Daily Archives: March 31, 2012

Teleportation in the News

Yesterday was an interesting anniversary. Wired News reports:

March 29, 1993: Teleportation Beams From Sci-Fi to Real Science

1993: Scientists show teleportation is possible, at least theoretically. The downsides: The original teleported object must be destroyed, and it can’t happen instantaneously.

The story goes on to flesh out some of the milestones that have occurred in the teleportation arena in the interrum, including teleporting photons a few meters and teleporting information up to 10 miles.

Gizmodo marked the anniversary by sharing this story with us:

Beam Me Up, Scotty: Scientists Transport a Hunk of Matter 18 Inches

Scientists in Copenhagen took one more step toward the Star Trek transporter, figuring out how to teleport groups of billions of atoms from one place to another using light, quantum mechanics, magnetism and a concept they call “entanglement.” Professor Eugene Polzik and his team managed to move an object about 18 inches, using an excruciatingly complicated process that amounts to some serious magic. Says the Prof:

“Creating entanglement is a very important step, but there are two more steps at least to perform teleportation. We have succeeded in making all three steps — that is entanglement, quantum measurement and quantum feedback.”

Somebody on Facebook said this story was actually six years old. Probably so, as the Reuters story linked in the Gizmodo article isn’t there any more. Still very cool.

Star Trek references aside, this method of teleportation sounds somewhat different from the Star Trek models of teleportation which breaks you down into bits and either beams 1) you or 2) your pattern to the other location where it is reconstituted either 1) from your original matter or 2) locally available materials. (For the record, 1) is the original series and 2) is Next Generation and beyond.) I’m not sure if I would ever want to do 1), but 2) is a big no way. The guy who lands on the other side isn’t me — he just thinks he is. I’m dead.

But THIS approach, from the sketchy details provided, might move the whole person intact, irrespective of what the Wired article says about the original having to be destroyed. As I understand it, if you recreate my quantum states, you recreate me. You don’t just have a copy in that case, you have the original. Would the subjective me-ness that is me come along for the ride? Theoretically, yes.

Still, come to think of it, I think I would have to pass. Not that it looks like anyone is going to be offering free teleportation rides any time soon.

I’m just sayin’.