Is it possible to teleport or clone someone or something?

After watching this TED talk by Max Tegmark - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzCvlFRISIM

I find myself wondering if it is then possible to clone someone, and if you had cloned someone how could you tell who the clone is?

Would this all be impossible due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle?

Edit: Let me rephrase a bit and say if we were to clone an insect or animal; would they be identical down to the atomic level?

If I were to be atomically cloned would my clone be conscious as I am?

How could I tell which is the real me?

One article said - "Biological clones are nothing like these idealized versions. The statistical distributions of particles in an organism and its clone are inevitably very different - so physicists would not accept them as true clones at all."


I also found this to be interesting -


Another interesting bit of information from BioWizard of Sciencechat Forum -

"Now looking back at elementary particles and atoms, their properties are inherent to their physics. It can be argued that the properties of atoms are due to the arrangement of protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks, etc within them, but there is no blue print you can copy out and move to another atom to force it to adopt this trait or that. It is not complex enough. As such, there is no such thing as cloning atoms." http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3165

**If someone returns to this page I thought I should also add this here: http://dare.ubvu.vu.nl/bitstream/handle/1871/10137/L59.pdf?sequence=1

As though it would seem there is a no-cloning theorem for classical cloning as well, so both are impossible. Although teleportation is possible with the destruction of the original.


Actually there is a theorem in quantum mechanics called the no cloning theorem which says that you can't clone a quantum state.

However teleportation is possible and has been done experimentally, the teleportation here is the sense that you destroy the quantum state in one place and recreate in another place.

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    $\begingroup$ As you said, teleportation of matter has not been done and can not be done. Unlike the teleportation of information about atomic state, which is a low energy measurement on a system that can be described essentially perfectly by weak perturbations (compared to its rest energy), the access of nuclear state would require interaction energies, which would lead to the destruction of the nucleus and to the generation of new particles, which were not part of the original system. I doubt, however, that teleportation aficionados are interested in that kind of "teleportation". $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Sep 2 '14 at 14:32

It is certainly possible to clone mammals. Scientists have done that. One can replicate many things well enough for them to be functionally indistinguishable for all practical purposes. Industrial mass production processes do just that. Some of the chips in your computer are fabricated with such a precision, that some of their structures (e.g. gate insulation layers) are reproduced with an uncertainty of a few atomic layers. Can these chips be re-engineered and replicated? Yes, if you had the money, you could do that.

Why is all of this possible? Because none of these things require reproduction at the level of the quantum mechanical uncertainty. Life uses some quantum mechanical effects e.g. in photosynthesis, but most of it is just ordinary chemistry ruled by thermodynamics. Similarly, solids can be structured atom by atom, because the atomic state in them is determined by their chemical environment, and not by individual excitation of each atom. There are plenty of researchers who are now capable of arranging single atoms one by one on suitable substrates.

Now, let's look at systems that could not be reproduced: a true quantum computer in the middle of a computation would basically lose its information, if we tried to read it out and replicate it. What we could reproduce, is the quantum computer itself, but we could not clone its internal state.

So the answer to your question is: it depends. Some systems are reproducible "well enough" and some are fundamentally not reproducible without destruction of the original.

Now to your question about distinguishability: if we are reproducing macroscopic items, we can always tell them apart. The same is true for single atoms that are far enough away. Only if we can bring two atoms close enough together, do they become indistinguishable. This can, obviously, not happen for macroscopic objects, which can never even come close enough to lose track of which is which.

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  • $\begingroup$ macroscopic objects, which can never even come close enough to lose track of which is which. I know some identical twins who would like to disagree with you ;) $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Sep 2 '14 at 2:52
  • $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos: You are right, it would be deeply unethical to subject twins to the kind of measurement that would make them distinguishable at all times. :-) $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Sep 2 '14 at 2:55
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    $\begingroup$ If they sign the waivers, I'm pretty sure you're free from lawsuits... $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Sep 2 '14 at 2:57
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think there is a civilized country out there, where the law allows people to sign away all of their rights. Having said that, I am not into human experiments. I like to stick to atoms and elementary particles. And twins are not worth the trouble, anyway... $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Sep 2 '14 at 2:59

Two types of cloning going on here. Biological cloning is possible now. Take a cell, make it behave like a freshly fertilized egg and grow a copy. Your clone will look the same but be somewhat younger. Random features (like some animal hair patterns) are not clonable. As biological clones grow from a single cell it will not be atomically identical if the clone eats anything different, breathes anything different, moves any muscle differently at any point in it's life or is hit by one more (or less) subatomic particle than you were. In other words, not going to happen.

Atomic cloning is Star Trek technology but possible in theory. Einstein says matter and energy are equivalent, so as soon as we work out how to assemble 100kg rest-mass of energy into an arbitrary form we're good. Your clone would immediately collapse lifeless until you also get the charge, spin, position and probably a bunch of other things correct for most of the atoms.

BTW, it's a 2.1 gigaton explosion if your replicator doesn't work.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's my question, ultimately is it even possible to set all the atoms to these specifics states in reference to charge, spin, position, and arrangement? $\endgroup$ – Hybr1d Sep 2 '14 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ Also if you could do this would you "wake up" as the clone and remain yourself at the same time? arxiv.org/pdf/1306.0159v2.pdf $\endgroup$ – Hybr1d Sep 2 '14 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ With present technology, no. Heisenberg says we can't get all those data points at once. Star Trek invented the Heisenberg Compensator to keep the educated fans happy. "How does it work?" -> "Very well." $\endgroup$ – paul Sep 3 '14 at 9:11

Best answer I could find -

Anyone care to chime in on this?

I can say with 100% certainty, it would not be the same person. The amount of information contained in a human body is astronomical. This creates a higher mathematical probability (nearing infinity) that some of that information would be lost. Even if applying a future chaos theory to extract missing coherent data from a fading signal would not work due to the biological body always being in constant flux. The Neurotransmitters which send chemical messages between neurons are never at rest, thus recreating that snapshot of a moment of the brain precisely in time would be impossible. Even computer programs never make exact copies of programs over time due to these quantum chaotic fluctuations. http://www.sciencegymnasium.com/2013/11/the-metaphysics-of-teleportation.html

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  • $\begingroup$ You are right, of course, but it doesn't take such a complex argument to see that. A person is a macroscopic object, and the law that two macroscopic objects, even a person and their clone, can not take in the same amount of space, still holds. So, in essence, the person and their clone are not the same, simply because they can't even be at the same place, at the same time. Having said that, almost every article I have ever seen about the problem is fundamentally wrong, and the link does not even come close to the level of being wrong. $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Sep 3 '14 at 15:22

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