IntroductionI 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 teleportationIt 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 problemThere 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 informationThe 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 stateState 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 viewpointMy 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 scannersI 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 detailThere 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 brainThe 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.