Say, we had a teleport in all bigger cities (let's say circa more than 1 million) in the world (and some other "important" places, like military bases). What would be the impact of this?

Would the leaders be more friendly if they had the opportunity to see each other more often? Or will it cause only more trouble?


  • Mainly the government or local leaders have access to the teleports. If someone else wants to use it, it is a difficult and long bureaucratic process in most countries.

  • The teleports can't be stolen (or relocated), but can be used for teleporting either people or objects.

  • The receiving side does not have to confirm the teleportation. (But of course it is possible to watch over on both sides).

  • The teleports have been in these places forever, but people learned how to use it only recently (10-20 years).
    This brings up a question, how is it possible that the teleports are only in these places? We can guess that is caused by some technological reason (so the teleports are in many places but only work in these places; e.g., they need some amount of electrical energy that only ruling forces of the countries can provide). I add this assumption because it makes the most sense IMHO.

  • $\begingroup$ Both ends must be at the teleporter? Like, Stargate style? $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 12:20
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, it is possible to teleport only to another teleport in another big city. $\endgroup$
    – TGar
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 12:22
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    $\begingroup$ You wanted some democracy. All i can deliver is some " Tsar Bomba ". 50 mega ton of pure Democracy, Freedom! This is the best diplomacy ever! The first to open his portal get nuke and nobody know who nuke him! $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 15:06
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    $\begingroup$ Picture yourself asking the same question 150 years ago, except it's about air travel. Are the answers the same, or different? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 17:24

5 Answers 5


If this is used a lot by high level ambassadors, and used a lot more regularly than you indicate, they'll never be immersed in the culture of the country they are ambassador to, because they can go home on weekends or at the end of the day. It doesn't sound like most ambassadors will be going back and forth, plus the whole point of being an ambassador is that you LIVE in the foreign country.

We already have real time communication and don't really need to do everything in person. Given that the teleporters are rare and there lots of hoops you must go through to use them, it's safe to say that they might not be used except in the case of an emergency--like a diplomatic crisis that can't be resolved by phone, and even then, is Pakistan really going to invite us over during something like that? We can send a liaison, during a crisis, but they are just going to end up phoning home with updates and reports rather than teleporting back and forth.

Sadly, these machines will actually be a source of strife. I must ask, can they be destroyed or rendered inert? Because paranoid countries will disable, disconnect, collapse or otherwise render the teleports unusable. Because it's a way in for a bomb, an army or a strike force.

You said:

The receiving side does not have to confirm the teleportation. (But of course is possible to watch over on both sides).

Which I take to mean that they can't stop the teleportation--in that case, definitely a source of strife and problems...

As a side note though, let's look at some of the other assumptions.

The teleports can't be stolen (or relocated), but can be used for teleport either people and objects.

The teleports have been in this places forever, but people learned how to use it only recently (10-20 years). This brings questions how is possible that the teleports are only just in this cities, we may think that is caused by some technological reason (so the teleports are in many places and only in cities they work e.g. they need some amount of energy). I add this assumption because it makes the most sense IMHO.

You say that the teleporters can't be moved and yet are in all the major cities AND they have been there, perhaps as a relic of a long gone civilization? That doesn't make sense, because there will be many in other places because the last civilization would have had settlements and built things in places that the current one doesn't. As to power, power can be run to almost anywhere. If it's an ancient power source, then maybe civilizations have been built on top of it to take advantage.

Otherwise, were I in charge of the government, I would, for certain, have several "off-books" teleportation facilities not in cities, with full power.

Moreover, some major cities would not have them, because the ancient civilization might not have had settlements in those places--or the location is off--like the teleporter in in New Jersey rather than New York, New York.

So, what would change? Not much except the details. It would be the same geopolitical strife, with this thrown in to complicate things and make it interesting.

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    $\begingroup$ When I wrote they need some amount of energy I did not necessary meant electrical power, but generally something, that is present in cities and not elsewhere (something humans are emitting, I don't know :D). But yes, you are right that is not thought out well. $\endgroup$
    – TGar
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ @TGar You can always tweak it. :) $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 14:33
  • $\begingroup$ Have you any suggestion that works? $\endgroup$
    – TGar
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ @TGar I wouldn't just have it in cities. But, the suggestion I have is that there's a power source built into the major cities from the past civilization... $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 16:24

From a diplomatic point of view, I could see that governments would have more access to other nations. This would allow for diplomacy to be conducted more quickly. But you have caveated that only the civilians are not going to be able to access them.

The only use for teleportation which is entirely restricted to the government is conflict. The fact that teleportation occurs without any kind of controls means that military mobility is massively increased. With teleportation abilities, if a government wanted to mobilise huge forces, it could do so immediately. For example, if there is a military base in Arkansas which needs to fight the French (for some reason), they can simply teleport to London.

However, the more insidious thing here is the use of teleports to entirely bypass the concept of a front line. All teleportation systems, because they lack authentication protocols other than shooting the person who comes through the door, is necessarily a security risk. Each teleportation transceiver, therefore, would be heavily defended.

Wars would be conducted extremely quickly with control of cities being the primary goal of warfare, because connection to such cities directly entails the control of vital military infrastructure that can be used to reinforce, regroup, and reorganise forces.

However, because there is a near infinite amount of resources available to any city, it would very hard to organise a successful siege. Taking cities, the only worthwhile military goal because of their infrastructure, would also be nearly impossible because any attacker would be repulsed by massive retaliation from the garrison and any reinforcements it could gate in.

Though, one could also consider that the fact teleportation creates an extremely fast way of moving about. This would mean that having large conventional armies is mostly unnecessary. As long as you can teleport your rapid-response defence forces everywhere they are needed, you do not need to actively defend many areas at once.

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    $\begingroup$ This poor OP. They wanted to build a better world, a more peaceful world through teleportation and here you are saying that we'd use it for warfare. +1 $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 13:38
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    $\begingroup$ Well, I agree with the other answers here. The impact on diplomacy is minimal, because diplomats already have mobile phones. The only way that would change is if there was travel, accessible to ordinary people, so they could visit other areas. The creation of some kind of global identity would be much easier if it were not prohibitively expensive to travel to other nations. It is only by the creation of such a global identity that there would be fewer wars. $\endgroup$
    – ifly6
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 13:58
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    $\begingroup$ Putin pick up his phone. call a country tell them he is comming by the teleport. Send nuke into the teleport close the teleport. Then blame hyllary the reptilian and north korea. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 14:58

Somewhat no impact

The politics are about negotiating solutions that serve the best interest of the people negotiating. The interests are unaffected by a small scale transportation. The friendliness plays only a small role in politics. Nowadays there is diplomats and ambassadors, that have small power. They would be unneeded. That's about it.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 but add that we have relatively secure realtime communication already. Plus, ambassadors will be needed, they perform important role for your citizens in the country they are in, and their duty is to know all that little details presented simply can't know about all other countries. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ True that the ambassadors are needed, but their office can reside in their home land. The role changes slightly as they can not serve asylum in the embassy, though that is fairly meaningless in politics. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ And you think that it will have no impact even on countries that are nowadays not co-working with others? If other countries would have direct entry to their capitals. $\endgroup$
    – TGar
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, the countries are not co-working because there is no common interest to co-work for. The reason is not that they would lack something to communicate with. For the same reason you don't send emails all the time for everyone you know; you need a reason to contact. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 13:27

In your scenario, the teleporters have been around forever, but only recently have people figured out how to use them (and presumably didn't realize what the teleporters were before then). So, I'm imagining Stonehenge-like ruins all over the globe, which people discovered just 15 years ago how to activate for teleportation. This would cause:

Technology arms race

Teleportation is an insanely powerful technology

Teleportation would be a world-changing technology. It could be used to enable powerful new types of power production, computers, medical devices, space travel, etc.. Crazy stuff would be possible even if people failed to figure out how to build new teleportation sites, and absolutely insane things would happen if people could figure it out.

World powers would swoop in to control it

Every major power would secure as many teleporters as it could, setting up black sites around each. They'd have their top researchers focused on trying to unlock the secrets of teleportation.

Except in the most unusual of circumstances, researchers would get full control over how the teleporters are used. For example, if a UFO had crashed at Area 51, you wouldn't expect to see American diplomats using it as a toy. Likewise, diplomats and travelers wouldn't get to use the teleporters except in the most exceptional of circumstances.

In short, each teleporter would have a military research facility pop up around it.


There might be a lot of wars. Reasons:

  1. World powers would want to control the teleporters and set up their own facilities around them. If a world power had too few, or wanted a monopoly, they might launch wars to take over teleporters. And since teleporters can apparently be gotten to pretty much instantly from any other, a single major world power might successfully launch a campaign to take over all of them, even if that world power is usually confined to one part of the globe.

  2. World powers wouldn't want their enemies to master technology first, which could be an existential threat to them. So if they thought that an enemy was getting close, they might attack that enemy.

  3. World powers would value top researchers and data as well as the actual teleporter sites. So, if they came to perceive an elite few researchers, they might try to take control of those researchers, whether through conquest, bribes, or mere kidnapping.

End game

After the initial shifts in power take place and research conclusions start to become known, some new status quo might be reached. For example, researchers might conclude that the teleportation sites have relatively limited abilities and they don't know how to reproduce them, in which case some of the conflicts might cool down. Though, the research wouldn't stop; since it'd be impossible to conclusively prove that teleportation technology can't be extended, the efforts to build on it would continue for generations until people started to feel reasonably confident that further efforts would be unlikely to succeed.

However, if research turns out to be successful, the world would have all sorts of new, insane technologies in just about every field. It'd be a crazy world of mind-bending possibilities, making it too complex to speculate on here.


As an answer to your secondary question on why the teleports would be in or near major cities: we humans settled in certain locations because they were suitable for settlement, i.e. had fresh water nearby. Fresh water is fundamental to humans, both to drink and to grow our food. any civilization would have this, so it's not unrealistic to assume that these teleports would also be near water. In addition, we look for certain locations beyond fresh water: defensible locations, crossings, natural resources,... things that provide amenities to our population. It's not unlikely that things we need today are also needed by our Precursors.

And even if the location doesn't match entirely, we often think "eh, close enough" to assign these locations to fit the nearby city. For example, most international airports are actually close to their city, rather than in the city. Someone who flies to London Heathrow actually lands an hour away from the center of the city, but that doesn't stop the British from labeling the airport as London Airport, rather than Twickenham Airport.


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