Why I wouldn't use a transporter.

2011-06-30

As far as sci-fi methods for going vast distances quickly go there are two possible methods, a wormhole method and a Star Trek style transporter.

The problem I have with the transporter method is I can't be sure that I would be coming out on the other side. When the transporter initiates, it breaks up all the particles in your body, transfers them to the destination and re-assembles them. It seems to me there is the possibility that the instant your particles are broken up, consciousness as you know it will cease to exist.

Imagine an alternative scenario where instead of transferring your molecules it creates a perfect copy of you in which every quark in every atom is in the exact same position, spin, etc... That version of you would feel it had just been teleported, however the original you would still be back at the original location and think nothing happened.

The idea of whether you would really show up on the other side, or some other entity exactly like you would and the original you would just cease to exist becomes somewhat philosophical and dependent on the nature of the universe. If we live in a universe where time has a minimum planck length, and from one instance to the other is like the pixels moving from one location to another on a monitor giving the illusion of movement, there is an argument to be made that if one instant your consciousnesses is in one location and the next moment it is in another and teleportation doesn't destroy the original.

However it time is perfectly smooth, one could argue that the break in continuity when all of your particles are scattered throughout space, the individual who entered the teleporter no longer exists.

The wormhole method however, where you body's state would remain intact throughout the trip would pose no danger to you in my opinion.