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Teleportation: Forget Planes, Trains and Automobiles; Just Beam Me There

Dick Pelletier
By Dick Pelletier
Positive Futurist

Posted: Oct 6, 2012

Want to be beamed up like Captain Kirk?  We are probably closer to developing this technology than you realize…

Ever since our ancestors invented the wheel, humanity has searched for better ways to travel from one place to another. The horse-drawn wagon, bicycle, automobile and airplane have all enjoyed varying degrees of success; and tomorrow’s driverless cars and hyperspace crafts promise even more efficiency.

However, many future followers believe none of these will equal what may become the most efficient mode of travel ever – teleportation. Rapidly moving from Sci-Fi to real science, a few bold futurists predict this far-out way of going from point A to point B could one day become the Holy Grail of transportation.

Most people were first introduced to teleportation in the Star Trek TV series, where Capt. Kirk beamed away to his many hair-raising adventures. We were fascinated watching people step on the transporter and instantly appear at their destination. Michio Kaku explains teleportation in the 3-minute video below:

How close are we towards realizing this futuristic technology? The following list reveals milestones in teleportation development:

1993IBM’s Charles Bennett was the first to prove that teleportation is possible with quantum research. Some predict Bennett could be in line for a Nobel Prize in 2012. Reuters article explains.

1998 Caltech physicists turned the IBM idea into reality by teleporting a photon. See 3 minute video.
2002Australian National University successfully teleported a laser beam.
2006 – Denmark scientists beamed information stored in a laser beam into a cloud of atoms.
2012 – Scientists reproduce the characteristics of a photon over 143 kilometers in the Canary Islands.

Quantum teleportation transfers information between two points without anything physical, like a radio wave, passing through space. This means it can’t be intercepted and could provide a basis for totally secure mass communications, super-fast quantum computers, and eventually, a quantum Internet much more powerful than the one we have today.

Far from being a dream, quantum teleportation is happening routinely in laboratories around the world. Currently, this is restricted to tiny particles, but enthusiasts believe that as the science develops; it will be possible to send larger objects; and eventually, a human body will be teleported from point A to point B.
However, the challenges are enormous. Researchers must first create a machine to pinpoint, analyze, and store information from quintillions of atoms and bits, including our consciousness. The machine must then transmit the data to another location where an exact replica forms and the old body dematerializes. But some may wonder, “Is this new body really me; or could something have gotten lost in the transition?”

Forward thinkers believe all of these issues will be solved with future technologies. Molecular nanotech, expected by late 2020s, will enable devices that can capture and store the colossal amounts of data. And quantum computers aided by future artificial intelligence, predicted for mainstream use by late 2030s, will process the information needed to record every atom in a body insuring that nothing gets lost in transfer.

One of the features of quantum teleportation, the only form of teleportation that allows the creation of a perfect copy of the original somewhere else, is that the original is always destroyed. Is this OK? Most experts believe it is. Biology tells us that all the cells in a human body are replaced periodically anyway.

But perhaps a non-quantum form of teleportation where the original would not be destroyed could be developed for humans. However, this would result in the existence of two identical people, which poses other issues; what rights will this new person be given; should it own my belongings, share my spouse?

Regardless of these perplexing scenarios, more and more physicists believe that human teleportation will happen. IBM’s Bennett predicts future technicians will scan a person using a futuristic MRI-like device, and then transmit the data somewhere to be reassembled into an exact replica of the original person.

As this science advances exponentially into the decades ahead, by as early as the 2030s, we could be teleporting information; and sometime during the last half of this century, the first humans might step onto a transporter and beam themselves instantly to anywhere on Earth; or to some faraway space colony.

Are we headed for a teleportation future? If we blend tomorrow’s predicted nanotechnology and artificial intelligence advances with human ingenuity, the answer is a resounding yes! Comments welcome.

Dick Pelletier was a weekly columnist who wrote about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He passed away on July 22, 2014.
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Teleportation, as described here, and in sci-fi like Star Trek, has one not inconsiderable flaw to overcome: it kills you.

If, by some means currently beyond our technology (and certainly beyond short-term conceivable technology in the near future of decades or centuries, and quite possibly forever beyond our technology), we manage to duplicate physical state of the quintillions of atoms comprising a human being, and further, we somehow manage to precisely measure the chemical state(s) of all those atoms, and then even further, manage to determine the atomic states of quintillions of atoms, and yet further (and even less plausibly) again manage to determine the *exact* quantum states of all the comprising subatomic particles and force-carriers, and somehow store all this information, and then successfully break down all the matter (liberating enormous energy quantities - remember e=mc2?), and then transmit that mind-boggling quantity of information to another location, where the same amount of energy which was required to deconstruct the original human is now required to re-construct the teleported human, with all the identical properties, down to the quantum level as the original, well, even then (after this world record long sentence), the news is bad.

As bad as it can be for the original. Because they have been *deconstructed*, the atoms which make up their body torn apart, converted to energy and information. This is far more thorough and terminal than any bomb may conceivably do to human flesh.

But, what of the newly re-constructed person, you ask? They have the same body, the same memories, the same personality as the original. More, their DNA is identical, as are their retinas, fingerprints, and that mole in that embarrassing place. And, to anyone who cares to see them, they *are* the original person. And even to themself they are!

But they are not the same person. The original died when their atoms were disintegrated, and there is only *one way* that they could be the *actual original person*, and that is by introducing a fudge-factor concept which is completely antithetical to the concepts of ultimate deep science which have resulted in this extraordinary process. The original person must possess a *soul* or *spirit*, or some other such ineffable essence which is completely undetectable by this almost-impossibly advanced science, and that essence must somehow transport along with the teleport information, and ‘quicken’ itself into the reconstructed person, imbuing them with not just the physical characteristics of the original, but also their unique personal identity.

But this raises just too many questions and logical inconsistencies. How does this ‘soul’ know where to go? Does it obey the laws of physics?

No, the only was to accept that teleportation of humans *does not kill the original* is to step into the murky non-scientific world of spirit and soul and such mumbo-jumbo. This is not very Star Trek, or ieet, for that matter.

Think now, of every teleport you’ve seen, from Kirk and Spock, to Stargate, to the ‘human’ Cylons… and think that every one of those originals died. Of course the recipients didn’t realise, nor those around them, but when the transporter/stargate/whatever operated, those who entered ceased to exist. For ever.

Never mind 80kg of matter converted instantly to pure energy. Never mind analysis of the chemical, atomic and quantum states of quintillions of atoms, and the transmission of this data, and the reassembling requiring energy on a mind-boggling scale. Never mind all that.

It frakkin’ kills you.

Teleportation Update:

To Roman: What can I say? I’m a positive futurist.

I believe that one day, this technology will advance and work its way into our lives.

Tough off the topic of teleportation, here’s an article that might interest you (  On topic, I think this kind of teleportation will be used, the the longest time, to send inanimate objects, like food, building material, etc, from one place to another.  People might be to scared to teleport themselves unless it was a desperate person.

I believe that information will be teleported first, which in a quantum state will be the ultimate in secure messaging.

Next, we’ll move equipment and other objects around, and one day, we’ll figure out how to transport people safely.

This may sound impossible with today’s thinking abilities, but as the future unfolds, and researchers unravel the mysteries of consciousness and learn how to enhance our neurons, this “magical future” will become possible.

It certainly has a lot of potential smile.

Manipulators of quantum world win physics Nobel.

Physics Nobel rewards two pioneers who made today’s quantum technology possible. Serge Haroche, at Ecole Normale Superieure in France, and David Wineland, at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Wineland’s group demonstrated the first quantum logic gate, an essential precursor to quantum computing; Haroche developed a system that allows photons to travel 40,000 kilometers.

More details at this link:

> To Roman: What can I say? I’m a positive futurist.

> I believe that one day, this technology will advance and work its
> way into our lives.

Dick, I admire optimism, and I do believe there is much that science and technology can possibly discover and create for the betterment of the future for all humanity.

But in *this* case I just can’t see how we can get around 80 kg of mass being converted to energy, and then ‘transmitted’ (by whatever means), and then ‘reassembled’.

80 kg = approx 7.2E+18 Joules.

As if this amount of energy is not mind-bogglingly enormous enough, the information contained within quintillions of atoms that make up that human being is even more mind-blowing.

And I’ve just thought of (yet) another issue: The act of measuring all the quantum states of all those atoms will actually affect them - a la Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. So… even gathering the data *changes* the object (human in this case) to be ‘transported’.

Dyson spheres, generation ships, nanotech, all good futuristic stuff with conceivable advanced technology. Teleportation…. out there with FTL… maybe even further out…

But fun to think about… wink

Hi Roman,

I will admit that with the neurons I have today, teleportation seems impossible; but as future humans gain the ability to enhance neurons, I believe that this kind of a future could one day become possible.

Perhaps the simulation world might harbor the solution, or should an advanced alien species discover our crude world and take us under their wing, it may be possible that this technology has already been harnessed and they could show us the way.

Today, this concept lies in the sci-fi realm, but tomorrow; who knows?

Think positive, this future could become your reality!

dick, will the singularity predicted in the near future cause self improvement AI to progress at a geometric progression to infinity in finite time causing infinite growth and breakthroughs of every science and technology?

        “These super smart machines will one day learn to build copies of themselves with each generation becoming more intelligent. This will create an information explosion that promises to change the world beyond our wildest imaginings.

        The event, called the singularity, is projected to happen by 2030 or sooner, and will speed breakthroughs in every science and technology. Genetic engineering, nanotech, transportation, space exploration, and environmental improvements will all quickly mature and begin delivering huge benefits.”

Will this singularity predicted in the near future cause self improvement AI to progress at a geometric progression to infinity in finite time causing infinite growth and breakthroughs of every science and technology in finite time?


dick, will the singularity give us the ability to be omnipotent?

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