Keep Your New Year’s Resolution at the Quantum Level!
New Year’s was the biggest day of the year for the teleportation industry.
Business always picked up around the new year. People wanted to make a change, discard the past — out with the old, in with the new. They made resolutions to exercise or read more or learn a new skill. People wanted to improve themselves. And what better way to become your newer, more idealized self than to destroy your old self at the quantum level?
For years, teleportation had been used in the transportation of Fedex packages and nonperishable goods — even animals and pets from time to time. But no person would ever voluntarily have themselves teleported.
The teleportation industry couldn’t blame them. On its face, the process was a little horrifying. The original object to be teleported had to be scanned, each molecule, every atom had to be recorded and copied. Then the information — every electron’s position, the quantum state of every particle — had to be transmitted to a receiving station where the subject was reconstructed with a whole new complement of atoms.
But in order to make an entire digital map of someone’s body — identical down to the quantum level — all of the particles in the original object had to be taken apart, piece by atomic piece.
It’s hard to convince a person to step into a machine that reduces them to a soup of disorganized matter.
Not that the teleportation industry didn’t try.
They explained through a series of infomercials and online advertising, that the teleportation process was completely safe. No one died. In fact, people are teleporting all the time — just at a much slower rate.
The human body is constantly replacing its cells. On a continuous basis, all the matter in your body is being swapped out for new atoms. Every day. All of the time.
That’s exactly how teleportation works — except it happens in an instant, to every cell in your body at the same time. So If the teleportation process killed people, you would already be dead — killed by your own metabolism — a thousand times over.
But their messaging didn’t work.
It didn’t connect.
That’s not what people wanted to hear.
In fact, it made most people even more horrified — afraid they were dying a little bit every day. And they had the teleportation industry to thank for popularizing this newfound existential horror.
People stopped having their pets teleported.
So the teleportation industry resigned itself to the sole transportation of inanimate objects and the occasional dead body. The financial boon of human teleportation seemed perpetually out of reach.
That is until a young marketing strategist came up with an idea. Don’t sell human teleportation as transportation, she said. Don’t gloss over the fact that the original person is destroyed. Embrace it. Sell it as a machine that does destroy the original you. And recreates you somewhere else, with all new atoms, with all new matter, fresh off the assembly line. A whole new you. A better you.
The teleportation industry was intrigued. For years, they had been struggling to sell the idea that the person who arrived was the exact same person as the one who left. But what if what people really wanted was to be a different person. Teleportation could bring you not only to a new place instantaneously — it would make you a whole new person in no time at all.
No more therapy. No more self help books. No more prescription medications. No more dreaming of the person you longed to be. Teleportation would let you be that person instantaneously.
No more dwelling on the past or regrets. Those would be destroyed along with your old molecules. Those mistakes you made, well, that was a whole different person, with a whole other body made of entirely different matter.
This is what people really wanted. This is what they wanted to hear. They weren’t so much scared of being destroyed by the teleportation process as they were by the prospect of being resurrected as the identical, flawed person they were before.
People wanted a change.
They wanted to be different.
So the teleportation industry went with it.
After all, nothing else had worked.
So human teleportation finally took off. The destination didn’t really matter. Most people didn’t even get transported very far — just into an adjacent room sometimes. But the person who emerged on the transporter pad was brand new. Fresh off the assembly line.
That’s how New Year’s became the biggest day of the year for the industry. The teleportation centers stayed open all night and into the next day. They brought in extra staff and the transporters ran nonstop. People lined up around the block for the chance to become a new person in a new place in the new year. For those who had trouble keeping their past New Year’s resolutions, the guarantee that the quantum-level digital map of their bodies would never experience any loss of resolution was an irresistible draw. There was no scientific basis for it but people reported feeling younger, more refreshed, happier.
Yet nothing really changed on the quantum level. Although they were composed of new matter, there would be no way to tell the difference between the person they were before and the one they were now.
But the teleportation industry wasn’t going to say that.
Not as long as people kept paying for the service.
So their customers rematerialized with a curious certainty that these atoms would actually stick to their diet.
These molecules could finally ask for that raise.
This was the quantum state they needed to be in to move on from that relationship and start anew.
Even if they were indistinguishable from their original self, people almost always came out of the teleportation process feeling different. All of their atoms might have been the same, but something inside of them had changed. Some intangible aspect that couldn’t be scanned and copied and reconstructed. Something they couldn’t quite describe but felt with every fiber of their being. That was different now. And so they were too.
That’s all that really mattered.