The ethics of teleportation

Saturday, 8 February 2014
It is late at night, after a long day, and you still have to go home. Wouldn’t be handy to teleport yourself to your, say, bed? I think that everybody has had that thought at least once. 

In sci-fi films it is very easy, and nobody thinks about what happens to their former self after teleportation. You are in one place at some time, and the next instant you are ‘magically’ in another place. Simple. 

Well, not that simple. You have to be destroyed first to be ‘reborn’ in another place. Some people would say that if you teleport your atoms, you would be the same. That´s what happens in everyday life, isn´t it? You drag your atoms to another location in space, and you never wonder where you were before. The time has passed, and you are a different person. But that´s another philosophical debate. I would agree to be teleported in that case. But if you are only atoms, it means that you are only information. 

 If we are only information, it would be easier to just send the information of all our atoms to the destination point and use the available atoms there to reconstruct your person. But for that you have to destroy yourself in the origin. What would happen if you are not destroyed? You could call yourself in both cases, but from that point on you would be different people. That would be clone yourself in the sense we know nowadays. It would be to exactly clone yourself, with or your past experiences and you could both claim to be the same person. 

On one hand, is it ethic to clone yourself and the claim you are the same person? On the other hand, would it be ethic to kill yourself in the origin to claim your unique identity? 

In the movies I don´t see people wondering what is happening to their old self. Would you agree to be teleported knowing you are going to be killed before it? I actually would be afraid. Would it hurt? 

What would you do?

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