RE: Interested in thoughts on this excerpt from Martin Rees

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2006 23:34:31 +1000

CW writes:

> It's like teleportation. Maybe you can demonstrate with 1 or 2 particles in
> QM.
> But it's another very different thing when we are talking about human beings
> (or simple animals).
> Maybe other very knowledgeable prof. (like "scerir"???) in this list can
> provide useful ref.

There is a distinction between quantum teleportation and classical teleportation.
Quantum teleportation involves transmitting the exact quantum state of an entity
and has actually been demonstrated experimentally with handfuls of particles in
the past decade. Here is reasonably simple summary:

The cited article states that for reasons of *engineering* difficulty we won't be
teleporting people around in the near future, but there is no theoretical reason
why it couldn't eventually be done. A person who quantum teleports from A to
B would arrive at B in an *identical* physical state, which is actually more than
can be said if he had walked, since our quantum state changes every moment.
So, if we remain the same person when walking, we should remain the same
person when quantum teleporting. It is theoretically possible that there is some
non-physical factor necessary for consciousness which does not survive perfect
physical duplication but there is no reason whatsoever to believe this. It would be
like saying that there is some non-physical factor in my computer, and a perfect
physical copy of it would not be functionally equivalent because it would lack this

Classical teleportation cannot copy something exact to the quantum level, but
rather involves making a "close enough" copy. It is obvious, I think, that this is
theoretically possible, but it is not immediately obvious how good the copy of a
person would have to be (what Bruno calls the "substitution level") in order to
feel himself to be the "same" person. But as mentioned above, I don't think we
need to insist on perfect duplication to the quantum level, because this doesn't
even happen from moment to moment in everyday life.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Sat Aug 05 2006 - 09:36:33 PDT

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