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back to article Beam me up? Not in the life of this universe

If you ever doubted that the world needs vastly, incredibly, unbelievably more bandwidth, how about this: if you wanted to scan every detail of a human and teleport them via, say, a radio signal, it'll take a very, very, VERY long time. How long? Try a "universe-is-not-old-enough-by-a-long-shot" kind of long time. That's …

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Compression

The calculation rather disregards the immense potential of compression. After all, the basic blueprint of a human being is written in the DNA which is rather less than one Gigabyte, Of course, this doesn't encode for all the experiences and environmental and random factors that lead to a particular human being at a particular point in time. However, it would seem that a vast amount of compression could be achieved by encoding, for instance, cell types and recording the approximately 10 trillion locations would achieve huge compression. Recording the state and configuration of the brain would require, for instance, about 10,000 trillion items on information, but still vastly less than the three-dimensional high res photocopy approach.

Of course, this lossy compression "JPEGing" of a human means the result wouldn't be exactly the same as the original. However, it also shows that this isn't really teleporting a human being. It's faxing one to make a copy. Real teleportation would actually require some form of manipulation of space-time to "move" the original,

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Re: Compression

Loss-less compression would do well on the data set, as almost all the molecules are identical copies of a small number of individual types but in different positions.

This work gives you some idea of the compression ratio you'd actually need to do it in a "reasonable" time. 1:10^15 would do the transfer in 4.85 years.

Or:

1 : 1,000,000,000,000,000

That's a rather high compression ratio. You can go first.

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Re: Compression

You'd probably come out a bit pixelated at the other end. I don't want a face like a JPEG compression artifact!

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Boffin

Re: Compression

So would that be..

One in a Quadrillion (shortform)

or...

One in a Billiard (Longform) ??

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Compression

" I don't want a face like a JPEG compression artifact!"

Although perhaps everyone else would prefer it if your face was pixelated?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Compression

Yup, lossy is all that's necessary. I wouldn't much care if the vibrational state of each serum H2O water molecule was faithfully replicated. A 'round about the right number at more or less the right average temp approximation would perfectly adequate. If every cell's DNA ended up being sequenced from a template then excellent, that'll be the end of cancer then. In fact, dump a precise rendition of my brain and reasonable approximation of my face onto a generic Connery bio-transport unit and I'd be perfectly satisfied. As would Mrs AC I imagine.

Why radio at all though? How very 20th century. Can't see radio being a very useful medium. Wouldn't one have to beam down some sort of receiver station? I'd have thought some antiquated 21st century field-induced collimated subspace quantum process would be more appropriate. Call me old fashioned.

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Re: Compression

How about not copying everything? How about just copying your brain into a younger, better looking model?

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Re: Compression

Or some sort of surface drone, with a fully immersive matrix style mind control you would need to 'beam down' at all.

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FAIL

Re: Compression

4.85 years.... great improvement... and that is just to the moon

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Boffin

Re: Compression

"I don't want a face like a JPEG compression artifact!"

Good for Minecraft though.

Anyway, if we're making up hard SF, you don't teleport by scanning and sending - you do it by persuading all the information in one location to tunnel to another location, using a causal dynamical backchannel.

Otherwise it's just faxing with body parts, which is possibly not a good plan.

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Re: Compression / healing

One possible side benefit of some of these compression methods is that you'd have only healthy cells in the final assembled product (assuming a healthy cell was picked as the template for each type).

As mentioned teleportation of this sort is rather like a filesystem move operation - create a copy first then (presumably) destroy the original

*** possible spoiler ***

though one would hope this would be done more subtly and pleasantly than in The Prestige.

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FAIL

Re: Compression

Agreed. On my home planet, we figured out long ago that the uniqueness of the atoms is immaterial. In other words, you only need to transport the location of each carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, etc, as every atom of a specific type & isotope is interchangable. In addition, no interstellar species would use puny microwave frequencies for teleportation, you use the highest frequency that will do the job, which usually means optical through gamma data links. So between the lack of uniqueness (and the resulting data compression) and the faster data links than you near-hunter gatherers can envision, its doable.

Dealing with you hunter gatherers is a pain.

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Re: Compression / healing

Oh, The Prestige, a warehouse full of....

Reminds me of a European short film I saw as a child, where a similar solution was used to solve the problem of a man trapped in a phone booth... gave me nightmares.

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Stop

Re: Compression / healing

I don't want to be compressed and come out with blotchy colours, jagged edges and pixelated!

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Re: Compression

You might not but some poor oggly moogs may well want to!

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Headmaster

Re: Compression

"4.85 years.... great improvement... and that is just to the moon"

That's 4.85 years for the compression and transmission sequence, plus a few seconds delay in receiving because it's on the moon.

It wouldn't take that much longer to send them to Jupiter for example.

Since I've used the pedant symbol, I expect I'm wrong in a suitably spectacular fashion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Compression

"The calculation rather disregards the immense potential of compression..."

No. That is not the point.

As I pointed out in my reply (on page 2), the calculation rather disregards the immense potential of the TECHNOLOGY IN QUESTION. In other words - these fools missed being correct entirely.

The Reg article states:

"since the Star Trek-style teleport is between an orbiter and people on the surface of a planet, the students picked a 0.5 GHz channel in the 30 GHz band for their thought experiment... (emphasis mine)"

but, as anyone is acquainted with Star Trek technology knows, the transporters don't operate at a low 30 gHz range.

As the movie Star Trek:Generations proved, the shields themselves (which interfere with the transporters during operation) operate at a modulation frequency of 257.4 gHz - NOT the paltry 30gHz that the 'researchers' used in their thought experiments.

And that is just the "modulation frequency".

The theoretical "Federation" technology - again,, as anyone acquainted with the television series knows - operates in the terahertz range. The ACB - Annular Confinement Beam - which is part of the transporter system, allows full bandwidth within the confines of said beam upon transport lock. Read up on it at

en.memory-alpha. org/wiki/Annular_confinement_beam

Therefore, the researcher's mental exercise was not only complete and utter WASTE OF THEIR TIME, they also wasted OUR time by publishing their 'results' without proper due diligence of the source materials. The 'researchers' - and, apparently, I must use that term loosely - did not use the proper data rate transmission scale during their computations. They were WAY, WAY off. They base their claim of 'impossible Star Trek science' based upon a complete misunderstanding, and miscalculation, of the science in question and then write up a paper as 'definitive'.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Compression

Only lossless data compression for me thanks. I am ugly enough without having my face turned into a Picasso style jumble of colored cubes.

Star Trek frequently refers to "pattern buffers" and apparently the scanning in is destructive. You disappear when scanned, and are recreated from the pattern buffer at the other end. No space time worm holes involved.

I know nearly nothing of neuroscience but as I understand it there are molecular/chemical states at synaptic junctions between brain cells that have a lot to do with memories and programming. Beyond that, again, I am not a physicist but I imagine eventually we'll learn that there are even quantum states involved in our brain.

Transportation a la Star Trek is never going to happen. Getting every bit of me down to the spin of the last electron scanned and then rebuilt seems impossible. Uncertainty Principle and all that. Don't even need to calculate the data requirements.

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Linux

Re: Compression / healing

"As mentioned teleportation of this sort is rather like a filesystem move operation - create a copy first then (presumably) destroy the original"

How quaint! A proper OS just moves the file pointer so the file "moves" to it's new location. No copying involved. Now that's teleportation!

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Re: Uncertainty Principle and all that

Which is why the Star Trek transporter includes this little gadget called a "Heisenberg Compensator", of which, when asked how it worked, the Trek producers replied, "It works very well, thank you."

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Re: Compression

"Uncertainty Principle and all that."

That's why in the STNG episode where they rescued Scotty from the pattern buffers he mentioned the use of Heisenberg Compensators :-)

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Re: Compression / healing

"Reminds me of a European short film I saw as a child, where a similar solution was used to solve the problem of a man trapped in a phone booth... gave me nightmares."

It's called La Cabina and was released in 1972 and still makes me nervous too - I always used to keep the door propped open with my foot after that, even though the bottom of the phone booth was open!

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Re: Compression / healing

The Prestige - yes, that film turned into something very interesting. As an alternative, try reading Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys - the original is destroyed by the scanning process, but then immediately re-constituted and held in sensory deprivation to share the experiences of the remote copy - until something nasty happens to the copy, anyway... and it does...

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Re: Compression / healing

I think we can consider a different planet to be analogous to a different partition (possibly on a different device).

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Coat

Re: Compression / healing

PNG would solve that...

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FAIL

Re: Compression / healing

Dude, that only works on the same physical drive.

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Childcatcher

Re: Compression

And that is considering conventional compression. If the compression was to a power series the message could be quite short, certainly no longer than this comment, and it could also be transmitted by quantum entangled photons. So the message transmission is not the issue, it is the coding and decoding that would take the time, but it would never be as long as the student calculate.

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Re: Compression / healing

"Reminds me of a European short film I saw as a child, where a similar solution was used to solve the problem of a man trapped in a phone booth"

This one?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04cbvdiPyMQ

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Happy

Re: Compression

Compression will be fine just so long as you don't get Xerox to help.

"Well if it isn't my old friend Mr. McGregg—with a leg for an arm and an arm for a leg"

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You don't need that many bits - for a lot of the people I know all you'd need to send is a couple of medium-resolution photos and enough 'for rudimentary brain functions - just enough to say "What?" and "Where's the tea?".

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Anonymous Coward

Heh heh

Yeah, I know people like that.

On the other hand, uploading might happen before teleportation.

The information stored in a human brain is holographic so even sending an overall description to a compatible (sent via conventional means) recipient brain in electronic form would probably work.

Also relevant, if time isn't a factor then cloning is feasible ie on Mars, plus the clone could have DNA sequences built in that would never be allowed here on Earth such as radiation protection genes, adaptation to low gravity and other useful items.

I did some research on mind uploading and the use of tuned MRI scanners that home in on the spin states in neurotransmitters such as glutamate is a promising first step as this could image the synapses in a way impossible to do with any other method as well as showing connection directions.

The tricky part is maintaining spatial orientation as the connections jump around with pulse so using an SpO2 meter to take the snapshots on each T wave would be a good start.

This method is already used on neuroscans to great effect, for the purposes of ensuring no image blurring.

AC/DC

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Heh heh

"I did some research on mind uploading and the use of tuned MRI scanners"

That's an upload of my brain fsck'ed then. Got metal in my arm, so no MRIs for me:-(

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Re: Heh heh

TBH, if you're looking to "upload" yourself to a running autonomous copy, you can probably live without your arm ... hell If you're squeamish you can just make a copy of yourself locally with a new "fixed" arm.

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Anonymous Coward

Zip me up Scotty!

How about dedupe?

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Coat

Re: Heh heh

So you're proposing that we use genetic engineering to populate Mars with minds immeasurably superior to ours?

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Re: Heh heh

"So you're proposing that we use genetic engineering to populate Mars with minds immeasurably superior to ours?"

Yeah, and we all know how that ends, they invent time travel and invade Victorian England. Go for it, it's got to be better than the shit we have now.

And unless you are sent immediately after the scan, you'll arrive and won't know why you're there!

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Re: Heh heh

That's an upload of my brain fsck'ed then. Got metal in my arm, so no MRIs for me:-(

If we want to make a copy of you, we can chop that arm off first, then make the copy using a mirror image of the other arm :-)

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Heisenburg

I'd have thought that a successful teleport would require the position, energy, and velocity of every subatomic particle. Something the uncertainty principle says we can never know.

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Re: Heisenburg

You can't know, but entanglement implies you can copy without actually knowing.

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Re: Heisenburg

That's why you need a Heisenburg compensator.

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Happy

Re: Heisenburg

And a buffer that takes a long time to degrade. Just in case.

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Anonymous Coward

* Heisenberg

FTFY

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Re: Heisenburg

When a technical advisor type boffin on the Star Trek team was asked, "How does the Heisenberg Compensator work?" Reputedly his reply was, "Very well, thank you."

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Re: Heisenburg

Yep, a typical 'Jeremy Kyle' guest could be saved on a floppy disk!

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Re: Heisenburg

SD, DD or HD?

Preferably to be left in desk draw... without any loss to the world as we know it!

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just a thought

the teleporter is not tranmiting information, if it did it would need equipment on the other end. it is a projection of matter? so in theroy this is not about information but matter projection, witht hte data processing being handeled localy with no need to transmit.

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Re: just a thought

Yes, it's a matter transmitter not an information transmitter. In effect it's opening a sort of portal/wormhole/sciencey-fictiony-thingy between two points and moving the matter through.

If it were scanning the original, transmitting the data and rebuilding at the other end, what happens to the original?

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Re: just a thought

I don't think that's what Star Trek refers to. I think the technical manual refers to taking people apart atom by atom and I'm sure the neurotic character Reginald Barclay (and perhaps some other character) refer to not wanting to be taken apart.

I agree though the alternative is some sort of wormhole/manipulation of space-time which doesn't rely on the data side of things.

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Happy

Re: just a thought

Yes. It comes up several times throughout all the various franchises that the teleporters in the Star Trek universe break people down atom by atom, store them in a pattern buffer and rebuild them, less any foreign illness at the destination point. In the horribly themed 'Enterprise' series the could only do inanimate objects for a while, the only experiments on living creatures up till that point had resulted in a few lost people (including the son of the guy who invented teleportation) and a dog.

As an aside, it is also touched on that the teleportation tech is a big part of why nobody ever gets 'normal' diseases or infections. Unfriendly bits are not released from the pattern buffer and are destroyed after rebuilding the Human.

I watched way, way too much Star Trek but I haven't read any manuals :)

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