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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old May 17 2013, 03:24 AM   #31
Third Nacelle
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

Let's say you have a porcelain vase.

If you drop it on the ground and it breaks into 10 pieces, the vase still exists, but it is broken. You may even glue the pieces back together, and it would still be the same vase.

But if you take a hammer and start pounding away at those pieces, at some point the vase ceases to exist. Whatever it is that made that porcelain dust a vase is gone forever, despite every molecule that was in that vase still existing.

It is not something you can quantify scientifically.
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Old May 17 2013, 04:15 AM   #32
Avro Arrow
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

I have to admit, I really don't get the argument of the people saying they'd be fine with using a kill&copy transporter. Sure, the person at the destination would think they were you, they'd have all your memories, and everyone else would think they were you as well. From their perspective, nothing has changed, and there is no difference.

Unfortunately for the person who stepped into the transporter at the departure point, they are not able to revel in this sense of continuity and oneness, what with being dead and all.

Once you step into a kill&copy transporter, your life is over... hence the name. You don't emerge at the other end, or anywhere else. Ever. The new version of you continues on unaware.

As a thought experiment, say the transporter is able to create the copy *without* killing you. Now a version of you exists at both the departure point and the arrival point. Both validly claim to be you. Do you see out of both sets of eyes? No, they are discrete people. What if someone now murders the version at the departure point? Yeah, the version of you in that body is gone. Sure, the destination you is fine, and it wouldn't affect them at all. But that's cold consolation to departure you. And that's basically what a kill&copy transporter does, except the departure you is killed at the time of transport, rather than after the fact.

(Now that i type that out... I think that may have actually been the premise of a SF story I read once.)

Anyway, as has been mentioned upthread a few times now, the transporter in ST does not appear to be a kill&copy type, probably to avoid this very issue.
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Old May 17 2013, 04:40 AM   #33
Tiberius
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
Tiberius wrote: View Post
iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
If you disassemble a house, brick by brick, move it in another place, and they reassemble it without any loss of information, then it's the same house.
But that's not how the transporter works.
Actually, in the magical universe of Star Trek, that's exactly how the transporter works.

From Memory Alpha:

Matter stream

In a transporter system, the matter stream referred to the energized form of the matter being transported.

Transporter matter stream
The matter stream consisted of the stream of sub-atomic particles that resulted from the dematerialization of a transport subject. The stream was relocated from the original site of the subject, passed through the pattern buffer, transferred as an energy beam, and rematerialized into its original form again at its destination (often a transporter platform).
Once you take an atom and convert it into energy, that atom is GONE. You can convert the energy back into an atom, but it's not the same atom.

That's what happens when you ENERGIZE - you convert it into energy. Change it back into matter, and it's not the same matter.

Given the above explanation, an even better analogy (always taking in mind that analogies are inherently flawed - quantum particles are definitively unbricky in their properties and behaviour) would be this: disassemble the house brick by brick, make each brick into powder separately, move the separate bags of powder into a different location, remake every brick with the same matter and the same pattern, and rebuild the house. As you can see, the issue becomes much more muddied.
No it isn't a good analogy, because the bricks still remain as matter. They never go through the destructive "change to energy" process.

The point is that it isn't just a copy. It's a copy made of the same materials, with the same patterns, who thinks it's the original.
No, it isn't made with the same matter, because the original matter ceased to exist when it was converted into energy.

I don't know. That is the point. You have no way of knowing which one is which.

You are arguing from an ontological point of view: there is the "original", and there is the "copy". I am arguing from a practical point of view: the "copy" is indistinguishable from the "original", so it's irrelevant which is which, especially given that the "original" is no longer when the "copy" is created.
Anyone who saw me make the copy would say that the original is the one I put onto the glass scanner and the copy is the one that came out of the paper tray. The fact that you can't tell them apart in no way changes the fact that one was put on the scanner and the other wasn't.

How do you know he doesn't? You don't know what happens when you are asleep. Point is: if we believe your theory, then you can be actually be dead and not realize it because you are still alive. That's a contradiction. Reduction ad absurdum.
Are you kidding me? You're defending your position by claiming that, "Well, maybe we're physically destroyed when we go to sleep!"

Come on, is that the best you've got?

And how the hell did you get the idea that I was saying that "you can be actually be dead and not realize it because you are still alive."

Tiberius wrote: View Post
Yes, it IS matter. When the transporter takes you apart, your body ceases to exist as matter. You lose the matter of your body.
Matter and energy are just different states of the same stuff. Like ice and water.
No, it's not.

Ice is made up of H2O molecules. So is Water. It's the same building blocks, just arranged differently. Changing matter into energy doesn't rearrange what's there, it changes it fundamentally. If I take some iron and some gold and convert them into energy, could you tell me which energy came from the iron and which energy came from the gold? No. There's no way to tell. But simply heating something up until it turns into a liquid, you can tell just fine. If I show you liquid water and some liquid iron, could you tell me which came from ice and which came from iron ingots? Of course. So your analogy doesn't work.

Tiberius wrote: View Post
Two cars that come off the production line are identical. Are they the one car? Of course not.
If I switch one for the other, will you notice any difference?
Way to avoid answering my question.
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Old May 17 2013, 07:04 AM   #34
GalacticWierdo
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

This conversation, while fascinating to watch, will obviously go nowhere fast because of the apparent vast differences in morals/perceptions that each one of the speakers has.

Though I suppose that's the most stimulating conversation to have?

I suppose I'll weigh in (Considering that this is a subject which is very fascinating to me)

I'm mostly concerned with continuation of consciousness rather than life or death, especially in this situation. This does raise a point that shakes me too the very core:

Several months ago, I had a bone marrow biopsy. They administered me anesthesia to keep me happy through the procedure. I thought I handled it extremely well, apparently remembering the whole procedure and requiring no recovery time afterward. From what I recall, I was walked out of the operating room (Having not remembered feeling a thing) into my recovery room, where I presently took to eating a cracker and quietly drinking some water. However, all of those in attendance at the time say that I lucidly described the entire procedure in great detail. Still to this day I can't believe that this is the case. I remember everything except about the operation itself, and anything pertaining to it afterward.

ANYWAY. How does this relate to transporters? Well, during the entire time that I was in the operation, presumably, I was awake and realizing what was going on, and even then, my subconscious continued to function (extremely poorly mind you) But my brain did not go on pause during this experience. I continued thoughts and whatnots all throughout, and so I am the same mind.

That's really the concerning thing about the use of transporters, not whether one's body is preserved during transport or not (As it certainly seems to be,) nor whether one remains the same person with the same thoughts, memories, etc. etc. etc. And indeed, this person is functionally identical to the first. However, what the people who WOULDN'T use the transporter (Myself included) are concerned about is if the same mind continues to work through the process, or if it is merely a copy. We probably could never know for certain.

However, it seems that to be absolutely sure, it would be wise to gradually shift someone from one place to another, not to pop someone out of existence in one place and into existence in another. If someone were to be functioning in both places at once, then SURELY every bit of them is the same life, not only the same structure. Then one can be destroyed because its perception was shared with the one on the other side (If destruction is even necessary.)

I like to think of it this way: You have a choice of being teleported to far away lands using one of two methods: One way is to get shot in the head with a transportation-gun; it kills you, but makes a duplicate in the location of your choice.
Alternately, you could be taken there piece by piece (Each piece still remaining connected some way, of course) including your brain, with parts transported working with parts still remaining, until all of the parts are transported.
I don't know about anyone else, but the second option seems to preserve the SPECIFIC INSTANCE of the person, rater than just their form and function.


(PS. I suppose the whole thing does relate to the ship of Theseus to me. I would be inclined to think that a a dynamic system, such as a brain or a computer, would have to be preserved this way, and to a static system like a ship, it wouldn't really matter.
PPS: I also hate to think about the idea of completely suspending someone in time: I.E. freezing them. Does this count as death? Or at least the same conscious person? I don't think we could definitively ever say. But anyway, I'd take a transporer, but only if it goes *fade!* rather than *pop!*)
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Old May 17 2013, 07:25 AM   #35
Timelord Victorious
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

I agree. people won't convince anyone here, but it is fascinating to see how different the views on personality, consciousness and continued existence are.

To me it all comes down to this:
My conciousness and personality (which is subject to change every second in very minuscule ways) are a property of my brain.
If I disassemble it and rebuild it else where it will continue to function.

Everyone here is comparing this to houses and cars...

But it is a lot closer to a computer.
if you take it apart and and break it down into every single component, transport it to the other side of the world, and reassemble it exactly the way it was before every bit of information on the hard drive would still be there and the program that runs the AI would still function.

What we perceive as us is a product of our parts. And it is produced continually but doesn't exist independently.

Or try this:

Your consciousness and personality is a river that keeps on flowing.
If you stop the flow by putting a plug into source it will stop until you unplug it again.
You don't get a new river... it is still the same one.
That's how I see what we are.
And that's why it would make no difference to step into a transporter. the product of the brain after transport is still me.
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Old May 17 2013, 09:39 AM   #36
Lt. Uhura-Brown
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

We don't know how consciousness works, perhaps it travels, intact, along the transporter beam waiting to be re-housed after the body is reconstituated.

Similar to what happened with Captain Picard when we was beamed into space as energy, in whichever episode that was.
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Old May 17 2013, 12:18 PM   #37
iguana_tonante
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

Third Nacelle wrote: View Post
But if you take a hammer and start pounding away at those pieces, at some point the vase ceases to exist.
So, where you draw the line? That's the basis of my argument. You just believe "there must be some point where identity cease to exists". My argument is that identity is fiction.

Third Nacelle wrote: View Post
It is not something you can quantify scientifically.
Or, in other words:

Third Nacelle wrote: View Post
all "metaphysical nonsense" as Emory Erickson claimed


Avro Arrow wrote: View Post
Unfortunately for the person who stepped into the transporter at the departure point, they are not able to revel in this sense of continuity and oneness, what with being dead and all.
All our past selves are unable to experience continuity and oneness, since they don't exist anymore. The only self that exists (if it exists ), is the present self. The transporter is just an extreme version of our continuity that makes us face something very uncomfortable: our self ceases to exist every second... and a new version takes over. It happens so fast we don't realize it. The transporter just make it apparent.

Avro Arrow wrote: View Post
(Now that i type that out... I think that may have actually been the premise of a SF story I read once.)
Yeah, I think I've read that too. Can't remember the title, tho.

Avro Arrow wrote: View Post
Anyway, as has been mentioned upthread a few times now, the transporter in ST does not appear to be a kill&copy type, probably to avoid this very issue.
Yep, I think most of us agree about that.

Tiberius wrote: View Post
Once you take an atom and convert it into energy, that atom is GONE. You can convert the energy back into an atom, but it's not the same atom.
How do you know that? That's the point you keep missing.

Tiberius wrote: View Post
No it isn't a good analogy, because the bricks still remain as matter. They never go through the destructive "change to energy" process.
I don't see why changing to energy is so fundamentally different that any other transformation (more on that later). In any case, we are fast reaching the point where no analogy is good enough, so I see no point in upping this.

Tiberius wrote: View Post
Anyone who saw me make the copy would say that the original is the one I put onto the glass scanner and the copy is the one that came out of the paper tray. The fact that you can't tell them apart in no way changes the fact that one was put on the scanner and the other wasn't.
And your point is? It contains the same information. Why do you care which one is the original?

Tiberius wrote: View Post
Are you kidding me? You're defending your position by claiming that, "Well, maybe we're physically destroyed when we go to sleep!"

Come on, is that the best you've got?

And how the hell did you get the idea that I was saying that "you can be actually be dead and not realize it because you are still alive."
I think you missed the point. Oh well.

Tiberius wrote: View Post
Ice is made up of H2O molecules. So is Water. It's the same building blocks, just arranged differently. Changing matter into energy doesn't rearrange what's there, it changes it fundamentally. If I take some iron and some gold and convert them into energy, could you tell me which energy came from the iron and which energy came from the gold? No. There's no way to tell. But simply heating something up until it turns into a liquid, you can tell just fine. If I show you liquid water and some liquid iron, could you tell me which came from ice and which came from iron ingots? Of course. So your analogy doesn't work.
Water and ice are made of the same molecules, just in a different arrangement. Water and hydrogen peroxide are made of the same atoms, just in a different combination. Water and iron are still made from the same basic components (protons, neutrons, and electrons), just in a different mix. And protons and neutrons are again made from the same sub-components (quarks and gluons). You disregard molecular structure, fixate on the atomic level, and ignore subatomic hierarchy, but there is no logical reason to do that: it seems to stem more from personal preference. No level is more "important" than the other per se: it depends on the complexity of your system. Star Trek biological transporters, for example, claim to work on the "quantum level", which is different from your argument at the "atomic level". And that's ignoring all the shenanigans of quantum physics, which shows that the difference between matter/particles and energy/waveforms isn't so clear cut.

Tiberius wrote: View Post
Tiberius wrote: View Post
Two cars that come off the production line are identical. Are they the one car? Of course not.
If I switch one for the other, will you notice any difference?
Way to avoid answering my question.
Way to avoid answering mine.

GalacticWierdo wrote: View Post
This conversation, while fascinating to watch, will obviously go nowhere fast because of the apparent vast differences in morals/perceptions that each one of the speakers has.
I agree. Still, I think it's interesting.
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Old May 17 2013, 12:54 PM   #38
Chensams
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

Aside from all the metaphysical and philisophical debate, no. I'm worried I would end up like Lt. Xon.
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Old May 17 2013, 02:33 PM   #39
Timelord Victorious
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

Chensams wrote: View Post
Aside from all the metaphysical and philisophical debate, no. I'm worried I would end up like Lt. Xon.
Well, sure, accidents happen, but very rarely. I think your chances to die in a car accident today are greater than to die in a transporter accident in Trek's future.
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Old May 17 2013, 03:31 PM   #40
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

Third Nacelle wrote: View Post
I believe I am one continuous being because I have the same heart, lungs, spleen, skin, toenails, and trachea this morning that I had last night. Those things are just as much a part of me as my consciousness, maybe more so. I can't even prove I am conscious or explain what the hell consciousness is.
"Believe" being the operative word.

Memory exists, ultimately, because it contributes to maximizing the organism's survival and reproduction potential. A random side effect of it is that it "tricks" us into believing that something called "the self" exists as well.
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Old May 17 2013, 03:50 PM   #41
Timo
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

Indeed, the transporter is one of the few Star Trek concepts that showcases the limitations of our caveman brains - and quite accidentally at that, as this thought-provoking technology was a last-minute addition to the show's concept. Warp drives and death rays may invoke their own little tempests in scientific teacups, but it takes some doing to see the philosophical implications of those. With the transporter, the ontological oddities slap us in the face.

I think your chances to die in a car accident today are greater than to die in a transporter accident in Trek's future.
...I wonder what sort of statistics LaForge was referring to when assuring Barclay that transporting was the safest way to travel.

Accidents per kilometer? That's a classic way to evaluate traffic safety, since covering distances is a typical purpose for traffic. Thus, air traffic today gets high marks. But transporters generally probably see very short distance use, from spot A on Earth to relatively nearby spot B also on Earth, even if Starfleet sometimes uses them at ranges of tens of thousands of kilometers. Transporters would be ideal for commuting, removing the vehicle from the equation and thus decreasing congestion and serviceability problems.

Accidents per person? There are more people in the UFP than on Earth, but we have no good idea whether a greater or lesser percentage of UFP citizens use the transporter than Earthlings today use, say, a car or a plane. So, accidents per person actually using the device? Transporters have fewer modes for killing non-users, the way cars kill bystanders, so this sort of comparison is sort of unfair.

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Old May 17 2013, 05:43 PM   #42
Chensams
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

Timelord_Victorious wrote: View Post
Chensams wrote: View Post
Aside from all the metaphysical and philisophical debate, no. I'm worried I would end up like Lt. Xon.
Well, sure, accidents happen, but very rarely. I think your chances to die in a car accident today are greater than to die in a transporter accident in Trek's future.
Yeah, but will a car accident zap me back down to a deserted planet while my duplicate lives out his life ala Thomas Riker? I think not.

Shuttle please.
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Old May 17 2013, 06:11 PM   #43
Timelord Victorious
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

Chensams wrote: View Post
Timelord_Victorious wrote: View Post
Chensams wrote: View Post
Aside from all the metaphysical and philisophical debate, no. I'm worried I would end up like Lt. Xon.
Well, sure, accidents happen, but very rarely. I think your chances to die in a car accident today are greater than to die in a transporter accident in Trek's future.
Yeah, but will a car accident zap me back down to a deserted planet while my duplicate lives out his life ala Thomas Riker? I think not.

Shuttle please.
in the seconds before impact when your shuttle crashes and burns you wish you had a transporter duplicate to continue your legacy!
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Old May 17 2013, 06:46 PM   #44
Third Nacelle
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
[So, where you draw the line? That's the basis of my argument. You just believe "there must be some point where identity cease to exists". My argument is that identity is fiction.
I have no idea where you draw the line, but things end. If I burn my house to the ground, it is no longer a house, if I get shot in the head, I am no longer a person. Existence is finite. Everything you think of as an object has an identity that makes it more than a collection of particles. If you destroy an object and put it back together, what you have is a facsimile of the original. A copy is a copy, no matter how similar to the original.

Perhaps a consciousness could be passed from original to copy, perhaps not. I don't even know if my mind right now is the same instance of my mind from a year ago or yesterday. I'll still take my chances with the shuttlecraft. I'd rather continue to be replaced one meal or glass of water at a time, not all at once.
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Old May 17 2013, 07:00 PM   #45
The Badger
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Re: Would you use a transporter?

From Daedalus:

EMORY: People said it was unsafe, that it caused brain cancer, psychosis, and even sleep disorders. And then there was all that metaphysical chatter about whether or not the person who arrived after the transport was the same person who left, and not some weird copy.
(Emphasis mine)

I would say that the implication here is that, whether we can understand the ideas or not, the transporter is not a kill-copy machine. And given the amount of use the device has seen, that's hardly surprising. Would so many people willingly go into a suicide booth with no more reassurance that a clone would appear at the other end?
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