We watch the monitors. The man who stood in the room with us moments ago appears on the feed from a ship in near-earth orbit, emerging from a disc-shaped void full of churning, bright-white light.
The computer declares the teleportation a success. A cheer erupts around me. The(more) man who emerges on the other side seems unchanged. But a part of me still has doubts. Teleportation has been a fever dream for centuries; we've pondered its implications and speculated endlessly on how to bring it about, but never made much progress. And now, born out of the mind of an internet-based artificial intelligence, it is upon us.
Rumors circulate. The leap seems too great for most. There are simpler solutions (atom-by-atom duplication, for example) which, superficially, might achieve the same end. Perhaps a closed equation was achieved by overlooking the kind of inconvenient details that a computer-based life form might deem irrelevant.
Many doctors and scientists have tried to come up with tests that might prove or disprove it, but the neural network A.I. is pervasive. There's so little that any of us can know that it does not.
Those who've tried insist it works. But they would, wouldn't they?
As I approach the platform, a part of me wonders: do those far-selves on the other end of the glowing tunnel know the answer? Do they sense something has changed? Or do they believe? All it takes is one generation of blind leaping. Whoever those other selves are, if they can be convinced they are whole and unharmed, they'll keep going.
I think these things as I enter the pool of bright light and drop out from the bottom of myself, like the last breath of a bad dream. (less)