Similar to I duplicate the U.S. President. What happens?, but much much worse.
Okay, so teleporters have become common. How it works is you step into a police box, dial in a location, and then it teleports you to that location. In particular, the contents of the box are switched. You experience this as a flash of light. Convenient right?
In particular, you are constructed on one end, and deleted at the other.
Although some people were terrified at the implications, most people were fine with it. People could work anywhere, commute anywhere, hangout with distant friends. It was a small world after all.
One day, there is a global communications crash. People, in panic, teleported home. Something horrible happened though. Somehow connected to the crash, the teleports stopped deleting the old copies! When people teleported, they did teleport home, but an old copy was left. The old copy, frantic, would try to find another teleporter, not telling others that it didn't work. Since communications were done, no one knew what was happening?
The immediate consequences was a ton of economic damage. The communications were eventually restored though, and the teleporters started operating normally.
There was one problem left to be solved though: when most people finally made it home, there was two or three other thems!
How does Society react?
What do people do about it? What do governments do about it? What does the law say about this situation?
- Copies were identical when they were copied. They can diverge after that.
- An original copy would generally tried two or three times to get home before they stopped malfunctioning, making two or three new copies, making for a total of three or four of most people. It could be more complicated if someone tried to teleport to other places to see loved ones.
- What happens to the programmer(s) who failed to write robust code?