Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Beam Most of Me Up, Scotty!


While lying in bed, slipping aimlessly between thinking about tomorrow’s to do list and traipsing along with the sandman, somewhere between consciousness and dream world, I thought about being beamed up. I have no idea where to, just maybe to the Holodeck, but something occurred to me while I implausibly stood in my designated circle waiting for the command, “Energize!”

The famous science fiction tele-transportation method that disassembles your molecules and your life force in one portal and reassembles everything in another portal somewhere else may have many more possibilities than just simple transportation. The line “Beam me up, Scotty” was made famous by the TV series Star Trek, and was responsible for solving many problematic script exits from impending danger. Even though impending danger was part of my thought, my being beamed up was somewhat different: I dreamt, “What if I had cancer?”
I thought, if they can identify all the biological components needed to recompose me, why can’t they leave out the pieces that shouldn’t be there, like cancer cells. Why not simply leave the bad parts out of the rebuild? Maybe even leave out any viruses, or even stray bullets. Could they even possibly reconfigure my nose during the reassembly process? You know, a little architectural rearrangement of my skeletal cartilage that might help with my self-esteem. When the teleporter process disassembles you, in what ever format or process that may take, each component, each molecule, must be meticulously identified and ported, incubated, and then either transmitted to its reassembly point or perhaps just replicated at a predetermined location for reassembly and activation. Maybe once you’ve been teleported, they could save a copy or two of you in case you’re needed somewhere else. Perhaps your disassembled self could be put in a container and put on a shelf for inter-galactic travel.
The basic concept of somehow disassembling and reassembling our molecules along with their necessary life force has been around for a few years, from Thomas Reid’s letter about replication to Lord Kames in 1775, and more recently by Stanislaw Lem’s epic Fourteenth Voyage of the Star Diaries in 1957. The concept has migrated from science fiction to cautiously awaited anticipation, thanks to Captain Kirk, First Officer Spock and the famous Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott who solemnly pulled the activation lever.
According to an essay by National Science Foundation released on July 6, 2020, “While human teleportation currently exists only in science fiction, teleportation is possible now in the subatomic world of quantum mechanics – albeit not in the way typically depicted on TV. In the quantum world, teleportation involves the transportation of information, rather than the transportation of matter.”
They continue; “Quantum teleportation is a demonstration of what Albert Einstein famously called "spooky action at a distance" -- also known as quantum entanglement. In entanglement, one of the basic of concepts of quantum physics, the properties of one particle affect the properties of another, even when the particles are separated by a large distance.”1
Aaah! I’ll sleep better tonight. Unless my muse is restless once again. Wonder where I’ll be next time?