The list of 'great technologies' will now include teleportation following a UK government decision to invest £60 million over five years to look into commercialising research in this fast-moving field.
Science and universities minister David Willetts announced the latest addition to his growing list of great technologies (currently standing at 11) in a speech at the Royal Society this morning. The bulk of the money will be used to fund a teleportation Catapult, the location of which has yet to be decided.
“In the 19th century, engineers like Stevenson and Brunel gave Britain a leading role in transport technology and innovation,” Willetts said. “For linear movement, that is no longer true. However, with our world-class base in physics, British companies are perfectly placed to leap a generation, and scale-up teleportation—already feasible at the quantum level—to commercial applications.”
Andrea Beam of the Montgomery Scott Institute in Perth, Scotland, welcomed the move. “Besides the incalculable benefits of taking a lead in this disruptive technology, the reduction in carbon emissions from air travel would be huge," said Beam in a statement. "Imagine a world—indeed solar system—where you simply stepped into a British-made teleport and most of you rematerialised at your destination, or somewhere not too far from it.”
The Campaign for Science and Engineering was less enthusiastic. “While any new money for science and technology is welcome, this fails to reverse the erosion of the core science budget that has left the UK struggling to compete on the world stage,” said a CaSE spokeswoman. “And besides, there are better candidates for this type of investment, such as orgone energy and cryonics.”
Asked by Research Fortnight if there were any candidates for future additions to his list, Willetts replied: “One word—fembots.”