Most of the problems with teleportation
are to do with identity
. If you rip apart
a person, atom
by atom, and hurl
them across the infinite reaches of space
, and then piece
them together again atom
by atom, does that mean that if you are able to produce another
person atom by atom who has exactly the same structure
that they are the same person
Or more simply, is structure identity?
Also if you duplicate a fully functioning human being, then surely that new person is a person in their own right? Their life, like the life of any other twin differs as soon as they begin to experience it in their own individual way. So two originally identical people can become very different over time.
I think identity is more or less a human concept that we apply to things we experience, including ourselves, not something that inherently exists in anything, except perhaps religion, and our relationship with God.
With that in mind, the only moral and operational problem, is what happens to the person when you tear him apart atom from atom. Are you killing him, and then creating a living duplicate elsewhere, or are you just moving him? If you are moving him, then surely you should move everything at the same time, in the same pattern... after all if you disturb the pattern of someone's body, it is usually seen as an attack, perhaps disturbing it enough, it can lead to death.
In this sense the transporter may not work for the good of mankind, but just end up being a tool to vapourise selectively anyone within range. This obviously is a rather evil application of something that is supposed to be benign, but then again look at nuclear power, and nuclear weapons. If we had known about the destructive force of nuclear fission, would be have gone ahead and revealed it's discovery to the politicians? As unperson pointed out to me recently, Einstein himself suggested to FDR that they build a nuclear bomb. Perhaps our situation is different (he may have foreseen it's role in ending the war.) Will the same dilemma reach into the minds and hearts of the first successful transporter engineers? Who knows. I am concerned as to the ultimate-weapon mode of ending wars. Farscape and wormhole weapons aside, (fictional) people are very devious about finding new ways of tearing each other to pieces...
Consequently transporter technology won't be the pervue of engineering and scientist souls amidst us but rather the accountants...