Worldbuilding Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for writers/artists using science, geography and culture to construct imaginary worlds and settings. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

As soon as you turn 10, you receive a magic book that can teleport you anywhere on planet earth. If you're above 10, you also received one. By writing the coordinates of anywhere on earth, you can teleport there. For example, if I wrote 40° 40' 16.68" N, 75° 19' 3.36" W I would be teleported to Bedminster, NJ. You cannot be teleported to space/the moon and you cannot specify the altitude at which you would like to be dropped; you will simply be dropped on the earth's surface at that point. If you steal someone else's book and write in it, you will not be teleported, each book is specific to its original owner. If the owner dies, the book goes to waste as no one can use it. The book only allows for 100 teleports before it will be filled up, and you can't teleport anymore.

How would this revolutionize travel and change counter-terrorism and terrorism forces? What would be the long term and short term effects of this?

Edit: The teleportation is as precise as you make it. There is no limit on decimal points. As Marky points out, if you work it out well enough, you can teleport yourself from your chair at work to your chair in your house. Whatever you are holding or wearing will be teleported with you.

Also, as pointed out by XandarTheZenon, I've edited my question to make it a bit clearer. If you're teleporting to an ice lake, you will be teleported to the bottom, because that is the surface of the earth. This will make teleporting to the ocean deadly because you will immediately die from the immense pressure and freezing temperature. Also, assume that you will not be interspersed into any intervening obstacle. If there's a tree where you're about to teleport, assume that the teleportation system sees the tree or other obstacle and will move you ever so slightly to avoid become merged with the tree. If two people teleport into the same exact place at the same time (although this is extremely unlikely), neither of the two teleports will work properly, so no one will be teleported. However, both people will have wasted one teleport.

share|improve this question
2  
how precise can you get with these teleports? is there a limit to how many decimal places? If I work it out well enough, can I teleport myself from my chair at my work to my chair in my house? or are these teleports only accurate to a few hundred/thousand feet? Less accurate makes terrorism/crime things harder I believe. Also, How much can I bring with me? its pointless to try to steal anything or bring a bomb with me if I cant even teleport with my clothing – Marky Mar 8 at 14:14
3  
You should redact the "bottom of ocean" part. If the teleportation system is smart enough to recognize a building wall or a tree, why not dense fluids? – Mindwin Mar 8 at 17:01
9  
If I enter the coordinates of a bank vault, can I get inside the vault? Or will I just end up on the roof? – Darrel Hoffman Mar 8 at 22:19
3  
Hmm, well except that a frighteningly high number of children will die, until parents realize that they should take the books away from them until they are 18 ... at least. – RBarryYoung Mar 9 at 5:14
3  
It would be better if the book came with a huge map and instead of jotting down coordinates you could pinpoint the location on the map.. – mayank budhwani Mar 9 at 7:17

14 Answers 14

up vote 30 down vote accepted

100 teleports?

Well, if I'm completely honest, there's a high probability that nothing would change.

Why?

Well, consider the average 10 year old. Now give them the ability to teleport 100 times in their life. How many of them do you think would manage to make those 100 teleports last more than a year? I can guarantee you that on average, girls would have more left after that first "splurge" period, that's for sure.

So, let's assume that there's a certain amount of education into the importance of not wasting your teleports, or maybe parents looking out for their children/controlling dictators (what's the difference, you ask? Go to your room, that's what!) confiscate the books to be inherited when they're old enough to understand their worth. Either way, some method exists whereby people will have enough teleports to be useful when they grow old enough to use them in a "worthwhile" manner. How does this change things?

Travel

This one's easy. Practically nothing changes.

100 teleports is not a lot. In fact, it's a tiny amount. Even if you only live till you're 60, that's only 2 teleports a year from the age of 10. 2. That means that you're going to keep them for specific situations:

  1. Emergencies. My wife is in labour! Good thing I can teleport to her side immediately!
  2. REALLY long distance travel. Once-in-a-lifetime trips to the other side of the world become slightly more feasible, but you'd still only do them once or twice, and you'd only really teleport there to save on the travel costs. Shorter distances and closer holidays would still use mundane transport, plus you can't teleport with small kids as they aren't old enough.
  3. Crime. I have the exact coordinates of something that is worth me spending a teleport on, or someone has offered me a courier job that is worth the cost of a teleport. Which brings me to...

Crime and Security

Again, not much actually changes, except for a few things.

So people can teleport anywhere they have the exact coordinates for. Who cares? They can only teleport to ground level. If I want to keep something secure, I just have to move it up or down. Underground storage gets a massive economical boost, but that's about it.

If you wanted to make a super-secure facility, you could make ground level into a death trap. Create new structures out of mobile modules that shift position internally. Have some of the modules be unsafe for humans and keep the pattern a secret. People can't jump inside the building without risking their safety, unless they know the pattern of safe entry points. Now you've reduced the teleporting problem to a simple information security problem, so no different to keeping your keys safe in reality.

You can be even simpler than that - keep important stuff mobile. If it's always moving, it's hard to teleport into the right place.

Hell, you can get even simple than THAT: raise your whole building about half a metre off the ground. Anyone tries to teleport in they're going to materialise halfway through the floor.

Terrorism/Catching people

This sort of thing is going to be an issue, but not a civilisation-destroying one. You're going to have an initial cataclysm to deal with, but let's be honest, how much damage can they actually do? Terrorists already use the largest bombs they can get their hands on, and they can already get pretty much anywhere they want to go. Sure, ISIS/ISIL/Daesh for instance could attack US targets far more easily, but how many times? What targets? And would they even get to strike first? Given the resources at hand, the US is far more likely to manage a crippling strike on Raqqa before they can identify and organise an attack on a sufficiently immovable and effective target like a nuclear power plant.

No country is going to attack another because the threat of civilian casualties would be too high, but actually taking out targets of strategic value would be no easier than before. Catching people would be a bit harder, but again, they've only got 100 teleports, and if they're the kind of person predisposed to crime, the chances are they've already used a lot of them. Only so long you can stay on the run, though it might see a lot of political work on extradition laws. Those countries that currently don't sign up to mutual extradition laws might change their minds quite quickly when they find their countries being increasingly populated by criminals.

Even committing many crimes would be harder. You'd have to surprise someone to kill them, otherwise they could just teleport away. You'd probably have stuff like coordinate stamps that people could use to quickly teleport to a pre-determined point.

Would anyone even dare?

Final point: unadulterated mass-teleportation around the world would be INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS, depending on the physics involved. What happens if I teleport to a coordinate that is occupied by a wall? By another Person? What happens if two people enter the same coordinates at the same time? The chances that you would actually have a safe landing, if everyone was just doing their own thing, would be terrible. In order to make the system workable, you would have to have sanctioned teleport points and coordinate-assigning machines that would tell you where you could safely jump. That, or the book would have to have in-built safety features. Even then, what's "safe"? If I'm a shopkeeper worried about thieves, all I have to do is electrify my floor.


So yes, you'd probably get a bit of initial disruption and chaos, but I would imagine that we'd survive that relatively unscathed as a civilisation, and once past that, the ability to teleport would be rarely enough used to make most things stay pretty much as they are.

share|improve this answer
7  
Terrorists renting a home in London and then coordinating their activities through internet, bringing in supplies and then finally assembling a 400 lb dirty bomb in that loft before all returning to middle east ... might result in short term and long term (cancer and other genetic mutation related ailments) casualties numbered in millions ... Worse yet would be New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Karachi, Jeddah, St Peterberg ... – Youstay Igo Mar 8 at 15:38
7  
And don't forget the whole swarm of illegal immigrants and whatnot. P.s. drug and weapon smuggling ... – Youstay Igo Mar 8 at 15:39
    
Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Serban Tanasa Mar 9 at 23:00

Forget terrorism and counter and all that. This book will basically reshape the entire human political history. Take for example the case of colonialism implemented by UK, Spain and France.

There were no more than 4 million (and that too, is a generous estimate) British officers in India before the independence in 1947 and India's population was around 250 million. All those unhappy, dissatisfied people, protesting for independence ... what do you think they would do if they had those magic books with them? Well, they would simply transport themselves to UK and take that whole country simply by the ghastly superiority of numbers!

Think about all the wars which people won on the basis of technology instead of numbers. And all those military tactics where the commander tries to deflect the enemy forces from the battleground and take the remaining troops by surprise.

Don't forget that implementing borders between country would also be impossible. Law enforcement? Haah what? Who is going to stop people from magically appearing in jewellery shops at 4 am and loot all the goodies before magically disappearing again?

share|improve this answer
10  
Youstay is right. You've basically given every human in the world the ability to do something 100 times that, in the hands of a skilled military strategist, just once would be enough to change history. – Cort Ammon Mar 8 at 14:35
2  
I just heard Napolean's ghost whispering "Ah touche! The Battle Of Waterloo ..." in my ears :( – Youstay Igo Mar 8 at 15:34
1  
@CortAmmon Maybe. But what happens if 100 people teleport at the same place? Do they drop on top of each other? Merge? Much of this depends on how precise the teleport is, and how it works – Ciacciu Mar 8 at 15:46
4  
True, Ciacciu, but that is when you have not implemented protocols within your organization/army. We are not talking about haphazardly random teleportation here, but well planned and organized teleports. Why would a band of well communicated terrorists/criminals teleport all at the same time at the same place? They would rather organize the whole thing and work according to plans well made. – Youstay Igo Mar 8 at 15:50
4  
As mentioned in another answer, the law enforcement point isn't really valid - just put all your jewelry shops on the second floor or in the basement, and you're good to go. Immigration policy would be a lot more difficult to enforce, but that's not the only thing borders are good for. I'm not really sure what to make of your India teleporting to the UK example - if it's really just a numbers game, why not just use the "ghastly superiority of numbers" to take their own country? – Matt Mar 8 at 16:33

This would be terrifying for terrorism or even simple war. The person has to write in their own book and they have to write with their own hand but nothing says they have to do it of their own free will.

Bombing

Kidnap 100 families. Herd the children into a pit with machine guns pointed at them. Strap as much explosives as the parent can carry to one of the parents and, with a gun to their spouses temple put their book in front of them and make them write the coordinates. Depending on what counts as "writing" you could further restrict this. Lay a stencil over the book with the coordinates, give them only a can of spray-paint to make sure they cannot write anything except the coordinates you want them to write.

enter image description here

The explosives are triggered to explode a few seconds after they lose contact with some radio beacons at the launch site.

A few seconds later the white-house, the senate and 98 other sites are turned into balls of fire.

Defences

In this world the only defenses will be obscurity and flying or floating vehicles. The president is only safe in a vault which nobody knows about or on ships or planes. (since you teleport to the earths surface and those are far above it)

North korea wants to suppress it and prevent their citizens from escaping so they simply lock up every child for the week around their 10th birthday with their hands in iron casts (so they cannot write), they wait till the book arrives then burn it.

Vaults all move far above or bellow the earths surface or are maintained at close to zero air pressure. It's all well and good teleporting into a bank vault. Less good if your blood boils because there's no air. Alternatively nets and wires are strung thickly through the vaults to either block teleportation or to kill people who teleport into those objects.

Child safety

Internet predators convince children to write coordinates in their books to "come play". The children are never seen again.

Many western governments insist that books be confiscated and destroyed as soon as they appear. They spin this as a measure to keep children safe since so many drowned or disappeared forever in the first few days. Many parents agree and help with the program.

Parents who don't destroy their childrens books are likely to keep them away from them to avoid their 10 year old teleporting to the middle of Atlantic ocean or into some creeps dungeon.

Borders

The world no longer has any effective border controls. Anyone who ever wanted to move countries can do so now in seconds.

Safe landing coordinates become important information. It's all well and good landing in america but no good if you land in a lake, or in the middle of something hazardous. Some people spread fake coordinates claiming them to be useful locations but they're dangerous locations or locations where people will be stripped of their books and detained.

People will be able to flee conflict far more easily but conflict can also follow them.

Smuggling

Smuggling of any small items becomes insanely easy when one person can move 100kg of cocaine anywhere in the world in seconds.

Teleport value

Short distance travel is almost unchanged but long haul flights become far rarer for people who travel rarely. The 100 teleports limit somewhat softens this one since anyone traveling regularly will still need it.

Unused teleports will become a somewhat valuable commodity. If you can carry someone when teleporting then people will be able to sell transport to people without books or who have used their teleports.

I'd expect the price of a single teleport to end up somewhere in the same price region as one long-haul flight if everyone gets 100 of them by default. After the initial spree expect people to spend them about as sparingly.

share|improve this answer
2  
Because someone is watching them write and will kill their family if they don't fill in the exact coordinates specified. Why should this person care more about the president of some foreign country than they do about their family? Or depending on the rules the kidnappers could just tape a pen to their hands and physically force them to write the coordinates through a stencil so that they can't write any other. The easiest way to stop someone using their book to escape would be to simply take it from them at gun point. It takes .1 seconds to pull a trigger. How fast can you write coordinates. – Murphy Mar 8 at 16:00
1  
if the man and his family were forced into that situation, the man can A. kill himself and the most important people in the country, saving his family for a few moments until they are "dismissed" by the terrorists. killing yourself to save someone else for a few minutes hardly sounds worth it. Surly the man would know the terrorists wouldn't just let this family go. – X-27 Mar 8 at 17:52
4  
@X-27 They gain nothing by doing so and a few public examples where it's known they released hostages unharmed would only make future captives more likely to comply with their plans. Terrorists have goals, they aren't evil for the sake of evil, there's no rule that says they must always double-cross everyone even when it gains them nothing and hurts their future plans. – Murphy Mar 8 at 18:26
2  
@Holger The demographic profile of the kind of people who become terrorists is pretty much identical to the profile of the kind of people who vote and campaign and canvas for their favorite political party. You're parroting what amounts to propaganda, viewing all terrorists as braindead zombies screaming "for evil" as they do evil deeds purely for the sake of evil deeds. They have goals and often their actions are quite well placed to achieve them. A reputation for keeping your word once given is as valuable to terrorists as it is to gangsters and politicians. – Murphy Mar 9 at 12:00
1  
Put another way, imagine you're living in a refugee camp. You've heard stories. Other people have been kidnapped in the past. You've met someone who was kidnapped exactly like that with someone being forced to take part in an attack and you know they were later released (perhaps with a big payoff). This is basically how some real world terrorists recruit. They can use both the carrot and the stick. Threats if they don't cooperate and promises of rewards for their next of kin if they do. – Murphy Mar 9 at 13:38

Collapse of the economy, and possibly, of civilization.

There are billions of people living in extreme poverty. Many of them would be happy to move to a better place. Imagine if from one day to the next, over a billion people would suddenly appear in the richest cities of the world.

Look at the current migrant crisis, increase both the speed and the numbers by a factor of a thousand, and you can imagine the chaos which would ensue. Millions of starving people suddenly appearing in developed cities, and rioting as very few of them could find what they arrived for.

share|improve this answer
2  
While I agree that is certainly a possibility, first those billions need to understand what the little numbers mean to get where they want to go. What if someone gave out 0.0000, 0.0000 as Valhalla? – bowlturner Mar 8 at 16:46
4  
@bowlturner : how did the migrants in the current crisis manage to find their way through the Balkans into Western Europe, how did they find the smugglers, how did they manage to know where they have the best chances to cross a border? Mobile phones, sms, social network, etc. Today even people in the poorest regions have access to a mobile phone, or have a relative, or a friend, or a friend of a friend who does. – vsz Mar 8 at 22:00
    
@vsz: They usually aren't (or, more precisely, weren't before the journey) poor. And definitely are not stupid. They are doctors, lawyers, carpet merchants who sold their houses and cars to pay to smugglers and everyone else on the way. bowlturner is seriously condescending, I believe 95 % of migrants would understand how to use the book just as well as he would. Or better, because they are more desperate. – Tomáš Kafka Mar 11 at 11:10

Well, a LOT of people would die. Since 2/3rd's of the planet is Ocean, a lot of people would be dropped in and drown before reaching a shore. There are large deserts and many other inhospitable reaches, so that if someone didn't have a no place like '127.0.0.1', they could be lost forever, or go from bad to worse. "I made it to the top of Mount Everest!, but the wind blew my book away! Oh NO!" "Oh look I'm on the Autobah..."

Not sure how it would affect counter-terrorism other than it would be much HARDER to prevent someone from teleporting into the middle of a crowded stadium with a nuke. Having a limit of 100 jumps also helps the terrorist, since they only need one, trying to find people and using the book as an escape has limited capabilities.

What it would really do is change society, large gatherings would cease, the superbowl would only be televised. Rock concerts would be small special venues also televised. Governments wouldn't meet in the open, but in secret chambers and lots of secured electronic communications. Since there would be no way to stop someone from arriving anywhere that they have coordinates for.

It would also mean most people would have 'home' mostly filled out except for the last set of numbers so in an emergency they can fill in the missing digits and arrive 'home' quickly.

With a limit of 100 teleports, it will not kill transportation. It might reduce it somewhat though.

share|improve this answer
    
Implication: Terrorists can get their hands on a nuke. That's not true now, doubt it would be true even with teleportation (they'd all be kept in underground bunkers). – I Stanley Mar 8 at 15:00
    
@IStanley so I was a little overboard on the nuke. they could still get a very powerful explosive and show up. There are some non-nuclear bombs more destructive than nuclear ones. – bowlturner Mar 8 at 15:03
    
Yup and they're all as heavily controlled! You have a general point - you could more easily smuggle an explosive of some kind into a large gathering to kill a lot of people, with all the preparation taking place elsewhere, but a) getting to the bombing point isn't generally the hard part (otherwise you'd get a lot more bombings during rush hour in big cities), and how would you teleport into a packed crowd in the first place? Chances are any coordinate you choose is already occupied by a person. – I Stanley Mar 8 at 15:22
1  
Why would a LOT of people die? Naturally some mistakes will be made, but then the same is true of anything that enables someone to kill themselves either intentionally or carelessly. If I were to say, "what would be the consequences of selling paracetamol?", would you respond, "well, a LOT of people would die, because taking 24 of those things will likely kill you". I mean, it's true (10-20 a year here in the UK), but it's not the first thing most people do if you hand them a pack. – Steve Jessop Mar 8 at 15:50
1  
I don't think the question says that nobody knows how to use them, but fair enough if you disagree. It does just say they're given it, so certainly it isn't ruled out that the thing just miraculously appears with no explanation. – Steve Jessop Mar 8 at 15:55

Geography would become a secret, tactical data, maintained by governments...

Magical properties of the book, not allowing to sell or create them, would diminish inequality in society. This has two sides:

  • positive - a poor man, who couldn't afford to travel and would see only one place in his lifetime, could actually visit 99 places (in a row), and teleport back to home, totaling in 100 visited places; a rich person, who keeps flying on his private jet could increase the number of visited places from e.g. 9900 to 10 000. That's 10000% vs ~ 1% increase.
  • negative - the inequality wouldn't be smoothed only in fair ways; poor would more easily steal from rich, popular people would need to spend much more money on security etc.

Because building effective protection from teleportation aggression would be absurdly expensive, only the most rich could afford it, and they surely wouldn't be happy about that. So they would lobby to limit publicity of sensitive geographical information - coordinates would be considered potentially more dangerous than bomb designs or guides on creating biological weapons.

... Not all governments, though

Wars or smaller militaristic operations are rare enough to use the book. Because such teleports can be considered as a highly advanced technological weapon, it makes all countries more equal and favors those with more population like China or India, not to mention those with 'kamikaze' fanatics.

Teleports would be considered more dangerous than atom bombs and if not, then as an extremely dangerous synergy with them:

  • teleport is the most reliable way to deliver a (atom) bomb
  • a coordinated teleport-atom attack could completely destroy enemy country in seconds, not letting it to react with retaliatory action

This is why it seems a single country would sooner or later completely dominate other countries.

In less democratic countries

Or maybe even in democratic ones, for the sake of safety and maintaining civilization, citizens could be forced to use their teleports by teleporting to the place one meter in front of them and back, repeated 50 times, or simply by having the book confiscated. There could even be a similar argument to an access to guns: some people argue teleports are too dangerous and some that it may help civilians to defend against an enemy attack. In some countries like USA people will have their teleports, which will cause some issues, while in other countries you might need a permission.

Exploits

Such teleports could be used to surpass the speed of light (unless it's not instantaneous) and do many other exploits on physics. For example, a gravitational power plant could be built, which would work as a hydroelectric dam, except it wouldn't have to operate on water. It would be shaft inside a mountain, which would transform potential energy of a medium into electricity. After the medium falls to the bottom, it could be teleported back up by a person, who would use one of his teleports, but would be paid possibly much more than what he would save on travels with this teleport (and conventional travels are safer!) gravitational power plant

share|improve this answer
1  
+1 violation of conservation of energy and speed of light. But the shaft needs to be at a slight angle, because the teleport coords don't include an altitude. Just "the surface". So arrange for "the surface" to be really really high somewhere, relative to the bottom of the shaft you bore out. – Peter Cordes Mar 11 at 2:17
1  
Poor man wouldn't travel the world to see sights in 99 hops, he would take his family to start a new life in richer country. Hundreds of millions would, the first moment they'd get the book, so huge are the differences in life chances for same person in poor vs rich country. – Tomáš Kafka Mar 11 at 11:13
    
@PeterCordes teleporting only on Y axis isn't a problem - you just stand below surface and you teleport to the same coordinates (you're always teleported to the surface). However, on the image I made an assumption you can raise the surface - if not, then instead of building up you simply dig deeper down. – Markus von Broady Mar 12 at 9:42
    
@TomášKafka I agree with you, I was just making an example how a value of teleports compares for rich and poor. In fact, the gravitational plant would create so much energy that poor people would use it instead of traveling. – Markus von Broady Mar 12 at 9:43
    
My thinking was that if the hole is exactly vertical, the surface at that point is the bottom of the hole. IDK how much energy you'd get out of a single teleport. It would have to be a huge amount. I mean, (some of) Niagara Falls powers ~4.4GW of generators on the Canadian and American sides. If that's all you get out of that much flow, IDK how practical this is. Even if you optimize your generator to extract as much of the gravitational PE as possible (which hydro power probably doesn't), one trip would need to carry a huge mass. – Peter Cordes Mar 12 at 9:54

As with all overpowered abilities given out to every person, this one would collapse all major societies of the world virtually overnight. Every single major nation would implode. Why? Because they have all been balanced around the assumption that distance matters. Someone 3 feet from you with a knife is substantially more dangerous than someone 50 feet from you with a knife, which is substantially more dangerous than someone 10 miles away from you with a knife. Much of the way we manage society takes advantage of these distances.

Take, for instance, the protection of anything, from a celebrity to our nuclear secrets. All of them are protected with assumptions about what is easy and hard to do. Suddenly you just provided a very easy way for any opponent to get anywhere.

The nuclear powers would collapse quickly. The US Missile Defense Agency just put in a request for $7.5 billion to combat the threat presented by nuclear missiles. All of that money is being spent to try to make it harder for someone to land a nuke on our soil. 100% of that money is instantly wasted when these books start to come around. Suddenly one proud serf in a nuclear nation can hand-carry a nuclear device right into Washington DC, and there is literally nothing that can be done to stop it, nor any early warning that it is going to happen. Have 5 nukes? Nuke 5 cities. Don't have nukes? You can still make suicide bombers out of those who have used only 99 of their teleports.

Also, word of mouth will lead to many impovershed groups learning of places to go where food is available. First would nations will be instantly innundated with those from third world nations trying to find a better life.

Eventually society will resolve the issues, but not before every nation is destroyed. Instead, you will see nomads wandering the land -- if they don't hold still, you wont know their coordinates. Some nations might rebuild around loopholes, such as building underground to ensure nobody can teleport into their spaces.

Just think about how much closer the internet brought us. It upset entire social orders. This book idea will bring us 4 or 5 orders of magnitude closer than that -- literally close enough to reach out and touch someone. Worlds will change. You ask "what will happen?" I respond with "What won't happen?" The possibilities for a world with these books are utterly limitless, and your creativity is the only thing which would hold one of these worlds back.

share|improve this answer
2  
Why the bombers have to be suicidal? They just set the timer, teleport in, activate and leave the bomb and teleport out. Surprised victims won't teleport out before trained guys with telebooks already in hand and maybe even coordinates almost written and only missing one validating character like a colon. – Markus von Broady Mar 9 at 13:51
1  
The limit of only 100 teleports seems to me to make it only useful for breaking rules (including immigration controls) , or emergencies. Like some other answers pointed out, it won't change day-to-day travel, or even holiday travel except for saving money on the occasional really long trip. Can you expand on why you think it will bring people 4 orders of magnitude closer than the Internet? Do you mean after the fall of our current civilization that serious peace and equality are the only way to remove most people's motivation to disrupt things? (e.g. starvation) – Peter Cordes Mar 11 at 2:12
    
@PeterCordes I meant closer together literally. Not that people would be more harmonious, but that there would be no escaping other people, because people would be able to go anywhere we are, instantaneously. Right now, if you don't like someone, its hard to avoid them in social media. With teleportation like that, if you don't like someone, theres nothing you can do to stop them from teleporting 1 foot away from you at inopportune moments. For example, bathrooms stalls won't do anything to provide privacy if someone's willing to spend a teleport, no matter how many bodguards are outside – Cort Ammon Mar 11 at 3:22

Once recognized, there would be a truly massive research effort to determine the mechanism used by the Books. If found, it might lead to:

  • fully automated teleport systems, possibly usable only by "the few";
  • understanding of how the magic "senses" what's at the far end of the trip, which might lead to remote sensing systems outside of the teleport context;
  • details of the targeting mechanism: how does it know what the coords mean? how does it find ground-level? can it be fooled? how does it compensate for Earth's movement through space, rotation etc?
  • very deep insights into other related phenomena: conservation laws (speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out?) and how the connectedness thing works (how does system know what I am holding?), fields, particles, dimensionality.

Simultaneously, systems would be devised to defeat teleporting, especially at critical locations - such as constructing large water pools at the teleport levels of important buildings. There would be cheap defeat kits that could be installed in houses - like a ground-level wire mesh trap under the floor - to prevent house-breaking.

Governments and authorities (and local strong-men) around the world would instigate confiscation and disposal operations. Children aged ten would be heavily targeted and their Books rounded up. Use of Books would be tightly regulated, even in the most free countries, and people would choose to deposit their valuable Books in safe locations: possibly vaults, but maybe in government-controlled facilities where they could be used under regulation.

For many people in free countries, the Books provide little new benefit. Right now, I could book travel to 100 locations around the Earth and be at almost any one of them by Friday, using the power of international air travel. That means that, to many people, the Books would be little more than curiosities: a danger rather than an asset, especially in the hands of others - which might lower the barrier for general confiscation orders.

It all reminds me of Greg Egan's short story The Hundred Light Year Diary, where everyone gets a Diary from a hundred years in the future, telling them what will happen throughout their lives.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 for noting that a wire mesh or net slightly above ground level would prevent teleporting into a building. – Rozwel Mar 9 at 15:01

Things would be really bad for leaders, until everyone adapts. After getting used to the risks, people would rely on security by obfuscation, with world leaders adapting to the new risks hiding and using recorded messages.

Terrorism would be much more dangerous, and pretty much impossible to defend against, but the way the book is described, it doesn't allow enough precision for robberies.

I guess most common people would use teleports sparingly, although much of that depends on how authority figures react to the book; as an example, if the Pope were to say that the book is evil, I expect a lot of Christians would at least limit its use.

Tl;DR probably more bad than good

share|improve this answer
    
The book doesn't help much if you consider teleporting into a shop or something similar - but you might as well walk into the shop, take stuff and teleport away before police gets informed. – Markus von Broady Mar 9 at 13:52
1  
That can also be done with a car and a gun. Makes the situation somewhat worse, true, but not by much – Ciacciu Mar 9 at 14:05

Most of the people reading this post will be killed or starve to death.

In The Beginning

A lot of books will be left behind. The vast majority of people being asleep, being unaware of receiving the book, assuming that the book does not belong to them, or simply not seeing the book as a relevant and useful thing to keep.

In the second stage, people will notice and be aware of the fact that there are a lot of similar-looking books. This will create fear and wonder, giving the books significance. People will develop theories. People may assume they are gifts from God. People may assume they are part of a secret new world order. A large number of widely-variant theories will develop, and some will gain prominence. The books will be heavily governed in superstition and mystery. Some people will burn them. Some will study and scrutinize them. Some will believe they are luck and treasure/preserve them. Nobody can deny that a significant and monumental event has happened.

In the third stage, a small group of people will write in the books. Some people may journal private thoughts. Some people may write confessions. Some people may write the names of people they want dead. Some people may write dreams or ambitions. Some people may draw pictures. This has the potential to go on for years.

Someone will write something which resembles a coordinate, likely by accident. There's a very good chance, given that most of the Earth is ocean, that they would end up underwater and drown and die. For example, the book may interpret 'I now' as 1 degree north, 0 degrees west, leading the person to die a drowning death since that's a location off the Gulf Of Guinea in Africa. This would fuel huge fears. Most of the ocean is uncharted, so the body would never be found. The person simply vanishes.

Eventually, someone will teleport to another location that doesn't kill them.

And That, Changes Everything

It is very likely that the first person to teleport to a location near people will not be taken credibly. It is possible they may keep the teleportation a secret, either to maintain an advantage or to protect their own credibility. They may use the book multiple times before it is discovered. But eventually, it will be. Someone else will find out, who still has their book.

And that, is when things start to explode exponentially and chaos begins. Almost everyone will have a use for this technology.

Anyone wanting a vacation or to see a common tourist destination will be free to do so. Common destinations of the world will flood with tourists. Many will die making the journey, as they teleport into buildings or into other people. Those who are smart will offset the coordinates slightly to avoid this, but still the most common cities of the world will obviously flood with a lot of people.

Anyone in a long distance relationship will teleport to their lover.

A large population living in the third world will teleport to the first world. All first world countries will receive a huge flood of immigration for which they will be powerless to stop.

Anyone in prison who had the foresight to keep their book can and will break free.

Rapes, murders, and theft can all be committed easily. Even if the individual can be identified or stopped, they have the entire world to hide in. Anyone who wanted to commit a crime could freely do so.

Numerous world leaders, celebrities, corporate leaders, and prominent individuals will be assassinated before they can make their way to safety or flee using their own book.

Both factors will break down order in societies across the globe, and a culture of strong fear and secrecy will develop as millions of unpunished crimes are committed within the next many days.

However, people will adjust.

The New Normal

Most people will become elevated or underground for safety. Skyscrapers, basements, bridges, and ships will become isolated havens. Entering ground level will be done in a state of continual caution.

Stores and farms will be raided as people struggle to get enough food. The supply chain will break down. If food is still for sale, it wont be cheap. Many people will starve as they struggle to come up with new methods of finding the food they need. Food could be grown on top of skyscrapers or secured bridges. People on boats can fish for food.

As new leaders emerge, larger and larger areas of safety will be cleared out and connected together, creating new safe zones which cannot be entered from the outside. Each zone may have individual policies, most disallowing visitors, with some confiscating books. Those who allow visitors with books are wide open to be exploited.

Criminals and desperate individuals on ground level will continue to raid easy targets by day and hide by night, with tricky alliances and partnerships forming. The most successful criminals wield power by robbing and holding the books of others, controlling their ability to use them.

Out Of Moves

Hardly anyone is going to count their teleports. All they will know is, their book doesn't work anymore. Likely, it will catch them by surprise. It has a high potential to be fatal. Many people will use their moves up very quickly. Criminals will be the first to use up their books, as most others have limited use for them other than personal safety.

Those who used their moves sparingly and retain their book stand the best chance of survival. They must always be vigilant to protect their books.

As criminals use up their moves, the world will gradually become a safer place, however it will take a long time to return to something similar to the society we have now. So yes, society would drastically change and retain extensive permanent modifications.

share|improve this answer

Everyone will try and steal each-others books.

Even though stealing a book does not let you use the teleportation, by having their book they will not be able to teleport. You could then ransom the book back, or destroy it.

A second possibility is that anything touching you teleports with you. In this case if you are holding another person, they would move with you. A market could be created where people would sell their teleports to allow you to teleport.

share|improve this answer

1: All governments and rich people move into flying, floating, or underground bases

There is no way around this. Since blocking teleports to any surface building location is impossible, the only way to defeat this is to construct your bases in a location that is immune to being teleported into.

2: A transport/courier system will exist where people sell teleports for money.

Since different people value a teleport differently, society would quickly find a way to arbitrage this, in the form of selling teleports. People who are poor will likely need to sell their teleports to rich people, in the form of an instantaneous courier service.

As a corollary to point 2, organisations will exist that exploit people's teleports

For example, in order to fund research on teleports, the CIA will likely use prisoners or other undesirables to test teleporting technology, such as determining the exact parameters that a teleport would work on nonstandard destinations.

share|improve this answer

The governments would stop it.

Murphys answer suggests that North Korea would be evil enough to lock up children, then steal and burn their books.

Considering the far-ranging consequences and the threat to civilisation alleged to in other answers, all other governments would likely do the same. If any government is not powerful enough to do so, their neighbouring government will make sure to “help”.

There's always going to be some people who aren't caught, but since most people realise the danger of those books (and have already lost their own), they will help. Clearly, stealing someone elses book makes it very easy to commit homicide. Just write 90°N and that's that.

share|improve this answer
1  
It's not explicitly said ("If you steal someone else's book and write in it, you will not be teleported"), but I think you can't teleport someone by writing coordinates in his book. – Markus von Broady Mar 9 at 14:00

Transportation companies would collapse, so would the oil companies. This could easily lead to an economic crisis world wide. Terrorism, sabotage and crime would not only become easier but impossible to stop. Chaos would spreed around the world. As chaos spreads, some countries will take advantage of it and invade their enemies. This leads to war.

share|improve this answer
9  
Why would people waste their trips on going places you could easily go in your car? That just seems stupid. Hence, people would still need cars and things, although since less oil and gas would be needed the prices might drop a little. Or maybe not at all – XandarTheZenon Mar 8 at 14:29
    
To add on top of Xandar's comment - if we assume we have infinite teleports - why decreasing the cost of transportation would cause economic crisis? Quite the opposite, trade and services would flourish - if we assume no problems with crime of course. – Markus von Broady Mar 9 at 14:03
1  
@Markus von Broady The economy of several middle eastern nations is build on the trade of oil to the world. Several large companies here in US and abroad make there money manufacturing and distributing gasoline. If people could just teleport anywhere at any time these company and nations would collapse. This would create an chain reaction that would lead to a world wide depression. – Bryan McClure Mar 10 at 3:00
1  
@BryanMcClure I'm sorry for this digression, but decreasing costs of services and products could hardly cause global economy collapse. Temporary chaos and collapses of local economies - maybe, but only maybe, as it's not just a decrease in cost for current companies, but also a spread of new business activities, that weren't profitable up to this point. – Markus von Broady Mar 10 at 16:05
1  
@Markus von Broady I never said the economic colapse would be permanent. Of Course eventually it would balance itself out. Don't forget also widespread terrorist attacks and sabotage can also destabilize our global economy. – Bryan McClure Mar 10 at 16:27

protected by Community Mar 9 at 12:37

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.