A simpler method of teleportation

Introduction

I want to make it clear first of all that I am not a scientist, nor do I think this idea of mine to be original, or that I haven't left out important information, or that complex issues can arise. These are just a collection of some technologies I've seen, but the idea of this essay is to break with the idea of wholesale copying, and introduce another simpler model for teleportation.

A quick definition of teleportation

"Teleportation is the transfer of matter from one point to another without traversing the physical space between them". Thank you Wikipedia.

The current model for human teleportation

It seems as though the current hypothetical teleportation of objects is defined as copying an object over a distance wholesale atom by atom. This requires extreme levels of fidelity, that are seemingly impossible to achieve. Atoms are not little balls in reality, they are complex state machines that hold information about what they are and what they are currently up to. Our lack of understanding of the subatomic world should be a sign that we cannot achieve human teleportation using this method in the foreseeable future.

The metaphysical problem

There seems to be an idea that humans are metaphysically unique items that need to be copied exactly in order for them to still be what they were before. Therefore only an exact duplicate of a person will do. I don't believe this to be true for several reasons.

We are just a culmination of information

The only thing that distinguishes us in the atomic soup that we are swimming around in is information. We are not made of the same atoms, or even the same cells that we were made of when we were infants. This means that our bodies don't make us who we are. Our information is what we really are, and it is all we need to transfer to get ourselves elsewhere.

With state

State is another thing that makes us truly us. Certain of our genes are expressed in adulthood that resulted in what we are and see today. Furthermore memories and neural pathways form what differentiates us as people. If you were reduced to being a text interface to the outside world, your mind would still make it possible for people to know its you, but your body has almost no business in storing this information, save for the brain.

An inverse viewpoint

My conclusion is that instead of trying to copy everything of the human body, including atomic spin states, maybe we should look at what the minimum is that we need to copy in order to produce an accurate copy of a personality. Copying the body is less important. I think that after a body transplant, the receiver of the body would remain very much the same. I'm not saying the body has no impact, I am just considering that maybe the doesn't, or the impact is low.

Reproducing the body using scanners

I am going to suggest how we can scan a body, in preparation of recreating it on the other side of the communication. CT Scans can give us a good indication of the dimensions of the body and parts of it. In addition to genetic information carried over, we could well have an entire human body transfer, except for the brain! Knowing which parts fit in where, and possessing pregrown inks, or cells that have been given function, but stripped of DNA, a stitcher or viral mechanism can be used to stick the received DNA in each cell. These cells would be pasted onto organ templates created from the CT scan(stem cell technology essentially). Complex organs can be "printed" using layering techniques. Bones need to be printed in this manner as well.

The printing process in a bit more detail

There are already methods for printing organs. Essentially different types of cells are layered to create a complex organ. This technology is not in common use yet, however it is advancing quite rapidly. Usually the printer has cells that were already grown from the donor, but in my case this cannot work. We will be growing from a common donor, and then replacing the DNA during the printing process. This may happen using a quick action array of needle like devices that remove DNA and insert other DNA in a cell almost simultaneously. This may also be achieved via a virus, although the needle method seems to me a bit faster. The idea of having the printing process replace DNA rather than grow from the donor DNA from the start is that it would make the cloning process extremely lengthy. The replacement process takes from a pool of already grown cells of different types, and hi-jacks them for it's own body.

The mind, not the brain

The hard part of this transfer is transferring the mind. The entire connectome of a person should be copied using the printing process. I'm not sure how the brain is switched on or off, to use simplistic terms. I'm betting this is a complex process, but it is the only one that remains.

So what then?

The whole idea of this article is not to claim that the method above is the definitive way to achieve teleportation. I am sure it doesn't address even 1% of the problems relating to teleportation. What I want to illustrate is that using technology that is not far from becoming common, and treating teleportation like an engineering problem with small parts rather than the wholesale copying of someones atoms, we may be able to get it working much sooner.

We don't need speed. The transfer is not meant to happen fast. A body scan can take an hour or two, or consist of more sessions than one. The idea is to capture information accurately. The brain scan requires recent memories to be captured however. Nor does the reconstruction have to be speedy. If we had a suitable replicator object on Mars for instance, we could put a man on Mars for much cheaper than actually sending him over there. If the copy and transport process takes a month, we would still be shaving 6 months off the trip! This does require the replicator to be at the destination, but sending a replicator, with ingredients to make cell soup, would not require a transport vehicle to carry life support aboard the ship going there. It would only need life support for the surface of Mars. Because the person being scanned is only being scanned for a short period of time, they wait for their transfer date. When they go it seems instantaneous. The fact is that their new bodies are already there!

What about the original body? Can we keep it? Maybe we can. Maybe we can put it in a deep sleep. Essentially when the traveler wants to return we can maybe feed the vital connectivity or memories gained back into the original. What about the copy? That person is put into a deep sleep, and essentially the cells of that body are destroyed and reintegrated into the cellular replicator.






Misinformation is a social virus.

I recently had the misfortune of having a conversation with people who were climate change "sceptics". After supplying them with some lengthy reading material I realised something. They didn't even make the effort to read it. This is revealing when we think about misinformation. Misinformation would not be so effective if it wasn't so easy to digest. It requires no mental effort on the part of the recipient of the information, but it disguises itself as knowledge.

Numerical data and anomalous scientific data seems to be the easiest misinformation to spread. In order to defend intelligent design, the proponents of the "theory" tried to cast doubt onto evolution by pointing out things like the eye and the flagellum . The biggest problem with these naysayers was their lack of expertise in evolutionary biology. Good biologists had no trouble evaporating those two tiny drops that were spat at the sea of evidence supporting the origin of species by evolution. 

Climate science suffers even more under numerical data. Despite global warming some places on earth have become colder. Climate scientists don't see this as an anomaly, but uneducated "climate sceptics" do (Please be assured that I don't refer to all climate change sceptics. There are people who have raised legitimate concerns, although they are gradually being satisfied and their reservations being laid to rest). The climate is a system, and the temperature is a variable. Climate change will result in a net increase in temperature averaged across the globe, but certainly wont cause it to be warmer everywhere all the time. The purpose of this post is certainly not to engage in a debate about climate change. I am merely using climate change as an illustration.

It's easy to take a piece of information like increased ice coverage in the arctic and use that as both a weapon against people who have done their homework, or to convince people who tend to take information at face value. Science is complex, you can't take one number, or one factoid and irrefute entire established scientific theories or principles. If you wanted to disprove climate change or evolution, the undertaking on your part would be nothing short of a global scientific effort to review all the current understanding. This has happened before. Before the 20th century science was not as cultured and refined as it is now. Many established scientific ideas like the aether, protoplasm and uegenics had to be challenged. They were the order of the day. 

But there is a difference now. We have moved to liberal, ethical, secular and more importantly, methodologically sound science in the past century. This has no small part to play in the massive advances that came during the last 100 years. 

The Copenhagen interpretation was an early example of science clashing with science and coming to the right answers in the end. The conclusions that already exist have been fought over at length by specialists in their fields. For a lay person to challenge modern science today is ludicrous. That is why we can't take conspiracy theorists or even the media serious when they claim to uncover gaps or flaws in science. 

I think there is a solution to all of this. And that is to stop these misinformation diseases at their sources. People who start these ridicoulous conspiracy theories are not fueled by genuine concern or the need to understand and improve science. They are on a mission to destroy it! 

I think that we should try to build some immunity to the ongoing attacks on science being carried out. The best way to do that is by educating people. The reason why so many in the USA question evolution is because evolution has been abused in the biology classroom. Teaching some climate change science in school could be a good start too. Teaching students how the scientific method works would probably work best. 
Science is not a free for all. There are considerable barriers you need to cross to understand modern science. You need to understand much much more to refute it. Simply by watching some documentaries and reading popular science I have come to understand that science is a wonderful thing. It is by far the most exciting thing in the world. We have so much to learn, but people who spread unscientific lies are holding society back. We have to move on and if we don't overhaul the way we as a society treats science, most people will stay far behind understanding, and the backlashes will just get more extreme with time. 






The Venus Project is doomed!


 I took a look at the Venus project and read some of the literature on their site. In case you don't know it, it's worth checking out. If you're not familiar with it then please read there first, otherwise this post will make no sense whatsoever.

http://www.thevenusproject.com/

If you enjoy societal structure and political theory, this is an interesting project which claims to solve most of humanity's problems using technology and abolishing money. The founder, Jacques Fresco thinks that if we distribute resources and get rid of money we can focus on more important things like world hunger, green economies etc.

There are so many problems with this theory that I don't know where to begin. The most important problem is that humans are not simply variables in larger macro-economic equations. You can't claim to distribute resources(wealth) equitably in any political system. It WILL be abused. There just is no way to stop some humans from being corrupt stealing assholes. This makes laws, courts and prisons necessary. Essentially from that point on the whole perfect little system falls apart, spiraling back into essentially the same kind of system we have now.

So I don't believe that human nature means we are all intrinsically bad. I do believe that there is a sufficient amount of cheaters in the system to warrant laws and prisons. There will always be people who try to get ahead without doing any work. If the currency is noddy badges to tell people they are great in Fresco's world, someone will make counterfeit ones. It just works that way. It is a kind of evolutionary arms race and it's one of the reasons why humans have such big noggins. We don't need massive brains to compete with other animals. We got that covered. We need massive brains to compete with each other.

Another problem with Fresco's lofty Utopia is the technology. To create such a world would require all the resources of the world and maybe 100 years worth of dedicated and focussed hard work. Merely saying that you can focus all the worlds resources on the most important goals is missing the point of free market capitalism entirely. I agree that some things that would be very beneficial to society are not being pursued because nobody wants to spend money on it, but most good things are being done BECAUSE of money. He rightly states that humans are not motivated by money, and that most great inventions were had within the absense of money, but developing those inventions into world changing products needed a monetary motivation. Someone can't just walk up to a bunch of people and say "Okay Johnson you get a hammer you're going to build a fusion reactor" in a money-free society. Who the hell are you to tell Johnson what to do? In a society like Fresco's we don't know who will be the laborers and who will be barking the orders? Presumably everyone who promotes his way of thinking will pick him. It would be mighty convenient.

Next up is the resource requirement for a resource based economy. The technologies needed to automate as much as this system needs is non-existent, and reading about some of the ideas about load balancing factories and other high automation made me think of what a nightmare the software side of this distribution system would be. I can't even imagine the hardware demands.

Finally there is a problem of innate social structuring and self organisation. If humans are stranded on desert islands we don't default into a Frescoesque utopian society. Leaders emerge, and hierarchies are established. The ideal of a society where everyone is equal and everyone drives a Lamborghini is ridiculous. The idea of an equal society where nobody has a Lamborghini is even worse.

So what is a way forward then? Are we doomed? Are we depleting the earth's resources, reviving serfdom and slavery? No! None of those things. As time goes by people at the bottom of society are being uplifted. Soon every person on earth will have internet access. I can watch lectures from some of the best minds in the world without paying a cent. How is that for a cool society? Yes there are problems. Lots of them. And some of them are getting worse. BUT that is how humanity works. We can overcome all these things and make people happy without having to subject everyone to mediocrity.

Equality is the opposite of liberty, because to make things equal, you must take away that which makes them unique. I know that the Venus project has good intentions, but without economics people will just find another system to compare themselves with others, and without knowing what that is we certainly can't tell if it's good.

Money is not evil. Money is a representation of your contribution and value to society. Money is a way of saying: "We, society, find you valuable. You can go and buy donuts because you deserve it for unblocking that drain, writing that novel or coordinating that moon landing". I would say that money is distributed in a very wrong way to the wrong people. Take Justin Bieber's money and give it to Stephen Hawking's doctors!





Steamy Linux


I was thrilled, but somewhat sceptical when I first heard that Valve was going to port their Steam platform to Ubuntu. It certainly is a very good thing, but I wondered:

"What if Valve fails? What if this is another one of those examples of some company trying to make money on Linux and failing horribly."

This got me thinking. How do you achieve success on Linux? How should Valve go about their business and succeed? One thing is quite sure and that is that many PC gamers are power users, many power users nowadays install Ubuntu, so PC gaming and Linux are peas in a pod. The convenience of having your geek out platform also be your gaming platform is pretty cool, and if you're a dedicated PC gamer then shedding Windows could be just what the doctor ordered.

Why!?

Because one thing is clear with Windows, and it's becoming more clear as the years pass on. Microsoft cannot ever satisfy everyone. Yeah sure it's fine for people who are now only discovering how cool computers can be, but after the honeymoon period you realise that it would be really cool if something or another was different.

Linux fills that gap nicely. Power users can customize to their will, and even limited users can pick from a variety of Ubuntu based easy to use distros each with a different focus. Don't like Unity, then use something else!

This is not an automatic recipe for success however, and Valve needs to take care to do this right. The world of Linux is much different, and many companies have gotten their fingers burnt thinking that they know what they're doing (Oh Oracle how misguided you were). Far from being complete I'm going to try and lay down some ground rules.


1. Make it simple


It's fairly easy to assume that all Linux users want to do all day is sit around compiling custom kernels and installing bleeding edge drivers that set their massive towers on fire, but the Linux demographic has never been that simple. Many people who use Linux use it for work purposes. They may be doing web development, or using it as a workstation for writing or other activities. If you don't use specialized software like Photoshop then Linux can work great for you.

It should also be noted that everyone has limited time on their hands. If Steam comes with a million little quirks and bugs the backlash will be hard to deal with. Former Windows users will just reboot and never look back and you will be a left with the Angry Nerds of the Linux world. In fact, you are not immune to Linus Torvalds flipping the bird at you if you screw up.


2. Don't make Linux a second class citizen


If you release a game that is available for all three platforms, but you do Windows and Mac first you are killing your own mission. Google does this and it results in communities that are pretty unhappy. "When will it come to Linux?" they ask. Once again if former Windows gamers feel neglected they will simply go back to Windows, and so on.


3. Engage with your users


If you have a forum where users can report issues make sure you are ready for the storm. If you don't have enough people manning this station you will get very unhappy users. The NVidia Linux forums look like this. I can't imagine the people working on Nvidia Linux having a good time. Sadly this is due to under staffing, but also due to other issues.


4. Engage with the community


I left this one for last but it probably is the most important factor. Don't release software and go "There it is! You can use it now!" and expect everything to just work out. Linux is free in monetary terms, but there is a community investment to be made to be part of it. If Valve fixes little driver bugs, or even just reports bugs on Ubuntu or releases small tools for Linux developers to use then they will get something money can't buy. If the community loves you, you will feel the love coming back. The whole point of open source is collaboration. Its about symbiosis. If you act like a parasite you will inevitably get treated like one.

Most of the traditional companies entering into the Linux world and failing has in my opinion been their own fault. They were trying to get maximum benefit with minimum input. They were acting like traditional companies do, trying to push their own agenda exclusively while getting the most of what they could out of the community. In an ecosystem like Linux companies like these are parasites, and they harm the platform more than they help it.

I trust that Valve can pull this off. I really like Valve's games and even though I have my complaints about Steam it did give me games cheaper and faster than traditional means. Bringing that and their know-how to Linux could be just the boost that desktop Linux needs.