Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The idea of teleportation

  1. Oct 13, 2012 #1
    Okay just a thought...

    I've read that it was 'possible' one day for teleportation...

    but what I've realized was all they do destroy the 'original' and 'reconstruct' it in another place..

    Firstly, that wouldn't really be called teleporation now would it?

    and also that would mean, a person would have to 'die' and be 'reconstructed' at another place...

    Hence when you enter a teleportation device.. 'YOU' are accepting to die??..

    Sorry if this thought wasn't physics related..



    Food for thought =]
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 13, 2012 #2

    sophiecentaur

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Apart from the clear problem of practicability, there is a serious philosophical point. If you are broken down into fundamental particles and then these are re-assembled to make 'you' again. The same process could be used to produce two or more 'you's at the same time. Which one of the reconstructed 'you's would be the real 'you' and which would be the copy? Would you both/all think they were you?
     
  4. Oct 13, 2012 #3
    A good point as well: What about memory? If we could deconstruct all of the brain, and transport it somewhere else, would all the memories be retained?
     
  5. Oct 13, 2012 #4

    mfb

    User Avatar
    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    If we neglect engineering issues, the "reconstruction" would be exactly the original - that should be fine, and should be "you" in any respect.
    In terms of an exact copy: Teleportation does not allow to copy quantum-mechanical states. You have to destroy the object at one side to receive that object at the other end, and you cannot recover its initial state.
    However, you don't need the precise quantum-mechanical state to get a very good approximation. So if we had the technology to scan a human body down to individual molecules and rebuild it based on the scan, we could indeed copy humans.

    Memories have some physical representation in the brain. Yes, they would stay the same.
     
  6. Oct 13, 2012 #5

    sophiecentaur

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Presumably the information could, in principle, be totally recorded and reproduced but where would be the 'consciousness'?
    I know I'm me - but it's only my opinion. So my clone would also know it was me.
     
  7. Oct 13, 2012 #6

    mfb

    User Avatar
    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Emerges from the brain.
    Probably.
    Unless you want to introduce magical fairies.
     
  8. Oct 13, 2012 #7
    I'd probably take this in the direction of breaking light speed.

    Most likely easier than dematerialization.
     
  9. Oct 13, 2012 #8

    mfb

    User Avatar
    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Quantum teleportation is slower than light - you have to transfer classical information between sender and receiver.
     
  10. Oct 13, 2012 #9
    How would breaking light speed (although it cant be done) "transport" something from one spot to another? I could see moving near the speed of light, but that wouldnt "transport" something, but rather move it slower through time due to relativity...time travel of sorts...but not transportation from one place to another.
     
  11. Oct 14, 2012 #10

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Perhaps I'm wrong here but teleportation requires you to have the same physical structure at the receiving end and all that is being done is the state of the first is transferred to the second? That being the case to teleport someone would require an exact replica of their body before hand?

    Mapping and rebuilding a body is not teleportation though it could be similar in terms of application. Not that there's any practical way to do either of those.
     
  12. Oct 14, 2012 #11
    The teleportation idea is much more subtle. It is impossible to copy a quantum state due to the no cloning theorem. This it what Star Trek needs its infamous Heisenberg compensators for. What is being teleported is the quantum state of an atom for example, which gets destroyed on one side of the teleporter and reappears without any information exchange on the other side. Star trek style teleportation, doesn't need quantum teleportation IMHO because it seems to me that basically getting the molecular structure right is enough to say that the human is the same. But this would require a copying machine for humans, and I believe that to be impossible. People who think that we can do mechanical engineering on the level of molecules don't understand chemistry. The thought of what happens to your identity if you are copies has been addressed in a number of science fiction books.
     
  13. Oct 14, 2012 #12
    What about ageing? Compare your current body with the body you had 10 years ago. All the atoms in your body have been replaced several times. You are not even identical anymore. Just the crucial aspects are the same.
    When you teleport someone by scanning them in a classical manner (without capturing the exact quantum state), destroying their original body and reconstructing an (approximate) copy at another place. What you get is a body that is identical in all the important aspects to your previous body, consists of different atoms and is at a different place.
    When you are ageing the exact same thing happens. Your current body is identical in all the important aspects to your 10 year younger body (but not a perfect copy). It consists of different atoms and it is at a different place (very different place if you consider the motion of the sun around the center of the galaxy etc.)
    So did you die in the last few years? Are you still yourself?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  14. Oct 14, 2012 #13

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    Where exactly did you read this? I'm assuming that you are not talking about quantum teleportation, based on the rest of your post. So can you provide an exact reference on where you actually read such a thing?

    https://www.physicsforums.com/blog.php?b=2703 [Broken]

    Zz.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  15. Oct 14, 2012 #14

    sophiecentaur

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yes of course. But which brain would be conscious of being 'me'? The instant after the teleportation / copying and before they started having separate experiences, the two brains would have the same consciousness. So, imagining this happens to you, you would have an awareness / memory of all things leading up to the process when you woke up - but there would be another clone of you with exactly the same awareness of 'being you'.

    But all this is just speculation and doesn't fit in a forum like this one - as pointed out. I am not aware of any serious ideas of how this could be achieved.
     
  16. Oct 14, 2012 #15

    mfb

    User Avatar
    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Quite a bad copy in terms of many relevant molecules, otherwise you would not see any ageing effects in current humans.


    Both.
    Right.
     
  17. Oct 14, 2012 #16
    You step into the transporter, they turn it on, your life is over.

    The fact there is a copy made of you with all your memories does nothing whatever to change the fact that you have been extinguished.

    There are references in "Star trek" to early problems with "Transporter Psychosis" which were later fixed. I have always thought they should have an episode dedicated to addressing this. "Transporter Psychosis" would be a paranoia induced in the transportee by the uncertainty over whether or not he was about to be destroyed or authentically transported. Once the transport was complete, the person would exist in constant psychological fear he was just a copy. The "fix" would come in the form of some iron-clad logical proof that the person was authentically transported and not destroyed and replaced with a copy.
     
  18. Oct 14, 2012 #17

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The only difference between this and change over time is continuity though one wonders how continuity breakages like amnesia work into this. Personally I think to all intents and purposes a replica of someone is them.
    IIRC Star Trek teleportation did include the original body being sent. Objects transported would be turned into some form of energy that would be transmitted somehow and rearranged at the end. I vaguely remember an episode centered around the feasibility of replicating organs for transplant, replicators are a spin off of transporters but are prone to errors because the original object is not used. Or some such technobabble like that.
     
  19. Oct 14, 2012 #18
    As far as the replica and other people are concerned, yes. What about the original? Would you agree to have your consciousness obliterated forever just because your replacement and friends will feel no discontinuity?
     
  20. Oct 14, 2012 #19

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I'd rather not have a break in the continuity of my identity but if one happened I would consider the replica me in every way that matters.
     
  21. Oct 14, 2012 #20

    sophiecentaur

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I have now stopped worrying about the 'continuity of experience' problem because, even as I write this, I cannot be positively certain that any of my memories are actually true. It could all have just been downloaded into my brain a fraction of a second ago. My consciousness is no proof of anything except itself.
    I am now up for teleportation, if anyone cares to make a reliable machine to do it.
    I may not even have written this, I only remember having done it. And, when you read this, you need not actually believe the writer exists.

    PS There is little point in discussing the nuts and bolts of a machine if we are calling on Star Trek as a technical reference. Even the most nerdy script writers are working in the interests of the story and not the Science.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: The idea of teleportation
  1. The teleporter paradox (Replies: 7)

  2. I teleported myself! (Replies: 14)

  3. DNA teleportation (Replies: 14)

Loading...