Transporter, Food Replicator or Holodeck?
September 21, 2006 9:06 AM   Subscribe

Transporter, Food Replicator or Holodeck?

The Setup: You can have one of following three technologies from Star Trek: Holodeck, Transporter or Food Replicator. You are the only person in the world that has it. Which one do you choose and how would you use it?

More Details (Please read carefully):

Transporter
The Transporter comes with Chief O'Brien (or Scotty, if you prefer) to operate it, and you will be equipped a Star Trek-esque communicator to have him beam you places. You must feed, clothe and house him, and figure out where to place the Transporter. Keep in mind that this is the most visible of the technologies (you'll be appearing places) and if people find out about it, they may try steal it from you. (This goes for all three, but like I said, this one will be the most visible.) Also keep in mind that the way the transporter works, it basically kills you every time you use it. Your molecules are dispersed, and an exact molecular copy of you is placed where you want to be. (Some people we've discussed this with had a problem with that.)

Food Replicator
The Food Replicator is equipped with all foods through 24th century. The food is synthesized out of a nutritionally perfect composite, so you can pretty much eat whatever you want and it will be healthy. It replicates only food and the container the food is in.

Holodeck
Any room in your house can easily be converted into a Holodeck. The main problem with the Holodeck is that your 21st century mind may overload, and you run the risk of no longer being able distinguish fantasy from reality. Anything the Holodeck makes is intangible once it is turned off, meaning you can't make holographic food and eat it. (I mean, you *could*, but you would gain no sustinence.) You CAN, however, bring tangible items into the holodeck, and have them manipulated by the holograms. But before you ask, you can NOT have a hologram of Geordi LaForge give you a list of materials to bring into the holodeck so he can construct a teleporter or replicator for you. The technical components DO NOT EXIST in the 21st century, and nothing we have currently can be converted to do the job.

Even more details:

The transporter comes with someone to operate it, but the Food Replicator and Holodeck are voice activated. You can just say "lasagna made by my mom" or "fried chicken, KFC, 2 piece white meat, biscuit, mashed potatoes with gravy" or "Alec Baldwin dressed in leather with a goat and Diane Sawyer" and it would give you whatever you want.

No matter which one you choose, you also get Geordi LaForge, who will arrive every now and then for repairs and perodic maintenance. He does NOT hang out at your place. He teleports in fixes what he needs to and teleports out. Whatever you pick also has its own self-sustaining power-source, which Geordi can repair or replace if anything happens, so you don't need to worry about the power bills in your place of residence.

A Word Of Advice: Too often people make this question more complicated than it is. Focus more on what convenience you want (free healthy food, instant transportation or your own fantasy world), and less on how you'd use whatever technology you choose to somehow scam your way into receiving all three.
posted by emptybowl to Grab Bag (48 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: don't post chatty hypotheticals here. it's not what the site is for

 
Food Replicator. Because then i could feed the world's starving.
posted by anonaccount at 9:08 AM on September 21, 2006


then you want the transporter. hunger is a distribution problem.
posted by paradroid at 9:10 AM on September 21, 2006


Transporter. No question.
posted by jckll at 9:13 AM on September 21, 2006


Transporter. No contest.
posted by adamrice at 9:14 AM on September 21, 2006


As someone living in an apartment with about 3 square feet of kitchen, the replicator. But ideally, I'd want a holodeck; I don't have the room. I can live off lentil porridge if I know I can be somewhere beautiful.
posted by cobaltnine at 9:14 AM on September 21, 2006


Chatfilter. No contest.
posted by SpecialK at 9:14 AM on September 21, 2006


[Geordi LaForge] does NOT hang out at your place.

Aw, dammit! That's better than the other stuff, anyway.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 9:19 AM on September 21, 2006


before it gets deleted:

the food replicator is based on transporter technology. You got a food replicator? you've got a single-purpose transporter.
Your cake, and anywhere you want to eat it.
posted by I, Credulous at 9:20 AM on September 21, 2006


Aw, dammit! That's better than the other stuff, anyway.

Well, I'm sure you could get him to stick around for a while if you plied him with some nachos and some Synthohol. But he doesn't stay with you all the time like Chief O'Brien.
posted by emptybowl at 9:21 AM on September 21, 2006


Transporter. I've been wishing for one of those since I was nine.
posted by nadawi at 9:25 AM on September 21, 2006


The only downside of the transporter, so far as I can see, is that O'Brien will make some wiseacre remark every time you transport out alone but request "two to transport" on the way home.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:31 AM on September 21, 2006


You've crippled the replicator because you state it can only make food. In that case, the transporter.

Who needs a holodeck? The first time you use it you're just going to get stuck inside and have to fight a cowboy who's really professor Moriarty to the death until you can figure out that the strange alien zapping you is actually a known alien wearing a funny hat. Who needs that?
posted by utsutsu at 9:31 AM on September 21, 2006


Who needs a holodeck?

Please, think of the porn!
posted by LordSludge at 9:35 AM on September 21, 2006


Too often people make this question more complicated than it is.

You mean like composing a 568-word question that's just going to be deleted?
posted by cribcage at 9:36 AM on September 21, 2006


Holodeck. All the sex and martial arts, none of the STDs, babies, or serious injuries.
posted by callmejay at 9:37 AM on September 21, 2006


LordSludge: Holodeck porn is all good until the safeties fail and you've got the clap and your holographic baby's momma wants child support.
posted by utsutsu at 9:37 AM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


This was a good question in GBS, which it is probalby more appropriate more. Not that it's not fun.
posted by stormygrey at 9:42 AM on September 21, 2006


This doesn't belong on AskMe.
posted by Malor at 9:47 AM on September 21, 2006


transporter

the transporter is the only tool here that does something that cannot be done by real, current technology (we can grow food; we can physically visit most places you would want to recreate via the holodeck).
posted by frogan at 9:50 AM on September 21, 2006


stormygrey said: This was a good question in GBS, which it is probalby more appropriate more. Not that it's not fun.

I was wondering where I had seen this exact same question before. emptybowl=Brocktoon, I assume?
posted by JJ86 at 9:56 AM on September 21, 2006


Let's go through them:

Transporter: I can go anywhere, anytime, and come back safely. Say, transport me inside DeBeers office in London then beam me out with boatloads of diamonds. Or transport me to the white house so I can slap George Bush in the face, beam out, and leave him wondering if I was a message from god. Or I could just go on vacation anywhere. My concern, how much power does this thing use?

Food replicator: I can have any food any time. Great for convenience, but I would weigh 100 lbs more by the end of the first month. Takes the fun out of cooking too. I'll pass.

Holodeck: I can go inside and be in a fantasy world that would make me never want to return to reality. And in the end the holodeck will find a way to take over my house. Although it'd be a heck of a lot of fun for D&D, I think that this is just too risky.

So, considering all the options, I'd have to say the transporter. Besides, O'Brian is a good Irish lad and could probably be kept quite happy with a supply of meat, potatos and guiness, all readily available.
posted by Vindaloo at 10:02 AM on September 21, 2006


If the transporter comes with an infinite power source, you can use it to continuously beam water from the bottom of a hydro dam to the top, creating an infinite source of energy. This solves most problems.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 10:14 AM on September 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


What SpecialK and others said.

waves goodbye to thread
posted by chuma at 10:20 AM on September 21, 2006


What makes a bad question on Ask MetaFilter?
...
- Hypothetical or jokey "What would happen if" questions with no goal.

This is hypothetical, jokey, and has no goal or problem to be solved... Bye bye thread!
posted by gwenzel at 10:30 AM on September 21, 2006


Yeah, replicators are for more than food. I know this because my Dad has that tattooed on his bicep.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:34 AM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Transporters are murder machines. You get replaced by a duplicate of yourself who has no continuity of consciousness with you. Think of it this way: someone says he can get you to Fiji, but he has to melt you down into goo, put the goo into a sack, fire the sack at supersonic speeds to Fiji, where he'll take all the chemicals and reconstitute you. Don't worry, he says, no bits of goo will be lost along the way. Someone's died and someone walks out of the transporter remembering you, but being reduced to goo in between is killing you off.

I'd take the food replicator. You can have pork chops and bacon without having to kill pigs.
posted by ontic at 10:37 AM on September 21, 2006


You can have pork chops and bacon without having to kill pigs.

Hell of a lot of fun THAT would be. *rolls eyes*
posted by callmejay at 10:40 AM on September 21, 2006


Transporter, easily. I could live in a lovely rural setting but have a 30 second commute to work!
posted by Joh at 11:10 AM on September 21, 2006


Holodeck.

Assuming, of course, that the food replicator couldn't be rigged to cure world hunger. And I don't think that "transporter" is quite the right name for a machine that kills you and constructs a soulless clone somewhere else.
posted by Iridic at 11:23 AM on September 21, 2006


I'd use the holodeck to create a simulacrum of a world in which terrible, chatfiltery, hypothetical AskMe questions got deleted before they accumulated a dozen or more answers.
posted by dersins at 12:08 PM on September 21, 2006


hoverboards-- if you have an infinite power source to run the transporter, why would you need to use the transporter to create another infinite power source? Just hook up another outlet to the first one.
posted by InfidelZombie at 12:20 PM on September 21, 2006


Holodeck.
posted by matkline at 12:27 PM on September 21, 2006


Think of all the pancakes the food replicator could make.

Bye bye thread
posted by terrapin at 12:49 PM on September 21, 2006


The selfish part of me says "holodeck" because then I would be able to do anything I want within it's confines, and would only have to leave to get enough money to pay the bills and buy the food I can't replicate. Realistically though, after a few years I'd probably end up being extremely self-centered, unable to relate to normal people, unable to tell fantasy from reality, and basically destroying my life outside of the holodeck, which would eventually destroy me when I can't afford to eat and my landlord evicts me (and keeps the holodeck).

So... to be more wise about it, I'll say Transporter. I could easily visit friends and interesting places in any country, and lead a more interesting life. There's probably a million ways I could use it to change the world too, although with a risk of being discovered and having it taken from me.
posted by Vorteks at 1:18 PM on September 21, 2006


Holodeck. For the porn.
posted by Bonzai at 1:21 PM on September 21, 2006


Transporters are murder machines.

I've wondered about this before. Has this ever been addressed in the Star Trek mythos? Somewhere along the way, has anyone spouted off some psuedoscience about why this wouldn't be the case?

Oh, and totally the holodeck, for Bonzai's reason.
posted by GeekAnimator at 2:15 PM on September 21, 2006


hoverboards-- if you have an infinite power source to run the transporter, why would you need to use the transporter to create another infinite power source? Just hook up another outlet to the first one.

If that's allowed, fine - any of them will do. I thought maybe it was some kind of Special Super Trek Energy that was unusable by 21st century humans.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 2:29 PM on September 21, 2006


Transporters are murder machines ... has anyone spouted off some psuedoscience about why this wouldn't be the case?

Let's assume that you don't believe in a "soul" that is something externalized from your body cells.

Therefore, if a transporter is a murder machine, then just walking around on a daily basis is transporter-murder in slow motion, as every cell in your body dies and is replaced. Next year, you will be an entirely different person than the one you are this year.

This is the same as transporting, right? Cells replaced by duplicates? Just slower.

So, if I create a transported version of "you" one second from now that remembers "you" from one second ago, it's the same thing as just living and having your cells replaced. You don't "remember" forward.
posted by frogan at 3:00 PM on September 21, 2006


Imagine what you could do with a transporter, steal whatever you wanted. put a bomb wherever you want. The application for kidnapping for hire alone are staggering.

"leave the ransom on the x in the park and stand back" whirrrrrrrr a blinking hostage trades place with the cash
posted by Megafly at 3:13 PM on September 21, 2006


Replicator.

Glad to see someone else who also reads Something Awful here :)
posted by spinifex23 at 3:14 PM on September 21, 2006


HOLODECK - NEVER! The single worst "invention" in the world of Star Trek. Barely beats out "time travel" as a horrible plot device.

So I would take the transporter.
posted by davidmsc at 5:16 PM on September 21, 2006


Here's a previous AskMe thread on transporters and death, for those interested. Including my take on why going through a transporter wouldn't kill you.
posted by painquale at 5:34 PM on September 21, 2006




I wonder what ask.me question that was a hypothetical had the most comments.
posted by bigmusic at 6:02 PM on September 21, 2006


You forgot a fourth option, which is the one I'd pick.

A life.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:15 PM on September 21, 2006



posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:15 PM on September 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


This is some special kind of eponysterical - just how many bowls did you empty before asking this stoner bullshit seemed like a good idea, emptybowl?
posted by jack_mo at 6:18 PM on September 21, 2006


Everyone who answers anything other than "the holodeck in order to touch holographic boobies" can got to hell!
posted by ND¢ at 6:38 PM on September 21, 2006


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