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Old November 22 2013, 02:20 PM   #1
KirksFlyingFist
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Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

I've read somewhere that if a transporter was actually to exist, it would in actuality be killing you, and then creating a copy of you elsewhere - downloading your memories and "mind" into the copy.

Does anyone have any confirmation on this one way or the other?
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Old November 22 2013, 03:47 PM   #2
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Re: Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

Here are my thoughts on the question:

https://christopherlbennett.wordpres...nuity-of-self/
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Old November 22 2013, 07:15 PM   #3
T'Girl
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Re: Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

If you entered the transporter under the false impression that it was going to send the actual you to a far away place,

Then the the machine ended you life.

Then far away another machine created a brand new person who was under the false impression that they were you ....

... yes that would be murder.

***

On the other hand, if the machine sent you, every last aspect of the actual you, to the far away place ... no, that would not be murder.

If the the transporter were nothing more then some kind of biological fax machine, I would not go into it even if I were bleeding to death and it was connected to a hospital.


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Old November 22 2013, 07:46 PM   #4
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Re: Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

KirksFlyingFist wrote: View Post
I've read somewhere that if a transporter was actually to exist, it would in actuality be killing you, and then creating a copy of you elsewhere - downloading your memories and "mind" into the copy.

Does anyone have any confirmation on this one way or the other?
There was a transporter thread earlier this year on the board here in Trek Tech, Would you use a transporter?, and I think they recur every now and then.

Here's one of the things I said in that thread. I believe that the first paragraph contradicts the view recounted by KirksFlyingFist on how transporters work in Star Trek.
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
One of the nice little details in TWOK was when Kirk and Saavik carried on their conversation while disembodied in the transporter beam, when beaming up from the Genesis Cave. The idea that life continues uninterrupted during transport was of course taken to the next level in TNG: The Realm of Fear. The transporter not interrupting any biological process at all, including cognition and consciousness, could be one portion of a convincing argument that what comes out at the other end really is the original.

But some level of injury should be expected from transporter use; no mode of transportation in the real world is perfectly safe, not even walking. One of the nice little details in TMP was the addition of the radiation shield in the transporter room, to protect the operators from repeated exposure to some sort of radiation. Perhaps, if a person were repeatedly beamed enough times, with no breaks in between, eventually they would get sick. Maybe cancer would be a risk from too many beamings too often. While they didn't use Federation transporter technology, the terrorists who transported via dimensional shift in TNG: The High Ground suffered warped DNA which was cumulative and terminal on repeated use. Then again, as has basically already been pointed out in-thread, no activity in life whatsoever is perfectly free of risk. Because Geordi quantifies [in terms appropriate for TV show dialog] what he means by the level of safety, among my favorite TNG snippets is from The Masterpiece Society:

TNG wrote:
MARTIN: We have no idea how molecular transport will affect her DNA.
LAFORGE: It won't affect her DNA at all. There's been over a century of evidence to prove that.
And, whether I'd do it willingly would depend in part on what sort of argument was being made that the original me would be coming out on the other end. A portion of the risk of use would be the risk that one or more of the scientific theories upon which that argument is based is wrong. Those theories should be very well tested, so that the probability of any of them being measurably wrong is vanishingly small. Biological processes theoretically continuing uninterrupted throughout beaming could help make a convincing case that the original me would be coming out.

Of course, if the ship were blowing up around me and there were no other chance, I'd probably shout "Energize!", even if I would be the first person to beam.
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Old November 22 2013, 08:09 PM   #5
scotpens
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Re: Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
One of the nice little details in TWOK was when Kirk and Saavik carried on their conversation while disembodied in the transporter beam, when beaming up from the Genesis Cave. The idea that life continues uninterrupted during transport was of course taken to the next level in TNG: The Realm of Fear. The transporter not interrupting any biological process at all, including cognition and consciousness, could be one portion of a convincing argument that what comes out at the other end really is the original.
For me, that bit with Kirk and Saavik stretched my suspension of disbelief to the breaking point. How can two people communicate verbally when their vocal apparatus, their hearing apparatus, and their brains are dematerialized? It reminded me of the scene in The Fly where Dandelo the cat fails to re-integrate, and yet somehow we hear his ghostly meows echoing in the ether.
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Old November 22 2013, 08:21 PM   #6
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

scotpens wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
One of the nice little details in TWOK was when Kirk and Saavik carried on their conversation while disembodied in the transporter beam, when beaming up from the Genesis Cave. The idea that life continues uninterrupted during transport was of course taken to the next level in TNG: The Realm of Fear. The transporter not interrupting any biological process at all, including cognition and consciousness, could be one portion of a convincing argument that what comes out at the other end really is the original.
For me, that bit with Kirk and Saavik stretched my suspension of disbelief to the breaking point. How can two people communicate verbally when their vocal apparatus, their hearing apparatus, and their brains are dematerialized? It reminded me of the scene in The Fly where Dandelo the cat fails to re-integrate, and yet somehow we hear his ghostly meows echoing in the ether.
Well, I guess that goes even more so for The Realm of Fear.

In support of the implication that life processes aren't halted during transport, I probably should have also mentioned TOS: That Which Survives. Its teaser has Kirk and his landing party watch the transporter operator get killed, while they are partially energized in the transporter beam. You can even see Kirk react.

The TWOK scene and also the one in That Which Survives were OK in my book. My post from the other thread outlines why, given the choice, I think it's a good idea to design a transporter that has the property of being able to experience transport. It was The Realm of Fear that went way too far, IMO.
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Old November 23 2013, 01:43 AM   #7
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Re: Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

Realm of Fear contradicts a lot of the pre-existing language relating to transporters but comes closer to explaining how transporters must work to avoid killing transportees IMO.

There must be a dimension outside time (per Relics) and space to which the transporter has access. The system scans and quantum links every atom in your body with energy from this dimension and the transporter switches those atoms with their quantum linked counterparts (not exactly quantum linking as we currently know it but some kind of futuristic equivalent). So the transporter's own power keeps the person in a dimensional pocket and the linked energy is kept in our dimension by the confinement beam. The energy then has to be transmitted to the desired location and when the confinement beam is removed the energy and the person snap back to where they should be but in the new location in our dimension.

Where I disagree is the allegation that transporting does no DNA damage. It absolutely should. No confinement beam is going to be 100% perfect and some of your information is going to leak away in transit - we have seen this to be a danger in many TNG era episodes. I personally think that replicators cannot replicate living material so no simple cloning machines will exist on starships. The reason for keeping a blueprint of the transportee in the pattern buffer is so that when you beam them back to the ship you can replicate a portion of their DNA that has been lost in the two transports. If the % of the pattern that has leaked away is too high then you end up with a poorly or dead person. It also explains the term, 'Boost your matter gain,' used by Rand, I think in TMP. If the links to the information get scrambled like in TMP you get a dead mess returning when the transportee snaps back in the wrong order.

This also covers things like good/evil Kirk or Thomas Riker where the transporter was somehow able to add 50%+ replicated material to the transportee and still have them live through outside intervention.

It also means that long distance transport is possible but only if you have a way to maintain a confinement beam to your destination without leaking too much information. My issue with NuTrek transporters is largely that I can't see how the long distance transports are supposed to work using standard 23rd century technology. A new algorithm can tell you mathematically what you need to do, I just don't see how it lets you maintain a confinement beam over such long distances let alone deposit you on a moving target 'safely' in the time it takes the transport to resolve.

The degree to which one remains conscious and/or able to interact while in the pocket dimension is open to debate. TWoK and Realm of Fear suggest that there is a threshold at which you can interact while being only partly in our dimension. I don't believe that Saavik was talking to Kirk in the transport beam, she was just continuing her conversation once she materialised sufficiently to allow her brain to continue performing the task it had started while in our dimension prior to dematerialising into the pocket dimension.

This system has a few nice story elements that could have kept Trek transporting reasonably elegant. It means one cannot transport too often since you run the risk of DNA damage from too much replicated matter building up in your system. It means you need a localised quantum scanner so no more beaming up without a communication device or locking on to enemies unless you have first 'tagged' them somehow. It means emergency transporters are less accurate and sacrifice a certain level of detail in order to get a lot of people off the ship safely, which has health implications.

Just my opinion on the matter!
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Old November 23 2013, 03:29 AM   #8
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Re: Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Where I disagree is the allegation that transporting does no DNA damage. It absolutely should. No confinement beam is going t be 100% perfect and some of your information is going to leak away in transit - we have seen this to be a danger in may TNG era episodes.
Living causes DNA damage. Naturally the transporter would, too. However, the fact that there are trillions of copies of DNA in your body means that there's plenty of redundancy, and damage can be repaired if it is not too extensive. By "does no DNA damage", they mean "won't turn you into a salamander".

This also covers things like good/evil Kirk or Thomas Riker where the transporter was somehow able to add 50%+ replicated material to the transportee and still have them live through outside intervention.
You mean 100%. If only 50% were added, there would be an extra half-a-Kirk or half-a-Riker to go with our regular Kirk and Riker.
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Old November 23 2013, 03:46 AM   #9
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Re: Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
By "does no DNA damage", they mean "won't turn you into a salamander".
I disagree. I think that Martin of the Masterpiece Society would have been concerned with even a slight increase in the risk of Hannah getting, say, cancer. Since they were talking about the implications for a precisely engineered ecosystem, Geordi would have/should have been aware of Martin's concerns. At least with respect to Star Trek transporters of the 24th century, "Won't affect her DNA at all" means just that, and therefore that her risk of any illness from genetic damage whatsoever wouldn't be measurably increased, by just the few transports they expected that Hannah would need to undergo.

@Pauln6: Fascinating!
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Old November 23 2013, 05:19 AM   #10
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Re: Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

Yes, yes it would totally be murder. Maybe. Or not. If no one's ever seen this, it's a great little animated cartoon that explores this very issue.

There's lots of things I'd change in ST, and one of them is how transporters work. Instead of matter-to-energy conversion, it should be explained as opening a small wormhole for the briefest of moments. For dramatic purposes, it would work exactly the same, but the explanation would make more sense; no need for "Heisenberg compensators", no need to think about if transportation=murder, and a wormhole transporter would work using similar technology to the warp drive.
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Old November 23 2013, 08:01 AM   #11
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Re: Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Pavonis wrote: View Post
By "does no DNA damage", they mean "won't turn you into a salamander".
I disagree. I think that Martin of the Masterpiece Society would have been concerned with even a slight increase in the risk of Hannah getting, say, cancer.
Why? Why would you think that?

Besides, even if the transporter does do damage at the genetic level, the approaching stellar core fragment doesn't allow them time to debate the matter or calculate risks and probabilities. Never underestimate how many times the characters lie, exaggerate, or soft-pedal the truth.
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Old November 23 2013, 02:53 PM   #12
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Re: Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Where I disagree is the allegation that transporting does no DNA damage. It absolutely should. No confinement beam is going t be 100% perfect and some of your information is going to leak away in transit - we have seen this to be a danger in may TNG era episodes.
Living causes DNA damage. Naturally the transporter would, too. However, the fact that there are trillions of copies of DNA in your body means that there's plenty of redundancy, and damage can be repaired if it is not too extensive. By "does no DNA damage", they mean "won't turn you into a salamander".

This also covers things like good/evil Kirk or Thomas Riker where the transporter was somehow able to add 50%+ replicated material to the transportee and still have them live through outside intervention.
You mean 100%. If only 50% were added, there would be an extra half-a-Kirk or half-a-Riker to go with our regular Kirk and Riker.
Yes - they've done tests recently to show that exercise does DNA damage but you can reduce it if you eat cress beforehand. Strange but true. So Geordi's comments should be viewed in a wider context perhaps.

I did mean 50% because neither Kirk had the correct DNA so nice Kirk had half his DNA missing or switched on incorrectly - that must mean that 50% is of his DNA was doubled up i.e. replicated incorrectly (on my theory at least) with the second Kirk getting a different 50% doubled up through replication. With Thomas Riker it's harder to tell since they were genetically exact at the point of creation so it's possible that one was entirely replicated. Which one was always a matter for debate.

I've done a Star Trek/Babylon 5 cross-over comic set around the time of TMP so I figured in for a penny and I'll use my own pet theory to explain transporter issues in the story.

Some transporters do use wormholes - the problem there is that the energy required to punch a hole through space at will would most likely be too great for ships - even warp engines can only bend space. I'm not overly familiar with the science of subspace transporting but I don't see how it could work any differently to normal transporting just using subspace instead of a pocket dimension?
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Old November 23 2013, 03:17 PM   #13
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Re: Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Pavonis wrote: View Post
By "does no DNA damage", they mean "won't turn you into a salamander".
I disagree. I think that Martin of the Masterpiece Society would have been concerned with even a slight increase in the risk of Hannah getting, say, cancer.
Why? Why would you think that?
Because that's who Martin was.

Besides, even if the transporter does do damage at the genetic level, the approaching stellar core fragment doesn't allow them time to debate the matter or calculate risks and probabilities. Never underestimate how many times the characters lie, exaggerate, or soft-pedal the truth.
You must be thinking of a different show. Geordi was shown to be in the dark about the damage that Federation technology did (see Forces of Nature), but he was also shown to be one who wouldn't deliberately distort the truth. Make that Truth with a capital T.
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Old November 23 2013, 06:32 PM   #14
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Re: Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Yes - they've done tests recently to show that exercise does DNA damage but you can reduce it if you eat cress beforehand. Strange but true. So Geordi's comments should be viewed in a wider context perhaps.
Yeah, that's not what I meant. "Exercise damages DNA" doesn't really make sense, but I suppose if you get your science news from the local paper, not much can be done to improve your understanding of what DNA is....

I did mean 50% because neither Kirk had the correct DNA so nice Kirk had half his DNA missing or switched on incorrectly - that must mean that 50% is of his DNA was doubled up i.e. replicated incorrectly (on my theory at least) with the second Kirk getting a different 50% doubled up through replication. With Thomas Riker it's harder to tell since they were genetically exact at the point of creation so it's possible that one was entirely replicated. Which one was always a matter for debate.
What? "Neither Kirk had the correct DNA"? What does that mean? DNA codes for RNA, which codes for proteins, which are expressed in cells as...ah, hell, forget the details. We're not made out of DNA. It's just one small component of our bodies.

In both "The Enemy Within" and "Second Chances", the duplicates are indistinguishable from the originals. That means they must have the same masses, too. That requires a doubling of everything about the transporter subject, i.e., a 100% increase, not a 50% increase.

If Kirk masses 100 kilograms, and there were only a 50% increase as you think, then one of the Kirks would be 100 kg and the other 50 kg, which someone would notice immediately because one Kirk would be smaller than the other and Rand would say "A mini-Kirk tried to...y'know...to me."

Even if both Kirks had equal masses, a 50% increase in mass would mean that both were only 75 kg after transport (150 kg divided between two people), and that would still be noticeable, because who wouldn't notice someone dropping 25 kilograms (about 55 pounds!) in a day?

So you mean 100%, not 50%.
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Old November 23 2013, 06:37 PM   #15
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Re: Would a real life transporter technically be 'murder' ?

Yeah, if the mass doubles, then that's a 100% increase.
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