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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old August 24 2008, 05:21 AM   #1
The Borg Queen
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Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Data's technological structure probably wasn't a unique and complex molecular structure like cells & DNA, so why couldn't they have adapted a transporter to be able to replicate Data?

Or even used the same technique they used that created Thomas Riker?
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Old August 24 2008, 05:33 AM   #2
RaymondJames
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Acetylhexene wrote: View Post
Data's technological structure probably wasn't a unique and complex molecular structure like cells & DNA, so why couldn't they have adapted a transporter to be able to replicate Data?

Or even used the same technique they used that created Thomas Riker?
Thats beyond my knowledge of transporters and stuff but The whole Data death has too many questions and what if's. The whole movie wasn't good and his death was just not done any justice.

How about a Why couldn't they transfer his "brain/memory/knowledge" into a hologram, in theory a hologram and data are not too muh unalike in some ways.
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Old August 24 2008, 06:12 AM   #3
Ugly Sweater
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Acetylhexene wrote: View Post
Data's technological structure probably wasn't a unique and complex molecular structure like cells & DNA, so why couldn't they have adapted a transporter to be able to replicate Data?

Or even used the same technique they used that created Thomas Riker?
Replicators work on the mollecular level. Presumably Data, like people, has quantum level components that cannot be replicated and would be "lost" in the translation. It also seems building a stable "posotronic" brain is harder than it seems as Data did it when he built Lal and she ended up failing.
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Old August 24 2008, 06:54 AM   #4
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Do you mean there were some holes left open in the Nemesis plot?
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Old August 24 2008, 07:09 AM   #5
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

sbk1234 wrote: View Post
Do you mean there were some holes left open in the Nemesis plot?
Heresy!
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Old August 24 2008, 10:21 AM   #6
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Acetylhexene wrote: View Post
Data's technological structure probably wasn't a unique and complex molecular structure like cells & DNA, so why couldn't they have adapted a transporter to be able to replicate Data?

Or even used the same technique they used that created Thomas Riker?

Time to open the "Ol Can-o-Worms".
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Old August 24 2008, 12:51 PM   #7
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

I imagine it is similar to why Data didn't want to be disassembled by Maddocks, as the essence of his experiences would not be reproduced by replicating the technology.

How this is different to people being replicated, I don't know, but Data used the transporter many times so it shouldn't be any different.

Taking a step back... See that many technologies in Sci-fi would be far more powerful in reality than in how they are used in the programme.

Transporters for instance provide the ability to replicate people. Imagine how humanity would use that if we ever did have them. People would be able to create a 'backup' of themselves in case they died, they could restore themselves from backup. So there is no permanence to death, and people could take more risks in life, and play sports with often fatal outcomes.

In that world, death becomes trivialised, and little more than a penalty box.

Social attitudes would be radically changed.

Last edited by Jadzia; August 24 2008 at 01:28 PM.
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Old August 24 2008, 01:50 PM   #8
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Transporters for instance provide the ability to replicate people.
Actually, probably they don't.

I mean, replicators as described could most probably replicate people, if run at very high resolution. But high resolution is expensive: it calls for lots of expensive components running for a long time. Even the best replicators in starshipboard use thus probably aren't built for such high resolution, since most applications don't require it. In some laboratory, PhD Frankenstein could quite well be replicating people using very expensive special equipment, but it doesn't appear to be commonplace, at least not aboard starships. Replication of living tissue is a viable medical procedure, as in TNG "Ethics" and VOY "Emanations", but it is a very nonstandard and exotic one.

But transporters have to use high resolution to keep their users alive. Or do they? I'd argue not. For the same reason replicators aren't any better than they absolutely have to be, transporters probably "cheat" as much as possible in order to be practicable. And the associated technobabble suggests that a transporter breaks the user down to components known as "phased matter stream" and then moves that stream from A to reassembly at B. And that is very, very different from building something at B from scratch.

Think of moving your son's giant LEGO castle away from the living room before the guests come. You can't carry it in one piece - but you don't want to break it into any smaller pieces than you absolutely have to, or the effort of reassembly will become overwhelming. Every time you disconnect a piece, you will have to make a (mental?) note of where it went. If you break it into elementary pieces, you will have very light loads to carry, but you will also have a giant library of notes needed for reassembly.

A transporter probably doesn't "break" the user into any smaller "pieces" than it has to - and the pieces themselves then carry part of the "assembly information" with them, liberating the computer from having to process that information. So Data can be transported from A to B, because his "pieces" carry part of the "assembly information" with them, but the machine cannot build a new Data at B because even if somebody sent undifferentiated raw materials there, there wouldn't be enough assembly information to turn those into Data.

A duplicate Data would require PhD Frankenstein's very special replicator, plus a scanner that analyzed Data to a much, much higher resolution than transporter scanners do. It could probably be done that way - but there would be easier ways to do it.

Now, we have actually witnessed the replication of a highly complex machine without the benefit of out-of-the-ordinary hardware or effort. In DS9 "Rivals", a probability-altering device was replicated simply by letting a standard Cardassian replicator scan the original. Moreover, this standard replicator was able to make enlarged copies.

However, we could argue that the alien machine didn't actually require all that high a resolution. Many amazing machines of today are actually built of relatively simple and coarse components, but they would still dazzle an 19th century observer who didn't understand the operating principles and had never witnessed this sort of action in nature. This may have been the case with the alien spheres of "Rivals", too.

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Old August 25 2008, 07:23 PM   #9
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

^I get what you're saying, but in this case I don't think it's quite right. Transporters have to run on the quantum level resolution for organic beings to survive a transport. Quantum is the smallest you can go in this scale, so basically it is like reassembling that LEGO castle one piece at a time. It's tedious and it takes a lot of data storage, but apparently it's not a problem for those FTL computers of the 24th century. If transporters were to "cheat" as you say, then they would have to be scanning on a lower resolution, like atomic or molecular. That would allow them to break apart matter in bigger chunks, and therefore require less data storage to reassemble them, but it would probably be detrimental to an organic being.

"Second Chances" also seems to confirm that raw matter/energy can be used to recreate an object from the transporter data. It's not as if Thomas and William Riker were created from the same lump of matter that was the original person. The second containment beam must've contained an amount of raw material from the Potemkin.
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Old August 25 2008, 09:16 PM   #10
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Jadzia wrote: View Post
I imagine it is similar to why Data didn't want to be disassembled by Maddocks, as the essence of his experiences would not be reproduced by replicating the technology.

How this is different to people being replicated, I don't know, but Data used the transporter many times so it shouldn't be any different.

Taking a step back... See that many technologies in Sci-fi would be far more powerful in reality than in how they are used in the programme.

Transporters for instance provide the ability to replicate people. Imagine how humanity would use that if we ever did have them. People would be able to create a 'backup' of themselves in case they died, they could restore themselves from backup. So there is no permanence to death, and people could take more risks in life, and play sports with often fatal outcomes.

In that world, death becomes trivialised, and little more than a penalty box.

Social attitudes would be radically changed.
Sounds like the makings of a new STAR TREK series..I like it!

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Old August 25 2008, 11:01 PM   #11
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

The whole lot about Tom Riker was a farce, simply because 1/2 of one's matter and another 1/2 of one's matter does not make 2.

Also, see the disastrous "Rascals" for more transporter chicanery.
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Old August 26 2008, 12:29 AM   #12
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

The transporter's "abilities" have often been shown to be quite extensive. Essentially we've been shown the transporter is a fountain of youth.

You've got the situation in "Rascals" where components of Picard's, Guinan's, Ro's and Keiko's DNA linked to aging are removed turning them into children and it was determined that they'd just simply age normally after then. So, basically, all one has to do is run himself through a transporter, remove that component and voila you start your life over from adolescence.

Then there's "Unnatural Selection" where a gentic experiment giving engineered "children" an active immune system leads to Pulaski and others contracting a virus that caused rapid aging by mutating DNA. Pulaski was "cured" by running her through the transporter and "filtering" her with a sample of her DNA pre-infection thus making her young again. (Well, "less old." )

Now granted, there's "real-world" science problems with both of these situations as your age isn't programed into your DNA. But in Trek's "science" there's some component of DNA (or other body cell) that is linked to DNA and manipulation of the transporter can take advantage of this.

Screw the Briar Patch! Star Fleet has a fountain of youth installed by the dozens in each and every one of their ships, bases, and facilities. Just have someone keep a sample of their "DNA" from a time in their youth or just remove their "adolescence cells" and they can live their life over again!

I guess it's possible people in Trek's time (and there's much evidence to this) that people are so greatly advanced and enlightened that notions such of these are pretty much out of the question. But, still, the option is there. If they can use Pulaski's DNA as a "filter" to cure of a "disease" and restore her to normal then they should be able to cure almost any severe illness someone could contract.

There was even an episode where Picard beams himself out "energy only" and later is resurected (using his own body's energy) and the transporter's trace to restore him.

I think the Transporter has been given too much power in this manner.
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Old August 27 2008, 10:41 PM   #13
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
I think the Transporter has been given too much power in this manner.
Agreed. But it's such a fun plot device at the same time. Oh, the humanity!
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Old August 28 2008, 08:30 AM   #14
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Transporters have to run on the quantum level resolution for organic beings to survive a transport. Quantum is the smallest you can go in this scale, so basically it is like reassembling that LEGO castle one piece at a time.
What I mean here is, in all probability the transporter does not analyze the subject to quantum level, then destroy it, then build a new one out of those instructions and another batch of raw materials at the other end. It does not use quantum resolution at all.

Instead, it turns existing structures into "phased matter" streams, a process that is more akin to taking a man-sized clump of the LEGO castle and placing it on a trolley than to breaking it down and carrying it by hand. The matter is not torn down to its constituent pieces, it's only transformed to "phased matter" which carries a gigantic amount of information with it, making it unnecessary for the transporter to handle that information.

If it were possible to use the transporter to scan the subject down to the last detail and tear down and rebuild him, then the transporter could make infinite copies of the most intricate things. But this is not what we observe: at the endpoint of the journey, the phased matter stream is absolutely needed, or no reconstruction can take place. It is not just a case of sending across some abstract information for generic assembly of further Datas - it's a case of sending the original package, in a different, "phased" form.

"Second Chances" also seems to confirm that raw matter/energy can be used to recreate an object from the transporter data. It's not as if Thomas and William Riker were created from the same lump of matter that was the original person. The second containment beam must've contained an amount of raw material from the Potemkin.
But that was a highly exceptional situation. And if raw material from the Potemkin were used, or used twice as much as normally, all sorts of klaxons would have gone off and immediately revealed to the world that two Rikers now existed.

Using raw material at the assembly spot is a very unlikely method for the Trek transporter to work, because typically the assembly spot is in the middle of nowhere. It is perfectly possible to beam Data into stark vacuum, for example. Or Lore, at any rate. The materials for that simply must be tagging along, not being replenished from any specific source.

So where did the material for Thomas Riker come from? It's not as if any of the laws of conservation of energy or matter would really hold in the Trek universe; the exotic energetic phenomena in the atmosphere might quite well have created duplicate atoms out of nothingness in a freak accident, and the universe shuddered a little and perhaps uncreated a few atoms elsewhere to compensate.

Then there's "Unnatural Selection" where a gentic experiment giving engineered "children" an active immune system leads to Pulaski and others contracting a virus that caused rapid aging by mutating DNA. Pulaski was "cured" by running her through the transporter and "filtering" her with a sample of her DNA pre-infection thus making her young again. (Well, "less old." )
However, in this case, there is no evidence that Pulaski's memory wouldn't have been reset in the process. It's not a rejuvenated Pulaski, it's the Pulaski from a few days back.

That's not something one would wish upon oneself: technologically induced dementia where you lose everything past your last backing-up date when you are rebooted, and have to be brought up to date by your (no doubt rapidly dispersing) friends.

The "Rascals" case is very different in that our heroes retained their memories while in the juvenilized bodies. That's eternal life and eternal youth for ya all right. But it wasn't done by the transporter. It was done by the freak spatiotemporal anomaly of the week. Without the anomaly, the transporter probably couldn't inflict that sort of specific "genetic damage" (actually, more like selective reassembly).

And the remedy Crusher and O'Brien devise need not be much different from the one done on Pulaski - except Picard seems to retain some sort of a memory of the events, as he's concerned about his re-lost hair and comments on how everything suddenly looks smaller. Doesn't really mean Picard would retain full memory, though - he might still have essentially lost the past few days.

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Old August 28 2008, 10:49 AM   #15
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Data, being technological, shouldn't need as high-resolution as biological beings, as he doesn't have cells or DNA.

The level of resolution needed to replicate intricate computer components should be the same as for replicated food, getting the molecular structure without needing atomic-level specification.
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