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Old July 30 2013, 08:55 PM   #1
larryman
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Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

"To infinity and beyond: Teleporting humans into space"
http://phys.org/news/2013-07-infinit...ans-space.html


"...the data transfer would require up to 4.85x1015 years."

"...so it would take around 350,000 times longer than the universe to transport the information of a single human..."

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Old July 31 2013, 12:50 AM   #2
Data's Cat
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Re: Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

That's ok. I didn't want to be teleported into space anyhow...
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Old July 31 2013, 01:25 AM   #3
MacLeod
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Re: Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

Well we already knew they were impractical due to Heisnberg's uncertainty principal.

Though I believe the Heisnberg compemsators work quite well, thank you.
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Old July 31 2013, 02:13 AM   #4
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Re: Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

And bees can't fly, either.

(I understand the "bees can't fly" story is urban myth. However, the point of the story is valid: the "proof" of a model is only as good as the model. Reality may differ. The STAR TREK transporter is fictional. It is never stated exactly how it works, and episodes/movies conflict with each other in what characters say and/or what we see the transporter do. For example, it is evident from "That Which Survives" and THE WRATH OF KHAN, when Kirk and Saavik are conversing during transport, that the transporter does not take a 3D "snapshot" of the transported subjects. So the students in the article did not "prove" teleportation is impossible. They merely "falsified" one notion of teleportation. One cannot prove a negative.)
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Old July 31 2013, 04:59 PM   #5
DarthTom
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Re: Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

In 2004 they teleported an atom. I'm surprised in nearly a decade we haven't heard anything more about it.

BBC

Scientists have performed successful teleportation on atoms for the first time, the journal Nature reports. The feat was achieved by two teams of researchers working independently on the problem in the US and Austria.
The ability to transfer key properties of one particle to another without using any physical link has until now only been achieved with laser light.
Experts say being able to do the same with massive particles like atoms could lead to new superfast computers.
This development is a long way from the transporters used by Jean-Luc Picard and Captain Kirk in the famous Star Trek TV series.
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Old July 31 2013, 05:44 PM   #6
Psion
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Re: Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

That's a neat article, but one thing that stood out to me was they appear to be assuming information is sent uncompressed. For example, they claim an estimated 10^10 bits per human cell. That's fine, but it seems to me that there will be a lot of redundancy when you go through every cell in a human body. In fact, I'd expect much of them to be nearly identical to other cells.

Of course, this then introduces a processing problem as some kind of computer now has to dig through all that data and figure out how to compress the data prior to teleportation.

On top of this, I prefer to view Star Trek's transporters as iconic. That is, they represent a technology that moves people and things without the need for landing craft, without necessarily being an exactly accurate portrayal. The explanations that we've been given over time therefore represent the best explanation various writers can come up with without actually having a real, working such technology to reference. So I don't get too hung up on the explanations given in, for example, "The Savage Curtain", or Geordi's and Reg's dialog as being more than just set dressing. Real world discoveries and inventions will continue to give better and better explanations and future incarnations of Star Trek will incorporate some of these ideas.

DarthTom wrote: View Post
In 2004 they teleported an atom. I'm surprised in nearly a decade we haven't heard anything more about it.
Oh, there's been plenty of news. Last year, for example, there was news about having teleported over a distance of nearly ninety miles. In 2011, wave packets of light were teleported.
The mainstream media has become bored with teleportation news for now, so I don't expect to hear much about it from that quarter until someone does something of major financial importance or teleports something alive.
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Old July 31 2013, 08:31 PM   #7
DarthTom
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Re: Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

Psion wrote: View Post
Oh, there's been plenty of news. Last year, for example, there was news about having teleported over a distance of nearly ninety miles. In 2011, wave packets of light were teleported.
The mainstream media has become bored with teleportation news for now, so I don't expect to hear much about it from that quarter until someone does something of major financial importance or teleports something alive.
Thanks. Scientifically, I don't see how teleportation will be ever possible the way the Trek depicted it. From what I've read even if many of the problems related to computer speed and storage are solved in the end basically the process would be to create a complete copy of your body including your memories and incinerate your existing body. And then reconstruct that copy as a perfect replica some where else.

Couple of things occur to me if that ever became possible:

1. Humans could become immortal by re-creating themselves at a younger age as a clone with existing memories

2. Who in their right mind would want to transplanted into a clone of themselves?

Because of these and I'm sure other moral issues surrounding cloning and in theory immortality - these issues would make teleportation problematic regardless eveb if it is ever technically feasible.

As an aside - even in Trek they are inconsistent on this issue. In Enterprise the inventor of the Transporter [forget his name] strongly refutes the notion that it's cloning.

However in Next Gen - we have at least three episodes that suggest that cloning is at least part of the transport process.

The episode where Thomas Riker is created. And the episode in which Dr. Polaski [sp?] is de-aged using the machine.

And the episode in thish Guinian et al are turned into children and then turned back into adults.

Another interesting article about how it is impractical. However it's interesting to note that the author says only 1 zetta byte exists world wide when we know now the NSA is building a 5 zetabyte storage facility right now.

Destructive scanning of a body, transmitting the information, and then reconstructing the body: To have a scanner that can record the position of every atom in the body to an accuracy of the order of the size of a hydrogen atom would require position accuracy of about 10-10 meters. To get that accuracy over a distance of order 1 meter, this would require 30 decimal digits, which would be about 100 binary digits per atom. However, there would be a lot of redundancy in this data, so let's be optimistic and assume you could compress this down to 1 bit per atom, so we still need approximately 1027 bits of data to just specify the positions of all the atoms in a human body. According to Wikipedia (Exabyte), the approximate data storage capacity of all the computers and storage devices in the world today is roughly 1 zettabyte = 1021 bytes = 1022 bits. Therefore, the data for the scan of one human would require at least 10,000 times the total storage of all the data stored on Earth right now.

Last edited by DarthTom; July 31 2013 at 08:49 PM.
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Old August 1 2013, 08:32 AM   #8
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Re: Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

Why would you place such limitations on bandwidth? You can transport a human body with a wagon. All cells and all information about them. It seems that the bandwidth to transport an entire human body is there and readily available, there's no physical limitation to stop it from happening. There's no specific reason why an energy beam of unspecified kind wouldn't be able to convey the same information in a different manner.

Besides, nobody says that a transporter has to be beam-based, ephemeral microwormholes work just fine and are much less messy.
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Old August 1 2013, 10:17 AM   #9
JarodRussell
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Re: Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

DarthTom wrote: View Post
However it's interesting to note that the author says only 1 zetta byte exists world wide when we know now the NSA is building a 5 zetabyte storage facility right now.
If you're referring to the FoxNews report, take it with a big grain of salt.
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Old August 4 2013, 04:34 AM   #10
Snaploud
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Re: Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

YellowSubmarine wrote: View Post
Why would you place such limitations on bandwidth? You can transport a human body with a wagon. All cells and all information about them. It seems that the bandwidth to transport an entire human body is there and readily available, there's no physical limitation to stop it from happening. There's no specific reason why an energy beam of unspecified kind wouldn't be able to convey the same information in a different manner.

Besides, nobody says that a transporter has to be beam-based, ephemeral microwormholes work just fine and are much less messy.
Bingo. They've basically just proven that we're not able to instantaneously teleport a human via current technology...which isn't especially insightful.
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Old August 5 2013, 01:48 PM   #11
DarthTom
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Re: Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

Snaploud wrote: View Post
Bingo. They've basically just proven that we're not able to instantaneously teleport a human via current technology...which isn't especially insightful.
That still fails to answer the moral questions if the processing of transporting is cloning or not? If the process is a hybrid process of cloning your congitive abilities and memories into an exact replica of oneself - who would want to engage in that process and what are the implcations?
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Old August 5 2013, 02:00 PM   #12
JarodRussell
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Re: Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

DarthTom wrote: View Post
Snaploud wrote: View Post
Bingo. They've basically just proven that we're not able to instantaneously teleport a human via current technology...which isn't especially insightful.
That still fails to answer the moral questions if the processing of transporting is cloning or not? If the process is a hybrid process of cloning your congitive abilities and memories into an exact replica of oneself - who would want to engage in that process and what are the implcations?
But nobody will ever find out. If you die at point A and your clone appears at point B, there's no way to find out if you really died. And if you just copy yourself (meaning both you at point A and your clone at point B are well and alive), it isn't a useful means of transportation.
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Old August 5 2013, 10:20 PM   #13
Deckerd
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Re: Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

A clone is not the same as the original. In other words even if you had a machine that could make a facsimile of a body after destroying the original, the facsimile would be a different person because cloning does not replicate a personality. The simple reason for this is that every personality is unique.
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Old August 5 2013, 10:55 PM   #14
JarodRussell
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Re: Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

Deckerd wrote: View Post
A clone is not the same as the original. In other words even if you had a machine that could make a facsimile of a body after destroying the original, the facsimile would be a different person because cloning does not replicate a personality. The simple reason for this is that every personality is unique.
Cloning, yes, because a clone is born and needs to grow up. Copying like a transporter does, no, because a duplicate of your exact current state is created. Granted, nobody knows what happens to your personality for certain because nobody has tried it, but it's highly probable that your personality is copied in its exact state. If you can duplicate all molecules, all neurons and all charges between neurons, you have copied the entire state of the brain at that current moment.
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Old August 5 2013, 11:46 PM   #15
Noname Given
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Re: Star Trek Transporter - not practical!

DarthTom wrote: View Post

Thanks. Scientifically, I don't see how teleportation will be ever possible the way the Trek depicted it. From what I've read even if many of the problems related to computer speed and storage are solved in the end basically the process would be to create a complete copy of your body including your memories and incinerate your existing body. And then reconstruct that copy as a perfect replica some where else.

Couple of things occur to me if that ever became possible:

1. Humans could become immortal by re-creating themselves at a younger age as a clone with existing memories

2. Who in their right mind would want to transplanted into a clone of themselves?

Because of these and I'm sure other moral issues surrounding cloning and in theory immortality - these issues would make teleportation problematic regardless eveb if it is ever technically feasible.

As an aside - even in Trek they are inconsistent on this issue. In Enterprise the inventor of the Transporter [forget his name] strongly refutes the notion that it's cloning.

However in Next Gen - we have at least three episodes that suggest that cloning is at least part of the transport process.

The episode where Thomas Riker is created. And the episode in which Dr. Polaski [sp?] is de-aged using the machine.

And the episode in thish Guinian et al are turned into children and then turned back into adults.

Another interesting article about how it is impractical. However it's interesting to note that the author says only 1 zetta byte exists world wide when we know now the NSA is building a 5 zetabyte storage facility right now.

Destructive scanning of a body, transmitting the information, and then reconstructing the body: To have a scanner that can record the position of every atom in the body to an accuracy of the order of the size of a hydrogen atom would require position accuracy of about 10-10 meters. To get that accuracy over a distance of order 1 meter, this would require 30 decimal digits, which would be about 100 binary digits per atom. However, there would be a lot of redundancy in this data, so let's be optimistic and assume you could compress this down to 1 bit per atom, so we still need approximately 1027 bits of data to just specify the positions of all the atoms in a human body. According to Wikipedia (Exabyte), the approximate data storage capacity of all the computers and storage devices in the world today is roughly 1 zettabyte = 1021 bytes = 1022 bits. Therefore, the data for the scan of one human would require at least 10,000 times the total storage of all the data stored on Earth right now.
^^^
And that's my issue - the particular 'conscious awareness' that is me would effectively cease to exist at the transmission point - (IE 'I' would for all intents and purposes be dead.) The copy at the reception point (assuming everything went well) would be a new 'conscious awareness' and would retain all my experiences/memories; and live on from that point (until he decided to teleport again); but again my original 'conscious awareness' will have ceased to exist. <--- So, yeah, no thanks.
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