In scifi movies, the teleporter is a standard piece of kit. Stand on some platform, give the command and womwomwom your atoms are disassembled one place and reassembled somewhere else far away.

The word teleport comes from “tele” (Greek for ‘distant’) and portare (Latin for ‘to carry’) and perhaps the 19th century definition implies the teleportation is somehow a super acceleration of whatever matter is being teleported, defying Einstein and obstacle alike, to be eventually brought back together in its original form at the destination. This old-style method has just one advantage: its authenticity. Same atoms at start and finish. But the energy needed and the violation of universal rules are inconceivable! This method of teleportation seems impossibly inefficient, unpredictable and clumsy.

Far less likely to violate the immutable laws of physics is teleportation by 3D printer: at the start your entire matter composition is scanned, accurately stored as data, then transmitted (plausibly at the speed of light) to whatever destination; and there an incredibly complex accurate quark-printer zaps into being an exact rendering of the physical you from the received data. If one accepts it’s possible to scan all seven billion billion billion atoms in your body accurately, and that conceivably this 3D quarkprinter can “print” with similar accuracy, the “teleportation” becomes the most simple part of the process i.e. we already know how to send and receive data at the speed of light.

So let’s try to consider the first person experience of being teleported in this way. To you, the emergent conscious being living his/her life one moment to the next, this seems like instant transportation. In fact even if there’s a delay between scan, send, receive e.g. if being teleported at the speed of light from Earth to a planet orbiting Proxima Centaurus 4 light years away, the reassembled you at Proxima wouldn’t have experienced those years travelling the cold emptiness of interstellar space.

First you would be at the start place. Then you might experience the scanning immediately followed by the completed reassembly – this being the “teleportation” (let’s imagine some suitably startling fulgence). The dazzling lights would subside and you’d perceive yourself in new location, quickly reconfiguring “normality” around the sights and sounds of the once-distant destination. Ah, smell that distinctive Proxima Centaurus air! Thus teleportation.

We have a number of problems arising from this remarkable process, none of them relating to the science and all of them relating to that most arbitrary of components: the human in the machine.

  • Murdering the original.

  • Endless clones.

  • Interception.

  • Variable time periods of existence.

  • Relativity the least of our problems.

This is all consistent with the conscious self as a creation of the moment and ties in with blipvert consciousness. Check out this article on staccato identity. The brain teleports the self from one moment to the next (in effect) all the time. Tie in with drugs, alcohol, hypnotism, schizophrenia, free will, etc.

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