But we can't predict the future. Maybe future technologies will find a way to harness an infinite amount of energy from, we don't know, ghosts or something. Shit, maybe Einstein was wrong. Even if we find some way to cross these hurdles, there's one more problem to consider ...
What Comes Out Isn't You
We'll have to get a little philosophical here, but a movie analogy might help. In The Prestige, where Batman and Wolverine fought over a teleportation device invented by David Bowie, Wolverine wound up using it to perform magic tricks. But really, he was committing suicide every time and just creating a clone of himself, because magic is that important. Our transporter is going to do the same.
If someone has to die for our entertainment, we want it to be a magician.
Think of the fax machine analogy we used earlier. Our teleportation device is a fax machine that spits out a three-dimensional "document." But it is still a copy (or a facsimile -- that's what "fax" is short for, after all) of the original.
The original got destroyed.
So the question becomes, is what steps out the other end you, or just an exact copy of a now-dead you? How do you transport human consciousness from one point to another, and how do you know you're not just stepping into a murder machine so that some other jerk with your DNA and memories can take over your life? It's a difficult question to answer, because science doesn't really know what consciousness is yet.
"Alright, we've conclusively determined it isn't a Jell-O."
Some scientists think it will be possible someday to transfer your mind from one place to another, but even they admit that "consciousness" is a nebulous and ill-defined experience. If you're the religious type or just otherwise believe in the soul, at what stage is the soul getting transported? Is your ghost screaming through space along the beam of your disintegrated body? If you don't believe in the soul, then how are we keeping intact the chain of consciousness that links the person you are when you go to bed tonight with the person you will be when you wake up tomorrow? As common knowledge will tell you, when the brain stops, consciousness ends. So unless you find a way to keep that part of you on life support while you step into a machine that melts your brain into a ribbon of energy, then you're dead the moment you hit the switch.
If you say that it doesn't really matter, that this is all philosophical navel-gazing that can never have an answer ("Where IS human consciousness, anyway, man?" *bong noises*), then ask yourself what happens if they simply provide the machine with enough raw material to spit two of you out the other end (you know, like in that Star Trek: TNG episode with two Rikers). Or, what if the reassembly end of the transporter grabs the wrong instructions out of the database, like it accidentally grabs the blueprints of some other dude with a similar name, and accidentally puts you together as him (complete with his personality, his memories, etc.)? Or, what if a few brain cells get misplaced and suddenly you came out the other end an intolerable asshole?
To be honest, none of those other possibilities are as terrifying as the thought of two Rikers.
All we're saying is that the very first person who ever steps into one of these machines had better have some serious balls.
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