In the future somebody will inevitably invent a teleport, no doubt about that.

But how will it work?

Digital teleportation

The most likely way to teleport would be to digitalise yourself. Some yet undiscovered very high resolution MRI/CT scanner will scan every atom in your body and send this over to the receiver. This atom printer will build up your entire body again.

However, during a work lunch discussion, I came up with some scary fundamental problems with teleportation.


What would happen if, during transmission, we get a failure? We don’t want to end up with a failed teleport… which would mean the person getting teleported is dead.

That is why we need to have some kind of two-phase commit. First we digitalise the person, we send this over the line, build the person up on the other side. Once this process has been completed, we ‘delete’ the original copy. Because we don’t want to end up with thousands of clones.

Wait… what? Delete?

What would it feel like stepping into the teleporter? First a copy of you is made, this copy eventually walks out of the receiving end. But what happens to you? You’ll step into a machine, which makes a copy, and disposes you! You’ll be exterminated, killed, pushing up the daisies, your metabolic processes will be history, kicking the bucket, you’ll be an ex-parrot.


Lets not dwell too long on the loss of the old you. Of course YOU are also the one walking out of the teleporter, where nothing has happened but a successful teleport.

But is that really… you?
What defines you?
Are you just a selection of atoms clumped together?

If we make an exact copy, is that still you?

Did you know that (according to some research) every year almost 98% of the atoms currently in your body will be replaced? That would mean that a year from now, you will just be 2%… you!

Conclusion: I hope they won’t invent a teleporter while I’m alive.

Tagged with:
  • John

    In the future you might not have a choice. Other modes of transport will become obsolete. Roads will be neglected and overgrown. You’ll have to teleport to work, the shops and to visit friends. If you’re arrested or questioned by the police you’ll be teleported to the station against your wishes. There won’t be an alternative…

  • WilliamEdwards

    The first person to create the cloning part of your teleport will immediately clone themselves again and again.

    The clones will work together. Their self interest and their common interest will perfectly align. They will be prepared to sacrifice themselves for each other, so that they may live.

    The perfect army.

    Zombie movie plots are so 2013 :)

    • Duncan

      I suspect they’ll immediately start working against each other – there is no bigger threat in the world to me than a copy of me – he thinks like me, has the same desires as me (perfect competition), knows all my dodgy secrets…

      • Roy van Rijn

        My thought exacly… it won’t be perfect harmony. I’ll get jealous and envy stuff that happens to my clones,, if the clone gets a better gun, sharper knife, prettier mate, tastier chicken wing…. And for sure I won’t give my life for the greater good even if this will help my clone army… and I know my clones won’t give their lives either!

        • WilliamEdwards

          “The first person to create the cloning part” would be smart ;p

      • JerryG

        First, there will be no clones, just ‘the you’ moved from point A to point B instantaneously. No information decoding, transmission and encoding, no need for any of that, all our information is starring at us in front of our face. All information, both physical and non-physical! The teleporter will just change the object’s destination. Watch the videos on the project’s website:

  • Linear

    What if it is impossible to scan your body completely without dismantling your body? Hm. Still seems like killing someone to me.

    Well then, let’s hope teleportation works by bending spacetime and wormholes rather than cloning!

  • William Oliver

    There’s a fantastic science fiction short story by Orson Scott Card about this. It’s called “Fat farm,” in which people who abuse their bodies go and get themselves cloned into a new healthy body, leaving the old one behind. A pdf version can be found at

  • Nathan Armstrong

    You should watch The Prestige. It deals with this exact issue beautifully.

    And hey, the old body could always contribute to the Soylent Fund!