information can be very easily transported, according to the team behind the project. Since light is made of quantum particles, it means that the same particle can be in multiple places at the same time
Using this, the researchers encoded a modified laser beam with certain information and then teleported the information to another modified laser beam. The whole information encoded into the light was readily accessible in the destination laser beam. So far, this has a few implications.
First of all, we’re still not there yet with physical teleportation, but we’re working on it. Second of all, even though the current technology can only be used locally, it can still be used to instantly transport however much information you want to a different location, working wonders for large data amounts.
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