Star Trek transporter: Possible?

Your opinion on Star Trek transporter.

  • Never thot it was possible & still do not.

    Votes: 10 26.3%
  • Thot is was possible, but have changed my mind.

    Votes: 2 5.3%
  • I believe it is possible, but very unlikely.

    Votes: 15 39.5%
  • I think it is likely to be invented & used.

    Votes: 3 7.9%
  • I expect it to be invented and used in the future.

    Votes: 8 21.1%

  • Total voters


Rational Skeptic
Valued Senior Member
A letter to the editors of Scientific American has interested me in conducting an experiment in what intelligent people believe. Emotionally, it seems to me that intelligence is a defense against insanity and belief in nonsense. Intellectually, I am reluctantly forced to realize that intelligent people can be insane and can believe in nonsense.

I have great respect for the intelligence of most of you who post at this site, making me think that this is a great place to try this experiment.

Please stop when asked your opinion, answering it in your mind without reading further. Then read on and consider the same question again. I am interested in knowing how many (if any) change their minds.

I have enjoyed science fiction, fantasy, and occult fiction for most of my life. However, I always tried to draw the line between what might be possible in the future and what just ain’t gonna happen. The Star Trek Transporter and the Teleportation device in “The Fly” made wonderful fiction, but I never believed such devices were possible.

Do you believe that such a device is possible to some advanced technology?

The writer of the letter to SciAm pointed out that here are something like 1.000E24 atoms in a few grams of matter (1 followed by 24 zeros). Now a matter transporter would require scanning and recording the details of the object to be transported. Perhaps 100 basic machine language instructions per atom would be required. This is probably an underestimate for something as complex as a human being.

Say we want to teleport a human being weighing 70 kilograms (about 150 pounds) or 70,000 grams. At 1.00E24 atoms for a few grams, estimate 10,000*1.000E24 or 1.000E28 atoms. At 100 instructions per atom, this is 1.000E30 instructions. Now how fast do you expect computers to get?

Let us work the problem backwards for a while. Assume that future computers use a million CPU’s working in parallel. Now each computer needs to do 1.000E24 computations. If we want to get the job done in a year, the CPU would have to do about 3.17E16 instructions per second, or one instruction in 3.156E-17 seconds. This is the time it takes light to travel about 3.719E-7 inches. I just do not expect computers to get any where near that fast.

So, it seems that it would take more than a year to do the computer processing required to record the necessary data prior to teleporting a human being. The letter writer was more pessimistic, he estimated 22 million years for the computations. I also happen to be pessimistic about the possibility of building the device which uses this data to do the job, but that requires a more esoteric analysis. Just considering the processing time, it does not look possible.

Before reading the letter in SciAm, I was not a believer. I certainly am not one now.

How about the rest of you? Any believers in teleportation who changed their mind? Any who didn’t change their mind? How many never did believe it was possible?
The second vote is mine, Possible But Unlikely. Why do I think that? I am very reluctant to declare anything impossible. We simply don't know enough yet to say certain things are impossible.

Do I think we can be broken down into bits and shot about through magic sunbeams? No. If this stuff ever happens, I expect bodies will be destroyed at one end and rebuilt at the other end according to a plan generated at the transmitter end. Will personality survive this? No idea. But in any case I think the whole thing is unlikely.
converting matter into energy and back

who didn’t change their mind?
I didn't change my mind,...
I never 'believed',....I'm convinced that the latter is going to happen,...and if not by means of computations/sec than in an other way,...there are various ways of transporting or teleporting matter or bioenergy in my humble opinion,....

please don't ask me why,...experiance perhaps?

Fukushi: Are you suggesting knowledge or experience with some occult nonsense like astral projection, telekinesis, whatever?
I think the problem here is thinking in too much of a linear way. Computers, as we know them, may not be the only answer to organizing enough data to send someone from one place to another instantly. You have to keep in mind that the technology we see and use now is not all that there is or ever will be, that there are things yet to be invented that a good deal of us cannot comprehend [at this time].

But, using computers, faster ones, you say that it is possible to transport a person, it would just take a year. There lies your answer. The technology isn't very realistic or useful if it takes a year to get somewhere (unless it may be a distant planet) but it is possible, and that is the bottom line.
It is possible. You just need a hysenberg compensator :D

It takes 400 megaquad of storage space also :D
Where is your optimistic side?

I believe that transporter technology is possible and I expect it to be invented(whether it be tomorrow or 15 million years from now). I also think that current theory about transporting a human being is a litte off. You would have to send the matter to the reciever not send data or instructions on how to reconstruct the matter. Wouldn't that fall along the lines of cloning? We can all ready transport photons on a subspace level why not (in the future) be able to transport other types or forms of matter (a human being)? Be a little optimistic.

By the way you have a limited perception of the future of computers... but don't we all.

"Don't be so linear, Jean-Luc" as Q says.
I have read Michael's Crichtons "Timeline" .

tht and also my estimations of our progress made me to answer tht someday this technology will be invented.

(in tht book MC used the idea of multiverses, body shrinking to subatomic levels, and destruction of the original body in the process)
I plan to read that book.

Science fiction has a long history of becoming science fact. Everything humans wish they could do, they eventually find a way to do. Hundreds of years ago, they wouldn't have dreamed of what we are trying to do today. Even a hundred years ago, they never thought we'd be able to do the things we are trying now.
It may not be in our lifetimes, it may not be in the next generation's lifetime, but eventually we will find a way to do it. And it will be done. It doesn't even seem to be a question of "Is it possible?" because even things that we thought were impossible have turned out otherwise. Where there's a will, there's a way. We will prevail.
Scan, record, transfer and rebuild are very unlikey for a transporter to work like that. It just takes too much data to compute in a short time. However, I have a working transporter in my mind. It will be more like a space displacer, or a mini wormhole that connects two fixed points over a large distance.
Whatever the method, I'm confident that we will find a way to effectively teleport objects and eventually people.
I would never trust my being to be encoded like that. maybe rudimentary insect or plant life. I mean, what if there's .000000000001 ohms somewhere in the circut that aren't accounted for? if its too warm or cool out wires will have different resistances. A voltage difference might make the computer calculate slightly differently, or might generate enough "static" in teh lines carrying my information to seriously screw me up. I like my spleen like it is thanks. I don't need another one.

read M. Crichtons "Timeline". There he talked about these kind of errors. Of course he's no science guru, but by observing tht other wild predictions by old time scifi writters (Jules Verne for instance) have come true I wouldn't reject his. There was mentioned smth like pattern errors. Like if there's an error your blood veins in one place of hand may not come together with other places. Immagine human body like a picture. You tear it to two halfs and then put together , only with 1cm to the right of one half. Transmission errors:D. You should always keep a backup of your body:D - laugh or not, but maybe these words in deep future will seem quite ordinary.
Originally posted by daktaklakpak
I have a working transporter in my mind. It will be more like a space displacer, or a mini wormhole that connects two fixed points over a large distance.

Great minds think alike. I am working on a project to manipulate gravity. But playing with hypercharge can have other benefits too. I think the same technology can be used to displace space and manipulate the matter within. As long as the space is contained in a scalar field - the matter within should be fine. But, instead of using high Tesla EM field that can harm living matter, I am thinking to create a dual field that counteracts the contents inside. If that fails, then back to drawing board for mini wormhole scenario....

Another way to do this is to just read the DNA and the memory of a person. Based on the DNA, you can create a duplicate atom by atom from the raw materials at the other side and download the memory. Our company has proposed a DNA to face recognition software to FBI. So in 40 years - who knows what we are capable of?
Sorry, no can do...I do not wish to expose my Avatar that reflects on the company....unless there is a damn good saving the planet....:D

Are you offering any?