Real-life replicator

What if the Star Trek replicator and transporter existed in real life? I don’t mean in the 23rd Century, but right now.

It seems to me that these technologies would be used very differently from the way they are used on the show. For one thing, many people would undoubtedly create infinite wealth for themselves.

This would immediately erase a large part of our current economic model, and replace it with something extremely different. The good news is that hunger would wiped out in one fell swoop.

Far more intriguing and troubling is the likelihood that many people would also opt to make clones of themselves. The very possibility of such a thing raises all sorts of deep and troubling ethical issues.

For example, if there are 10 of me, what rights to each of us have? Which of us, if any, is actually “me” — in any legal, moral or ethical sense?

It is interesting that these thorny ethical and existential questions do not dominate the Star Trek universe, even though these things are all quite attainable in that universe. Maybe the people on Star Trek are just better than we are.

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