Is It REALLY Me?

Your rating: None
3
Average: 3 (6 votes)

The attractive female hologram spoke to Josiah in a vaguely familiar voice: "Once the voyage starts, there can be no turning back. You can do a return trip in a few minutes if you like, but you will be completely, irreversibly committed to arriving at your destination."

Josiah’s destination was Ross 28b, a colonized planet 11 light years away. The orientation hologram for the trip made his palms sweaty. Not that there’s anything to worry about with teleportation through quantum entanglement. There hadn’t been a mishap since the old days of binary computing. Heck, half his friends from college were already living on Ross 28b, and they were loving it!

**It’s important to understand that your entire physical presence will be dismantled at the atomic level, particle by particle, and your blueprint will be communicated instantly to the teleport on Ross 28b through entangled particles. You will be reassembled at the teleport in a matter of seconds. After a brief scan, you’ll be cleared by customs. What questions do you have?**

“So, I’ll be dismantled, at the atomic level here? And reassembled out there?” he asked.

**That is correct. The process is painless, though you’ll have a bit of vertigo.**

“Will it be me on Ross 28b, or a copy of me?”

**You will be completely reassembled.**

“Ok, but it wont be ME. I will be destroyed, and replaced by other particles 11 light years from here. That means there will be an exact replica of me, Josiah, but I no longer exist. I’m actually getting quite nervous about this whole idea.”

**Let me put your mind at ease, Josiah. EVERYTHING about you will be replicated. Your synaptic connections in your brain will be perfectly copied, right down to every memory. When you arrive at your destination, you will even have a memory of this conversation. Every cell, including old, new, and damaged cells will be flawlessly copied. You will be exactly as you are right now. Are you ready to get started?**

“Almost, but I still have some worries here. If we use modern technology to dismantle an antiquity, say the Declaration of Independence, and perfectly reassemble it with other particles, the result will not be THE document signed by the founding fathers. So, it wouldn’t be me traveling to Ross 28b, it would be data ABOUT me, right?” Josiah was half worried, half entertained by this debate with a machine.

The hologram rubbed her chin, looked thoughtfully at Josiah, and replied: Josiah, what are you?

Josiah asked, “what AM I?”

**Yes. Are you a collection of particles? Are you defined by quarks, electrons, and forces, or are YOU defined by your experiences, memories, and acquired knowledge? Does it matter if the structure supporting those characteristics is made up of quarks here or trillions of miles from her? Are you material, or is the material just a container? Will YOU arrive at Ross 28b? There are only two possibilities: yes or no.**

Josiah sat still for a long time. The hologram positioned herself near him, a kind smile on her face. Josiah thought about all his friends living it up on Ross 28b. They had been talking with him regularly through channels that operated on quantum entanglement, the same process that allows people to jump around the colonized universe.

He took a deep breath and said, “Let’s do it.” His heart was pounding as he stepped into the pod. He closed his eyes and felt a little dizzy. Opening his eyes after a few seconds, the attractive hologram was standing in front of him, smiling.

**Welcome to Ross 28b, Josiah.**

“Thanks,” he said, “but, is this really…ME?”

About the Author: 
Executive, hobby farmer, rock climber, and armchair consumer of all things quantum.