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Old April 2 2014, 09:32 PM   #1
Vandervecken
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So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

It's an open question and an often-debated one: whether or not Roger Korby, in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?,",was Roger Korby or not--that is, whether or not the android-making process on Exo III can, in some instances (because some are clearly not such, like the false Kirk)transfer the soul + mind.

But the crew in TNG just blithely accept in "The Schizoid Man" that the being that is using Data to talk is Ira Graves and not Data. As far as I can recall, there is no suggestion that Data just thinks he's Ira Graves; it's fully accepted that this is Ira Graves.

Also--On Camus II, in "Turnabout Intruder," we have a device that can, apparently, transfer souls. We have no way of knowing if that would work for an android body, that is, if the device requires a biological matrix or not, but we do know that the device will transfer souls. So the principle of soul transference, at least, is canon in Trek.
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Old April 2 2014, 11:03 PM   #2
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Re: So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

It's been some years since I last saw the former, so please expand on some of its details. Was the Korby we saw the culmination of a number of test trials? Or was it stated to have been precipitated as a matter of necessity because he had been close to death? If the latter was the operative case, perhaps at least this android template required the subject to be facing imminent demise for a fuller transference to be even possible, including memory engrams, soul, and other essentials of consciousness.

As an aside, it seems to me that when watching the episode during the original run and for years afterwards, I invariably flashed on my trusty Vac-U-Form for some reason!! While there was no physical resemblance between the vintage Mattel artifact and the centrifuge of copying, perhaps using mine gave me a similar sense of having achieved some level of creative bonafides!!!!
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Old April 2 2014, 11:06 PM   #3
Timo
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Re: So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

because some are clearly not such, like the false Kirk
How so? The false Kirk created by Korby acts like Kirk, smiles like Kirk, charms women off their feet like Kirk, and probably could command a starship like Kirk. He's just programmed to do the bidding of Korby, is all - much like Kirk himself programmed the copy with a crucial little detail. I'd say this could well be a case of 100% successful "soul" transfer, subsequently "watered" into 98% by the insertion of a few villainous thoughts.

Sure, Korby says the copy is only half finished, but he may already have succeeded in soul transfer for all practical purposes; he's just a perfectionist at (artificial?) heart.

Kirk and Christine Chapel seemed very concerned about whether Korby's soul transfer was perfect or imperfect; apparently, the man would be worthless and without rights if the slightest imperfection were observed. Our more enlightened TNG heroes would simply not think that rigidly, and wouldn't hold tiny imperfections against Ira Graves' soul once its transfer became evident. Perhaps partially successful soul transfer in the TNG era is commonplace (although not doable by native UFP technology) while total success is almost unheard of - but people have come to accept partial success as better than nothing, and Graves also settles for "pretty good" when devising his mechanistic way of achieving the transfer.

Was the Korby we saw the culmination of a number of test trials?
This was not explicated. If Korby's earliest reincarnations had performed a series of attempts at improvement on themselves, the end product would naturally stay mum of such petty and embarrassing detail; if Ruk had done it for Korby, the android might not even have told his master's final reincarnation.

The cool thing about the episode is that it doesn't merely introduce machine men: it's very careful about establishing that these androids come in several different shades of flesh. Some are simplistic machines Korby disparages, others are more advanced, and he himself is in a class of his own (at least according to his own interpretation); different androids for different purposes, with different ethical issues relating to their existence and use.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old April 3 2014, 12:03 AM   #4
Vandervecken
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Re: So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

Well Timo, I'd call any Kirk that would willingly take orders from someone who isn't a Starfleet superior--and even if he would take orders from his legitimate superiors under some circumstances!--not even 50% of Kirk. You touched on the one Kirk character trait that I would call "soul-defining" for him--his need to do what Kirk wants.

I still don't know about Korby. I've read yours and others' thoughts on him in other threads, and I have to say, I just don't know. I think I will always not know, which is fine. It's too ambiguous to nail down, I'd say. I don't agree with the "slightest imperfection" standard that Kirk et all applied to him--obviously not, since I would consider a psychotic Korby still to be Korby---if he was really Korby.

I was more interested in Graves. Why would we say his process was just 98% successful? Why not take the TNG crew's reactions at face value (and also accept what the writers wanted us to believe) and accept that that was Graves?

The reason this interests me so much is that someone in Trek, some genius, some descendent of Daystromm, maybe, could combine Graves' notes and Soong's androids, and have true immortality. I discussed Korby as something of a precursor situation. I think it's pretty evident that, even if that was Korby, he was so mentally messed up by the process that it was pretty worthless as a method of gaining immortality. I would like to be immortal, but not at the cost of having my mind shattered! Although that there were different varieties of them--different levels of sophistication--is an important point.

Damn I would love Exo III revisited, in some way! But not by JJ Abrams!
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Old April 3 2014, 08:31 AM   #5
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Re: So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

Judging the success of Graves is rather futile because of a number of reasons. For one, Data's body can't do full justice to the original man's soul, as bodily characteristics and limitations are an important part in a person's personality. For another, Data is behaving like Graves in his dying day - is this caricature of a man sufficient proof that the entire personal history of the man is in there? Yet just like Korby, Graves is engaging in ethically questionable things that his (closest thing to a) longterm acquaintance considers unbecoming and perhaps atypical of "the real him". Confronted by this obvious futility, would our heroes choose to believe in perfect transfer? Not doing so would count as "giving the benefit of doubt", which is what our TNG heroes excel in.

Every immortality technique suffers from limitations like this: rejuvenation or mere stopping of aging in itself changes a person so much that the continuity of his soul is cast in doubt, regardless of how the not-dying part was achieved; heck, even something like defeating cancer or dodging a car crash and thus living for a few "extra" years does that. What people like Korby and Graves would settle for might not satisfy most customers... Including those who are willing to accept the other alienation aspect of immortality, the more slowly setting Flint syndrome of the disconnect between aging and non-aging, mortal and immortal people.

Interest in immortality or soul transfer seems lukewarm in the TNG universe, perhaps verifying some of Crusher's ideas about people no longer fearing death. It's pretty darn difficult to say if such public opinion has been shaped by the experiences from the TOS episodes, or whether those were ever made public in the first place. But one would expect rumors to spread, and a certain Frankenstein factor to make people uneasy about all techniques and the very concept itself.

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Old April 3 2014, 05:44 PM   #6
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Re: So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

In 'I Mudd' they offered Uhura android immortality. No one expressed any doubts about it being successful.
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Old April 3 2014, 06:12 PM   #7
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Re: So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

The Rejac consciousness freely moved from a living host to the ship's computer and then back to a dead corpse.

Sargon's people transferred their consciousness to orblike containers of some nature in "Return to Tomorrow."

The EMH and Moriarty were viewed as sentient holograms. It makes me wonder where the actual computer program was stored. In the mobile emitter? In Voyager's computer? In the Enterprise computer? We do know Moriarty was ultimately transferred to that computer box container.

Data went through a trial to fight for his rights as a sentient. For that matter, Data, Lore, Lal, B4 and Data's Mother were all pretty much the same species.

The exocomps in "Quality of Life" were viewed as gaining sentience.

Spock's brain was transferred to a box that controlled an entire city. Granted, that was still his brain and not just his consciousness. It's too bad Pike was not able to make it to Sigma Draconis before heading back to Talos IV.
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Old April 3 2014, 06:47 PM   #8
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Re: So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

I haven't seen it for at least twenty years - does the episode actually say 'soul' ?

I can see the transference of consciousness or 'mind', but the soul is pure superstition...
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Old April 3 2014, 09:42 PM   #9
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Re: So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

Relayer1 wrote: View Post
I haven't seen it for at least twenty years - does the episode actually say 'soul' ?

I can see the transference of consciousness or 'mind', but the soul is pure superstition...
Which is what some people define soul as. Consciouness that can survive separate from the body.

Now, that's not the biblical sefinition of soul, but that is another topic for another forum. It is, however, the common definition of soul.
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Old April 3 2014, 11:21 PM   #10
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Re: So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

Shawnster wrote: View Post
Relayer1 wrote: View Post
I haven't seen it for at least twenty years - does the episode actually say 'soul' ?

I can see the transference of consciousness or 'mind', but the soul is pure superstition...
Which is what some people define soul as. Consciouness that can survive separate from the body.
That's not what the thread title says, it treats them as two different things.
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Old April 3 2014, 11:34 PM   #11
JirinPanthosa
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Re: So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

Non-religious definitions of 'Soul' tend to be metaphorically referring to the continuity of your conscious experience.

So, with physical limitations removed, you might retain the same 'soul' though your personality would be greatly changed. I mean, two years ago I couldn't run half a mile without being completely out of breath and now I can run 10Ks, does that mean I have a different soul because I have fewer physical limitations? If I get paralyzed in a car crash tomorrow, do I again exchange souls?

To better address the thread title, "Are the soul and mind one and the same or can the soul exist in a different physical mind".

It's a good question for whether it's really possible for your conscious experience to survive transfer to a mechanical brain. Science fiction's answer tends to be 'Yes, it can' unless you're in an episode where the point is you can't.
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Old April 4 2014, 08:06 AM   #12
Timo
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Re: So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

How do you measure something like that? The thing about this beast called "conscious experience" is that it's a master of self-deception. We constantly rewrite the history of our existence into a narrative that makes sense to our current selves; glossing over a soul transfer or three would be the most natural thing for our conscious experience to do. So asking "Are you still the same person?" wouldn't produce useful data even if the person doing the answering were doing his utmost to be objective and self-reflective and mentally ready to face the possibility that he actually died a while ago and somebody else is now speaking through him.

On the other hand, even if some sort of a "brain pattern" measurable by a machine that goes ping is found to survive the transfer intact, will that convince anybody of anything? Normal, uninterrupted existence necessarily results in constant pattern drift; verifying whether NN still is NN after any length of time has passed would be futile, except in a statistical sense that any philosophically and mathematically minded person could argue to be hiding the fact that a statistically significant jump did take place during the transfer and went unnoticed. We'd need a really accurate and fast machine-that-goes-ping to capture the exact moment of transference for posterity, and people would still debate angels-dancing-on-a-pin-the-size-of-Planck's-time.

And never mind the always available option of arguing "secret ingredients" and hidden variables. In the end, believing that you are still you is the one thing we can safely consider a matter of faith and faith alone...

Timo Saloniemi
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Old April 4 2014, 09:52 AM   #13
JirinPanthosa
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Re: So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

Not at all. It's a simple philosophical question. If I closed my eyes and transferred my consciousness to a machine, would I open my eyes and feel as if nothing happened, or would it just be a machine simulating my behavior? If cogito ergo sum, would I continue to cogit?

Your brain is always changing, but your experience of the world is continuous and feels seamless.
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Old April 4 2014, 10:11 AM   #14
Shawnster
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Re: So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

Relayer1 wrote: View Post
Shawnster wrote: View Post
Relayer1 wrote: View Post
I haven't seen it for at least twenty years - does the episode actually say 'soul' ?

I can see the transference of consciousness or 'mind', but the soul is pure superstition...
Which is what some people define soul as. Consciouness that can survive separate from the body.
That's not what the thread title says, it treats them as two different things.
Well, for that matter, the title of the thread is a statement and the OP itself is a question. Titles don't always reflect content 100%.
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Old April 4 2014, 01:52 PM   #15
Timo
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Re: So a human soul and mind CAN be mapped to a machine

Not at all. It's a simple philosophical question. If I closed my eyes and transferred my consciousness to a machine, would I open my eyes and feel as if nothing happened, or would it just be a machine simulating my behavior? If cogito ergo sum, would I continue to cogit?
That is a rather uninteresting aspect of the question. If I became almost completely braindead, and still managed to open my eyes, my mind would tell me nothing much happened - it's built to do that very thing, in all situations. Why would it do any differently when transplanted to a machine? Or to the body of an armadillo, or whatever fancy thought experiment or cruel joke one wants to postulate?

The mind is incapable of perceiving discontinuities, or defining "I". It just "cogits" at any given moment and invents a past and a future for itself, anew for every moment.

Your brain is always changing, but your experience of the world is continuous and feels seamless.
And there's no particular reason to think that this would be different if a machine took your soul and changed all the purple bits to lime and all the round bits to square. Anybody around you could tell that you have completely changed - but you couldn't. Or wouldn't.

The philosophical aspect here, as usual, is mental masturbation that falls short on touching upon the reality of existence... Annoying biology gets in the way, transforming things like "reason", "continuity" and "difference" into fuzzy approximations.

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