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To Beam Or Not To Beam?

  1. Aug 27, 2003 #1
    In 1998, researchers at Stanford University's Linear Accelerator Center successfully converted energy into matter. This feat was accomplished by using lasers and incredibly strong electromagnetic fields to change ordinary light into matter. The results of this experiment may allow for the development of variety of technological gadgets. One such development could be matter/energy transporters or food replicators that are commonly seen in some of our favorite science fiction programs.

    For more information, check out the following site:

    http://www.geog.ouc.bc.ca/physgeog/contents/6a.html


    The transporter in Star Trek operates by separating crew members at the atomic level, converting them into energy, sending them to their appointed destination and the process is reversed. Granted, this is science fiction, however, fiction has a knack for becoming fact. Anyway, imagine for the sake of argument that scientists have built a transporter/teleporter that works just like in Star Trek, let's see what would happen to a person undergoing the process.


    If the mass of a person is converted into energy in an uncontrolled way (eg, collision with a very large amount of antimatter, destroying every proton, neutron and electron in your body) then the information that is encoded on the gamma rays (usually) released will be lost.


    In a controlled conversion, you could in principle convert the entire body to energy one particle at a time, and then read off the whole state and transmit it. But there are two problems with this:


    1) A tremendous amount of data needs to be sent. In "The Physics of Star Trek" author Lawerence Krauss calculates the approximate amount, about 10,000 light-years to the center of the galaxy!

    2) The amount of time this takes.


    However, current thought in neuroscience is that the "personailty/consciousness" is not at all QM, and thus there is no need to break someone down to a subatomic level and read their Quantum State. Instead, it is simply enough to know there chemical structure - and copy it at that resolution. This means there are no "no cloning" problems, much less data to handle, and no need to destroy the original (given sufficient technology to do the scanning). This would allow you to create "clones" - you could send copies of yourself "over the radio", while you stay safe at home. (Greg Egan's Diaspora talks about this at an AI level - the AI programs clone themselves and send themselves all over the place)


    Now if you turn each person into energy, you get a cloud of gamma rays expanding outwards. There is nothing that would make them spontaneously reform the person - even if you reflected them backwards, they would not neccessarily create the original particles. It is much more likely that teleportation would involve sending the information that can be gleaned from the gamma rays, and then having the information used by a base station to construct the person, more mechanically.


    In my view, when your body is destroy, you die. End of story. What comes out of the teleporter is an exact copy, with all your memories etc, and no knowledge that it isn't you, but it isn't. No one would ever notice the problem, so it only affects you when it happens. Unless, if you believe in souls, there are "conservation of souls" problems to deal with - does the same sould follow the body around?

    While in an information state, there is no consciousness, no heart to beat - the person is not a person shaped lump of energy, rather they are radio waves carrying info about his state.

    What does everybody else thinks?


    Whitestar
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 6, 2003 #2
    Dear Whitestar,
    I answered your post because it has more visits than mine and still no answers. No replies for me because I unnecessarily added some math. Consider reading my post "universe model". Possibly no answers for you because you asked so many questions folks were frightened by the openness of your mind.
    As you got into biology and consciousness and soul I'll give my opinion. physical existence of basic matter is too complicated to exist; it's hard for me to believe it does. As for biology, no way, too comlicated, maybe that's why I quit asking for dates. Consciousness, well, I think I'm writing to you. I looked up "spirit" in the big English dictionary = the immaterial part of man, soul. The dictionary folks allow some of us to know that the material neurons and dendrites and nervous senses are necessary for the thoughts that comprise the spirit-soul to exist. Love, John
     
  4. Sep 6, 2003 #3

    So, what is your opinion on the subject of converting a person into energy?


    Check on the following website on the subject of matter and energy:

    http://www.geog.ouc.bc.ca/physgeog/contents/6a.html

    Whitestar
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2003
  5. Sep 6, 2003 #4
    hmmmm, i dont quite understand how them light years pertain to data! elaborate a bit! if you will :)

    as for making a clone of yourself i dont think its a great idea, in fact its just bad, because in the end someonehas to die or theres 2 of you! which isnt good! "beaming" people also seems a bit far fetched because you need a highly concentrated and "specific" (for use of a better word) beam of energy which could get interfared with very eaily.

    i think there will be alot developed before such things become possible (which im reasonably sure will beome possible, in a few hundred years) and thus whatever ideas have been voiced in this thread will most likely become redundant as new ideas approach the bench!
     
  6. Sep 6, 2003 #5
    Re: Re: To Beam Or Not To Beam?


    My pleasure. Allow me to elaborate. Author Lawerence Krauss stated that to store enough information describing a human body, one would need to stack a series of CDs which would start from us to the center of the galaxy! It would be much easier to travel by shuttlecraft instead.


    Your comment,


    "as for making a clone of yourself i dont think its a great idea, in fact its just bad, because in the end someonehas to die or theres 2 of you! which isnt good! 'beaming' people also seems a bit far fetched because you need a highly concentrated and 'specific' (for use of a better word) beam of energy which could get interfared with very eaily.

    i think there will be alot developed before such things become possible (which im reasonably sure will beome possible, in a few hundred years) and thus whatever ideas have been voiced in this thread will most likely become redundant as new ideas approach the bench!"


    I think that teleportation will always remain a fantasy. The reason for this is that it implies that the original must be destroyed once a copy of a person is made. However, I think that some sort of "folding space" method or a variation of wormhole technology would make a more suitable type of teleporter. What do you think?


    Whitestar
     
  7. Sep 6, 2003 #6
    t doesnt alwAYS mean the origonal will be destroyed, just changed and putback together :)

    just think of it as a more economical way of putting somebody in a car and driving them somewhere, only the car is (insert what the car is here) and you are energy. the cars speed limit is C, and powers itself by not touching stuff :)

    folding space, and the ability too will be a major break through in transport technology when it comes, and i agree that the beam process might use it to transport over much greater distances (than 40 000km which star trek uses!) but such folding space is unlikely to become a probability for at least 100 years (fusion will have had to be invented, stabilised, made into digital watches and sold on the common market, no doubt antimatter and such will be used too for the massive energy needs).

    im sur ei read somewhere too that for every particle there is another particle in every point in the universe, this to transport someone you need to just, change them around (or something, it was a while ago i read it!).

    id love ot hear other peoples views on eleportation.
     
  8. Sep 14, 2003 #7

    pmb

    User Avatar

    That's not energy being converted to matter. Light is not energy. Light has energy. That's a big difference. All that happens is that the form of the energy changes. But the same amount of energy is there at the end as there is at the beginning.

    I'd never step into one of those things! At best what it does is kill you, by vaporizing you, i.e. seperating all your atoms etc and changing their form etc., and make a duplicate which thinks its the original. But there's no way to determine if my consciousness remains intact. And that's something I don't think anyone can ever prove. And it's not enough to simply remake a duplicate - one might have to also make sure that duplicate is in the same quantum state as the original. By that I mean that all its atoms are doing the same thing as the original was. Otherwise you might reconstitute the body at a temperature of 200 F and boil him alive or reconstitute the body at -100 F and have a frozen body. All the neurons in his brain have to be firing in the correct sequence too or else take the consequence of shutting the brain down and hope it starts up by itself correctly.

    Nope. Too many unkowns for me thanks.

    Exactly.

    Pete
     
  9. Sep 14, 2003 #8
    Re: Re: To Beam Or Not To Beam?


    In the excellent book entitled, "The Physics of Star Trek" author Lawerence Kruass stated that in order to convert matter into energy, one must heat up matter to about 1,000 billion degrees! That's quite a sunburn!


    Is heating up matter really necessary in order to convert it into energy like Dr. Krauss said?


    Whitestar
     
  10. Sep 14, 2003 #9

    pmb

    User Avatar

    Re: Re: Re: To Beam Or Not To Beam?

    Sorry but I don't know why he said that.

    Pete
     
  11. Sep 16, 2003 #10
    True logic points to the fact that teleporting humans will never exist I think...
     
  12. Sep 16, 2003 #11

    LURCH

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Re: Re: Re: To Beam Or Not To Beam?

    Perhaos he meant that if you converted all the mass in your body to energy, per E=mc2, those are the kinds of temperatures you could expect?
     
  13. Sep 16, 2003 #12
    Re: Re: Re: Re: To Beam Or Not To Beam?


    Yes, well, Lawerence Krauss stated in his book "The Physics of Star Trek" that it's vital to heat up matter to about 1,000 billion degrees in order to overcome the binding energy of matter at its most fundamental level. In energy units, it means providing 10 percent of the rest mass of protons and neutrons in the form of heat. To heat up a sample the size of a human being to this level would require therefore, about 10 percent of the energy needed to annihilate the material or the energy equivalent of a hundred 1 megaton hydrogen bombs.


    Any thoughts?

    Whitestar
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2003
  14. Sep 20, 2003 #13
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