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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

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

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Old August 28 2008, 02:47 PM   #16
Timo
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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.
Why should we assume that?

For all we know, a positronic brain is far more intricate in structure than cells or DNA, and needs a more capable replicator set at a higher resolution.

In any case, positronic brains remain a rare technology in ST:NEM. It's not that the Federation can't build them, though: Dr. Bashir had positronics available when he tried to fix Vedek Bareil's brain. It's either that nobody has the skill or patience to do them as well as Dr. Soong did - or that nobody bothers because there aren't any worthwhile applications. Why build more Datas?

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Old August 28 2008, 10:46 PM   #17
Renvar
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Timo wrote:
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.
How then does the biofilter screen out contaminants? If the matter is not pulled apart in the matter stream, how can the filter screen out and remove the foreign molecules?

Timo wrote:
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.
I'm not saying that every transported person/object is made from new material from the ship. They are most likely made from the same material that comprised the original person. In the Potemkin incident, the transporter chief duplicated the original confinement beam to have a redundant pattern to reconstruct once the matter stream had arrived on the ship. The only way he could have created a second beam was to add matter (or energy to turn into matter) from somewhere to supply the needs of the second pattern. Once both beams were received, the chief would then reintegrate the two beams, using the second beam to correct for any errors or missing matter of the first beam. The excess matter/energy could then be recycled similar to how a replicator recycles dirty dishes and leftovers.

Timo wrote:
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.
That's a very nice house of cards you've built there. And when did the laws of conservation of energy/matter stop applying for Trek? I never received that memo. In a world where matter and energy can be substituted for each other, I can still see how those basic principles would remain viable. I could accept that, in a freak accident, the second transporter beam "captured" some matter and energy from the distortions in the atmosphere when it bounced back toward the planet. From what I know that is not my belief, but it's certainly more plausible than creating atoms out of nothingness.

Timo wrote:
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.
Except that when they did cure her, she did seem to remember everything. Her cells were reverted to a younger age, but her mind was unaltered. There were many things wrong with that episode though, so I'm just going to mosey on along past it.
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Old August 29 2008, 08:25 AM   #18
Timo
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

How then does the biofilter screen out contaminants? If the matter is not pulled apart in the matter stream, how can the filter screen out and remove the foreign molecules?
That shouldn't be a bottleneck. Let's say the matter is not destroyed and then recreated, E=mcc style - it's merely converted, and thus retains structural information about itself. But in both the converted and unconverted state, the sensors can sense objects as coarse as bacteria and virii, and try and eliminate them the best they can. That's an exercise orders of magnitude easier than trying to memorize the positions of all the atoms, let alone smaller particles or other states of existence, of the transportee body. It doesn't require "quantum level scanning" or "total conversion from matter to energy" - something as coarse as bulk insertion of antibodies, or precision radiation treatment, would do.

The only way he could have created a second beam was to add matter (or energy to turn into matter) from somewhere to supply the needs of the second pattern.
Perhaps so. But the episode gives no suggestion that this additional matter or energy could have turned into a person without at least the temporary presence of the original "pattern", whatever that is.

In "Lonely Among Us", Picard's "physical pattern" is said to remain in the transporter when he performs a nonregulation "energy only" beamout. By latter terminology, that would be the phased matter stream in there.

So quite possibly, a beamout is a hybrid of a material part that carries most of the information, too (the phased matter stream) and an abstract "memo" that carries the rest of the information. The latter is compact enough to be stored in computers (like in "Lonely Among Us" or, say, "Our Man Bashir") but isn't enough to reassemble the person out of raw materials; either the former has to be used as material in order to complete the process, or then the former has to be used as an additional source of information in order to arrange the raw materials into the person.

That sort of an arrangement would be restrictive enough to prevent the use of the transporter as an infinite-resolution or even high resolution xerox machine, while allowing for infinite-resolution movement of items. A house of cards, perhaps, but one that takes the shape required by the episodes.

In any case, we cannot rely on "writer intent" here, because the writers never thought about such things, not to any meaningful detail anyway. What we need is a descriptive theory that fits the currently known facts and fills the holes with suitable putty. It's not very scientific, because it cannot be tested in any manner - but if it works within its region of applicability (that is, all known episodes and movies), then it's good enough.

Except that when they did cure her, she did seem to remember everything.
Not really. When she stepped out of the transporter, all she did was stare, and get hugged by Picard. She didn't get a word out of her mouth.

We then cut to a completely different scene, where apparently Picard has brought her up to speed, and the two are discussing the operation. There is no discussion of the events of the past days or hours as such.

For all we know, Pulaski lost everything that happened between now and the last time she brushed her hair.

In sharp contrast, in "Rascals", Picard immediately reacts after the transporter releases him: he tries to stroke his now-missing hair, and cracks a joke (?) about everything looking smaller now.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old August 29 2008, 08:27 AM   #19
Hermiod
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

I imagine that if they had scanned Data before Soong ever turned him on it might work. A blank slate positronic brain might be possible to replicate.

What they would struggle to do, and what they wouldn't do for ethical reasons, is effectively clone Data the person instead of Data the blank Soong-type android.
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Old August 29 2008, 08:37 PM   #20
Renvar
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Timo wrote: View Post
That shouldn't be a bottleneck. Let's say the matter is not destroyed and then recreated, E=mcc style - it's merely converted, and thus retains structural information about itself.
I suppose now we're getting down to our definitions of destroyed and recreated. You say that matter isn't destroyed in transport; that it's converted. Converted into what? Energy? A simpler form of matter? And to make this conversion, wouldn't you have to deconstruct the material in order to change it's fundamental properties?

Now, if you're saying that the matter is not deconstructed, that it's merely phased into subspace, then I could see how it could retain information about itself. Indeed, subspace has been referenced as the method of directing the matter stream. Subspace has also been made akin to alternate universes, which would hold true for how people could step through the looking glass to the mirror universe. All sounds well and good, except...Thomas Riker and Tuvix come and bite you in the ass. In the former case, matter/energy had to be added, and in the latter matter had to be removed. It couldn't have come from subspace, since the TNG episode "Schisms" suggests that theres a whole slew of problems for matter from other subspace domains existing in our universe for very long. Therefore, it must have been supplied/removed in our reality, and the only way I know for that to happen is if the matter was analyzed by the transporter, the information backed up to a database, the matter is unmade, converted into energy, routed through the subspace antennae, then reconstructed using the same energy that was destroyed using the blueprint originally scanned.

Timo wrote:
Not really. When she stepped out of the transporter, all she did was stare, and get hugged by Picard. She didn't get a word out of her mouth.

We then cut to a completely different scene, where apparently Picard has brought her up to speed, and the two are discussing the operation. There is no discussion of the events of the past days or hours as such.
In the scene in question, Pulaski walks off the transporter, shakes hands with people. Then Picard takes her by the shoulder and they both walk out the door. The camera changes to outside the transporter room in the corridor, where they walk out the door and continue walking. There is no indication of a time jump or a missed scene. Pulaski then says "Captain, if this hadn't worked...", 'this' being their plan to restore her DNA.
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Old August 31 2008, 03:41 AM   #21
TEH BABA
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Transporters probably use compression methods for storing information. Similar to vectory graphics or zip files.
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Old August 31 2008, 11:35 AM   #22
Trekker4747
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Re: Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Capt Adama wrote: View Post
Transporters probably use compression methods for storing information. Similar to vectory graphics or zip files.
Transporters don't transmit information. They transmit matter in the form of a phased "matter stream."
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