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Teleportation as Transportation

Updated on May 4, 2009
"Beam me up, Scotty!"
"Beam me up, Scotty!"

Scientific Possibility or Media Dream?

Whenever someone mentions "Teleportation" or "Transporters," most people, fans or otherwise, think of the generation-spanning Sci-Fi saga Star Trek, or any number of other shows, novels and films in both Science Fiction and Fantasy, laughing or cracking in-genre jokes like the ever-popular "beam me up, Scotty" and ultimately dismissing the notion as little more than a dream of science fiction whose realization is as yet centuries away. But is it really something that should be brushed off so casually, or is there truly some merit to the idea? Just how far are we from being able to instantly transport things from point A to point B? The truth is, in a sense, we already can.

Now, don't let that fool you; Scotty's not down at the post office with a team of engineers from the Enterprise installing the latest doohicket to get your mail to your door the same day it was sent (though that would be awfully convenient, wouldn't it?) And we're still (at least) several decades from actually being able to transport something as complex as, say, the daily mail, much less a living organism, but we have made a number of important, indeed critical advances in the field, most namely, in the form of the transportation of an honest to goodness laser beam. (Sounds far-fetched and genuinely hokey, I know, but check it out for yourself:

So sure, while transmission of a laser beam is still a long way from the actual transmission of solid matter (even individual atoms) from one place to another, the future for teleportation does look promising, or at least enough so that an incredible number of labs have started working toward it, and even the United States Air Force (USAF) has spent some time and funds looking into it (and not just from a standpoint of using technology to achieve it -and this is even more wild than transporting a laser beam- but also through the use of psychokinesis, or the transmission of matter [more specifically, the broader category of simply moving it around] using only the "powers" of the mind; now that's some interesting and controversial stuff.)

Conspiracy theorists shouldn't get their hopes up, however- while the Airforce has invested tax-payer money in researching different methods of achieving the instantaneous teleportation of objects and people (and I think that's as good a cause as any, considering how much of that cash normally goes into applications that are ultimately destructive) they haven't come up with much more than the Australians (the scientists who transported the laser beam.) They do, however, utterly (and purposefully, as they state) ignore what they refer to as "sf-teleportation" (the transportation of people and objects by "advanced (futuristic) technological means" as it has no (current) basis in scientific fact (and they are right about that- we won't have that technology, barring it simply falling out of the sky, until we manage to achieve it on our own.) What they do address, however, and in great detail, is the teleportation of states from point A to point B (also known as quantum entanglement- i.e. the transportation of a laser beam) and more interestingly, vm-teleportation and e-teleportation, the transportation of people and objects by bending space (to bring two points closer together- this is observed naturally, in a sense, in the way the tremendous magnetic force of planets and stars actually manage to bend light and curve the shape of space itself) and via extra-space dimensions and alternate realities respectively (though neither has gone beyond theory into any sort of even remotely practical application at this point- unless you consider the over-popularized and questionable results of the Philadelphia Experiment, but that's a completely different can of worms, and something that's too cloaked in mystery and conspiracy fluff as well as too far outside of genuine and acceptable fact to really have any rational place in this article.)

Using the power of your mind to teleport? Now THAT sounds like Science Fiction.
Using the power of your mind to teleport? Now THAT sounds like Science Fiction.

And yet, perhaps the most interesting (and seemingly far-fetched) aspect of the Air Force funded research into teleportation is their work on the aforementioned use of psychokinetic means or "p-teleportation" to achieve the same results as we might expect with some piece of futuristic technology. Involving similar ideas (in function) as it's brethren (and ultimately accomplishing the same end result- the instantaneous transmission of an object from point A to point B) p-teleportation is a whole different ball game from other forms of transportation (primarily in that it is accomplished through genuinely "organic" and traditionally "mysterious" methods in a manner that is not widely understood or accepted by the scientific community) and while I won't go into it in depth, the data collected by the Air Force is definitely worth looking into yourself (see the link for the Davis Report, especially if you think telekinesis is a hokey idea with no rational place in scientific theory.

So, as you can see, there are a host of different methods being explored by researchers all over the world in the pursuit of achieving this ultimate goal of being able to create a sound, reproducible (and ultimately saleable) method of "beaming" people and objects places. But, like all wondrous and potentially revolutionary technologies (i.e. Cryogenics, Nanotechnology, and Digital Sentience, among others,) teleportation has it's own pack of exciting moral dilemmas just waiting to be turned into slogans shouted by sign-waving protestors. Why? Because, while it might seem simple and harmless, teleportation traditionally requires the "deconstruction" of an individual or object and a subsequent "reconstruction" in order to work properly (this is, of course, assuming that simply crossing over from point A to point B by bending the shape of time/space or via the use of extra-space dimensions and alternate realities doesn't work out for us.) This process therefore technically destroys the individual or object, even if only for a billionth of a second, breaking continuity of existence and therefore, effectively (and according to current law) killing the individual. This brings up a very valid question- if there is indeed a soul, or some sort of unique life-force that is a part of each human individual, what happens to it when a person is taken apart, atom by atom, and "teleported?" Is it detached and subsequently reattached upon rematerialization, is it taken apart along with the rest of individual and reassembled as effectively as his or her more material aspects, or is it simply lost somewhere in the process? Will the first test subjects be reconstructed without any ill effects, or rematerialize as mindless vegetables, empty bodies without thought or awareness? Only time (and experimentation, of course,) will tell for sure.

Regardless of the methods eventually used by mankind to instantaneously teleport a person from point to point, you can bet religious leaders (say, the pope, for instance) will have to approve the device and announce that (in their eyes) it is spiritually safe to use, even if it does hurl your atoms through an extra-dimensional pocket of quantum space at the speed of light or involve bringing New York and Los Angeles a little closer together than they were (perhaps) ever meant to be. Like kosher foods and condoms, the potentially revolutionary technology of the instantaneous transmission of living matter will have to be accepted by the clergy before it will be able to show it's true potential to the world, making those long car rides and plane trips a thing of the past, and providing a way for the working individual to return home at night, regardless of whether the commute is on the other side of town or the other side of the globe.

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    • profile image

      rajalaxmi 

      6 years ago

      wow! One can get job in any part of the world without staying away from family and friends.hope this technology come to the masses .

    • profile image

      Rose 

      6 years ago

      I read this article because I'm writing a book and looking into the different ways teleportation might be accomplished without the use of technology. You raised some intriguing points indeed! I have a few questions that came up after reading them though.

      1) Assuming an individual does indeed manage to bring two points in space closer in order to teleport from one point to the other, would that mean the "space shift" would be permanent? For instance, in your New York to Los Angeles example, would the two cities remain close together even after the teleportation? Or would they kind of just return to their previous positions?

      2) Say - while I'm teleporting to New York from Los Angeles - you're teleporting from Australia to New York. Would you have to use the old coordinates or the new ones I created during and after my teleportation?

      3) And, using the method of deconstructing and rematerializing as teleportation, if multiple people were to teleport at once could this possibly mix their particles together, resulting in the reconstruction involving particles from someone other than yourself?

    • profile image

      Elikem Adonoo 

      6 years ago

      This blog is very interesting. I'd be glad to tell the writer that teleportation is very very possible; the only problem is we don't know how yet. But it's all a matter of time.

      We humans don't like talking about stuff that haven't happened yet because if we do then it (presumably) implies that we're insane. Alas, that shouldn't put us down by dampening our dreams & hopes of teleporting.

      We must bear in mind that everything man has been able to achieve started with a thought, no matter how ridiculous & crazy it might have seemed then became reality.

      Finally, let's bear in mind that what was once fiction is now reality. In my opinion, every creation is a possibility.

    • profile image

      Transportation Collection Agency 

      8 years ago

      I can't wait for teleportation. I think the internet is a type of mental teleportation that can take us a world away in a instant.

    • profile image

      Are 

      9 years ago

      last comment was like 6 months ago, but still they were at least 10 months after the one before them.

      Any ways, I don't see a problem with the idea of teleportation and breaking down a person to re assemble in another location. On a religion perspective the soul I don't can be broken from the body by mans technology, and if it can then what god is that. On a philosphical side with the concept of life and death, cells die all the time and we change over time mentally but no one claims murder. I like to think that as long as the copy is the same as when it went in then the will of the person does not die, and so they do not die.

    • profile image

      Pennye 

      9 years ago

      Can you imagine how upset the oil companies would be? Their billion - no- trillion dollar industry would be shot to heck if noone needed cars fro transportation. But, as another poster said... you cauold get jobs anywhere in the world and get there and back in a flash. No more unemployed people struggling to survive! Who knows, it may acutally become like Gene Roddenberry's version of the future where war, famine, and poverty are wiped out. Amazing possibilities. I only wish it woud happen in my lifetime.

    • profile image

      lanlie makwihill 

      10 years ago

      well i thought this page was interesting but if you decorate it more its more appealing to the eye i know thats not important but its a great story and i dont want it to be mis-judged you see some people look at the page and say umm... no ill go search another site. i am very interested in teleportation it is probably the most important thing in the world when you think about it transfering from one place to the next. im at a very young age(elementry school) so its hard to discuss this with others. im not one of those school geniouses or anything as you can see my spelling needs some help, but i just really like the whole plot of telepotation and it breaking the laws of physics! math and science are my best subjects thats it! i know sooooo much on teleportationand would love to learn more and more! your website has show me this thankyou for your helpful wedsite!:)

    • Earl S. Wynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Earl S. Wynn 

      10 years ago from California

      I know! Wouldn't that be awesome? I have alot of friends who are thousands of miles away I could visit without the cost and pollution of airfare involved! The potential for instantaneous matter transmission is truly staggering.

    • Susan Ng profile image

      Susan Ng Yu 

      10 years ago

      Oh, the possibilities! Teleportation would make it possible for me to fulfill my dream of working at Urban Cat League, Inc. in New York City. I could get to work there in the mornings and come back home to the Philippines every night in an instant. :D

    • Earl S. Wynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Earl S. Wynn 

      10 years ago from California

      Haha, thanks for the comment Zsuzsy! The whole "soul detachment" thing is definitely something to be considered, and something I never really thought of until I started looking into instantaneous matter transmission and the possible social issues that might rise up around it.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Just imagin the amount of fuel savings if we don't need to drive cars anymore...Mind you I wouln't want to leave parts of my behind. I think they called it splinched in "HarryPotter"

      great hub regards Zsuzsy

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