Are we any closer to beam me up scotty

Since the phrase was used for the first time on Star Trek have we taken any step in the direction of it becoming a reality. Even the tinest little advancement to beam a person from one place on earth to another place on earth. Lets stay on this planet for this question.

Lets have the dope then.

From what I can gather, they haven’t invented a computer big enough to hold a person’s matter and energy, and aren’t likely to anytime soon.

Not only hasn’t there been a step, most of the analysis shows that it’s impossible in reality and possibly not even meaningful as a concept.

From any technical standpoint, a matter transporter of the Star Trek variety is so much garbage. When they’ve disintegrated a substantial portion of the crewman, how does the rest of him not just splatter on the floor in a puddle of protoplasm and skeletal residue? How do you rebuild an entire body, one atom at a time, at great range and differential velocity without Doppler shift or interference screwing up your signal? How do you keep from rematerializing your crewman with a bunch of extra air–or worse, in the case of the rare non-“M class” planet with a toxic atmosphere–embedded in him? A writer can invoke “force fields” and “subspace transmissions” but that just brings a whole new layer of bullshititude into the rationale. Trek is pure space opera, written by people who have only the faintest grasp of science, and at best a vehicle for interesting allegorical concepts. Even in a more limited context of just being able to scan a macro scale object in a laboratory and reproduce it by some means at a molecular or atomic level is so vastly beyond even projected technology it may as well be considered magic.

There is a more extensive discussion of the various ways a matter transporter makes no sense in this 2007 thread: [THREAD=406812]“Whgat would it be like to go through a Transporter? (Star Trek style)”?[/THREAD]


One could say that our ability to scan things is improving and you could also say that our ability to build things at a nano- scale is also improving, so in a very technical sense, yes we’re getting closer.

But that doesn’t mean that we’re close, nor does it mean that there’s actually a path with leads from here to there. The human brain, for example, may operate like RAM. It runs by constantly bouncing electrical impulses around, without end. The particular configuration of electrical signals isn’t just the working medium, it’s also the storage medium. If you lose all those signals, then you’re just left with a bunch of silicon. You would need to reload all of the electricity back in, into the same exact positions, moving in the exact same direction as before, otherwise all of the information that was in the device is lost.

So assuming that you could put together all of the molecules that exist in the human body, connect them to one another, etc. that still leaves you with dead meat. You would not just need to kick it into life, but restore all of the electric impulses and anything else to the same exact state - after reconstruction of the body.

“Transportation” of inert items is certainly on the table. Granted, 3D printing is basically already doing that. If I have a plastic device here that I want “transported” to over there, they can print a plastic copy of it over there and (for whatever reason) I could smash up my copy so that there’s still only one of that item in the universe.

But actual living things? Maybe there’s some creature that’s simple enough that, after printing the molecules out, can be kicked into life by simple means - because it doesn’t need memory of previous states to continue on from its current position - but humans are a lot more complex than that. And, practically speaking, “beaming up” will probably always just be 3D printing, not matter transmission, so there are some practical and ethical considerations to creating copies of real live people that could stop anyone from ever doing it.

But what we are talking about here is copying people, not “beaming”, “transporting” or moving people from point A to point B in any way, shape or form.

How do you “build” the person at the receiving end with no receiver?

What are you receiving-the original pieces, or the building blocks to make a damn good copy?

They use the transporter to cure people of disease, by comparing them with body scans from earlier, and (I think) the replicator uses the same special effect as the transporter, so I think it’s pretty clear that the transporter is just a machine which 3D prints something based on a stored image.

But as displayed, transmitting people down to the planet surface, etc. it seems to function more like a wormhole that can be opened between any two arbitrary locations, swoop someone up from one end and deposit them at the other.

As far as that goes, I don’t think we’re anywhere past the stage of deciding that wormholes don’t conflict with any of the math we have to describe the universe. Which is a long way away from thinking that they even exist, let alone constructing them, let alone using them in a useful manner. And, I’m not certain that our theories on wormholes would even allow for something to go through without being massively transformed (e.g., smashed, pulled apart, turned into energy, etc.)?

One reads articles from time to time discussing breakthrough in teleportation. Like, it’s been possible to teleport one attribute of some fundamental particle’s quantum state over to another particle. Hey, that’s progress! Beam that electron’s spin over to me, Scotty!

In a very narrow sense one could claim that it’s also been done with macroscopic objects, but still, you’re quite correct. The example cited merely shows the quantum teleportation of the spin wave state of a macroscopic collection of 100 million rubidium atoms, not the atoms themselves. Still, hope springs eternal in the bosoms of devoted Trekkies!

There’s the “Think Like a Dinosaur” version of the transporter. It records all the information about a person and sends it to whatever destination you want where the original person is reproduced. So from the receiving end, it looks just like a Star Trek style transporter.

But the original person is still standing there at the sending end after their information is transmitted and their copy has been received. So you have to kill the original person in order to avoid being overrun with duplicate people.

Volume shadow copy?

Since the original question has effectively been debunked…

In the fantastical realm where you could physically copy someone perfectly at the atomic level… would they be alive, have a personality, memories, etc? Are these facets that are stored at a quantum level, or does any sort of meaningful comparison between these concepts and physical reality make 0 sense?

Richox: Chemical bonds involve quantum effects, so any chemical transference, so much as a single water molecule, entails information “stored at a quantum level.”

Personality and memories are merely chemical effects, no more and no less “quantum” than any other chemical/molecular effects. There is no magical “quantum” explanation for human awareness.

(Mathematician Roger Penrose tried to argue otherwise, in his book “The Emperor’s New Mind,” but he has pretty much been shot out of the saddle.)

Therefore you propose this idea as possible in this case? In the wildly impossible hypothetical where exact atomic replication has occurred - memories, personality and all that other human garbage would be also copied intact?

You seem to be trying to imply that memories, personality, and the other stuff associated with personhood has some mystical implementation other than the physical, and cannot be described by basic physics and chemistry. Which is absolute nonsense.

The answer is of course that if such replication occurs, then you have indeed replicated the person. And it wouldn’t even have to be down to the atomic level, it arguably could just be “close enough” at some macroscopic level to be completely indistinguishable from the original. Moreover, the moral and ethical questions around replicating a human consciousness arise not only in the far-fetched realms of teleportation, but in the theoretical ability to replicate a full human consciousness in another person or in an artificial intelligence. Does the new instance have anything less than full human rights?

If it were possible to copy the chemical/material form of a human, then, yeah, it would have all the memories and personality of the original.

Obviously, no one is anywhere close to accomplishing this. At most, they have “teleported” (or duplicated) a few clusters of atoms, and only in very special conditions (super-cooled, etc.)

But if it’s possible to transport/duplicate the living body, then the mind and thoughts and memory and personality would be there too.

But that’s only half of the entire question, though: The premise is that which is left behind is destroyed to make room for the new creation. Does the original lose all human rights if it is to be killed once the copy is made? Does the original lose all human rights if the original is to be killed before the copy is completed?
Every time this transporter question comes up in a thread I try to pose this question or a variation of it: If you claim that the transporter-created copy is, to all intents and purposes, you once it arrives at the intended destination, if there were a slight glitch and the original you weren’t instantly dissipated during the original action would you be willing to to be taken off to a small room and be killed? No one who has claimed that the copy is just the same as the original has ever replied back.

I’m not an expert on Star Trek canon but I believe there was an explanation for this. The simple answer is it was beyond Star Trek technology 200 years hence, and it was alien technology of a vastly more advanced civilization preserved in “stasis boxes”. IOW the Star Trek era used transporters as a “black box” without really understanding it.

As you described, the technical challenge of scanning and reproducing on an atomic level a human being would seem to be beyond any projected technology – even 200 years in the future. Phasers, maybe. Warp drive – no currently known method but there are obviously glimmerings of of new physics that don’t fit into the Standard Model such as dark energy. If our current physics cannot explain what we can currently see, the possibility of an expanded explanation allowing for faster than light travel cannot be ruled out.

OTOH matter teleportation would involve hyper dense, hyper accurate scanning and remote reconstruction of an extremely complex 3D organism. Analogs to MRI or laser scanning are just not remotely in the ballpark. Even postulating transporters as “like that but more advanced” implies a lack of understanding about how complex 3D biological material is.

It would be faintly more plausible if the transporter mechanism was described as some kind of trans-dimensional portal. However it is described as scanning, deconstructing and reconstructing the original biological pattern at a remote location using locally-available matter.

Projecting based on current technology is very inexact but it would appear 200 years would not be nearly sufficient to develop teleportation of biological matter on a human scale. Hence the explanation offered was a far more advanced extinct alien civilization preserved this technology and the Star Trek denizens simply discovered it and were able to make practical use without fully understanding the core method.

Some of this was shown in the Star Trek animated series “The Slaver Weapon”.