A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by HAL.9000, May 20, 2011.

  1. Sean Aaron

    Sean Aaron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, was Flynn killed when he was digitised in Tron? It's the same thing right?
     
  2. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Good points, but Trek has a mixed history when it comes to this sort of thing. We have What are Little Girls Made of and the Schizoid Man suggesting that a man is more than the sum of his digitised thoughts; we also have Ilia, where the jury was out on how much of the Probe was really her (it's expressly stated that Ilia is dead even though she is preserved in digital format, the probe is artificial but mimics every body function, including memory patterns buried beneath V'ger's programming, and Decker thinks enough of her remains to want to join with V'ger); we have Data plus the Holgoraphic EMH; we have transporters generally.

    If a person is just a mixture of DNA and chemicals in the brain that store experiences and memories then a kill and copy machine would produce identical people indistinguishable from the originals. The problem is that it is too easy to make copies - all you need it enough energy stored to produce the matter for two people when you re-energise the transportee.
     
  3. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In the original film, it is said that the person's original molecules remain suspended in the laser beam and that they are reintegrated when the process is complete.

    What this means for Trek's transporters is unclear. As I have said about a thousand fucking times :brickwall: , TNG's "Realm of Fear" is conclusive proof that a person is not duplicated or killed, but passes through the transport process intact and alive. I think we can conclude that some kind of quantum entanglement process produces results similar to Tron's laser. It's the original molecules, somehow moved to the destination.
     
  4. HAL.9000

    HAL.9000 Lieutenant Commander

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    OK, OK!!!! I hear you and I beleive you. Now go lay down for awhile, I'm sure you have a headache from that head pounding.

    ;)
    Jking.

    With your explanation, please explain how Riker was duplicated in a certain episode when transported.

    No trolling...I'm really curious how the series explained that incident. I never saw it.
     
  5. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Realm of Fear suggested that the actual matter is phased i.e. shunted into another dimension but we know that the tansporter 'pattern' is transmitted via subspace. I think the pattern is just the blueprint that allows each quantum entangled molecule to be phased back in the right order.

    If more than one molecule can be entangled with another then presumably one or more 'copies' can be produced. Only one is the rephased original though, the other is a clone created by converting energy to matter by following the pattern akin to a replicator.

    Normally, replicators produce only inanimate matter so transporters cannot clone transportees even if enough energy is available but the special circumstances caused by the storm created a second viable set of quantum entangled transporter energy that was able to clone Riker and generate a live copy at the same time the original matter was rephased.

    I doubt such an explanation woiuld make much sense to a physicist though... :wtf:
     
  6. HAL.9000

    HAL.9000 Lieutenant Commander

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    Yeah, that pretty much puts the "fiction" in science fiction, but who knows what discoveries are awaiting us in the future.

    Again, I didn't see the episode, so did this other "Riker" just go on with his life or was he removed from existence somehow?

    Also, did he consider himself to be just like the original and felt somehow his life was taken from him by the "copy?"

    BTW...how did they figure out which one was the "real" Riker.

    -I really need to catch that episode.-
     
  7. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It is an interesting episode quite apart from the transporter curveball. To answer your question without ruining the episode, it does ask which of them should be considered the 'real' Riker and creates a dilemma for Troi since 'Tom' Riker is keen to rekindle their relationship. It certainly makes no moral judgment about which of them might be 'real' but we also know that, while acts of cloning are illegal, conscious clones have full legal rights under Federation law.
     
  8. Sean Aaron

    Sean Aaron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, it was unusual in that there was no "resolution" really. It was recognised that you couldn't really say which was the "real" one, but since the Riker on the Enterprise had been living his life, the other one decided to take his middle name as his forename. I just can't see how Tom wasn't insane from living alone for years like that.
     
  9. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To jump in here a few days behind the curve, I think one thing that's being missed in this discussion is the fact that in Trek, they've stated many times that the discovery has been made that matter and energy are interchangeable. Our contemporary science does not believe this to be the case, but in Trek it's true. Matter can become energy, energy can become matter, and on and on. Therefore, the idea of what happens to the matter is not really relevant to this discussion -- in Trek's universe, the matter and the energy are the same thing.
     
  10. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    It's the same thing in real life too. Just ask a physicist. your argument holds no water.
     
  11. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Getting back on track...
    Trek transporters were stated to NOT create copies of people.
    Rare transporter incidents (such as the one that created duplicate Riker) not-withstanding of course.

    In real-life, it is stated that quantum teleportation would effectively destroy the original and recreate a copy on the other end.
    However, we are still not close enough to conduct such a trial and it is quite possible we will discover new ways which will improve upon existing knowledge (or partially/completely rewrite it).

    It's also possible that the destroying bit is accurate, however, painless and the consciousness is preserved in the computer and then transfered to the copied body (I would surmize that if our transporters reach a point where they will be able to transport a human being, and if we cannot find a way around 'destroying the original body' bit, then we will most likely find ways to transfer the conscience into computer memory and then put it into a 'new' body that arrives on the other end).
    Aside for a new body, it will still be 'you'.

    But in Trek, nothing is apparently lost in the transportation process.
     
  12. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In the future --- there will be double posts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2011
  13. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Okay, creates the copy out of what?

    In the case of the two Rikers (and earlier, two Kirks), think about the starfish. As most kids know if you cut or tear a starfish in half, as long as each half retains a part of the center/core of the original whole starfist, each half will regrow back into a whole starfish.

    Neither is a copy of the original, they're both identical to the starfish which was cut in two, right down to any abnormalities in shape.

    When Riker was being beamed aboard his former ship, the transporrter operator desided to split the matter stream beam, cut it in half much like the starfish. both beam contained the original Riker, neither contained a copy.

    One beam was reflected back to the surface, one continued on to Riker's ship. I can't immediately say where the extra mass came from to materize two full size, full weight Rikers from.

    But both were originals.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2011
  14. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Or both were copies. You say potato...

    Since modern science shows that our memories are formed from chemical markers in our brains it would be possible to reproduce a copy of a person without the need to 're-insert' their mind into the new body. Whether you digitise their memories as discrete information or simply as chemical signatures to replicated when you rebuild the brain seems irrelevant to whether that person believes that they are (or indeed truly are) the 'real' person.
     
  15. Butters

    Butters Captain Captain

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    Is this a suggestion that the rest of the animal kingdom is different to humanity and that their view of the world is somehow less than ours? Does it therefore follow that none of the other species that walk the Earth are sapient/sentient and as such the concept of cruelty to animals is as ridiculous as cruelty to rocks.
     
  16. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    :) Yes.

    :) Yes.

    :) Probably not.

    :) Reversing your order, sentient is something that is likely held by a large number of animals to a certain degree. But less than Humans.

    :) Sapience on the other hand (I believe) is unique to Humans.

    :) Cruelty to animals, solely for the sake of cruelty, is wrong.

    :) Rocks are inanimate objects and the concept of cruelty towards them is nonsensical.

    :borg:
     
  17. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Tell that to the Horta.
     
  18. Sean Aaron

    Sean Aaron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And the American Indians and Japanese Shinto practitioners...I'm sure there are others!
     
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hortas (Hortai?) would be an example of animated rocks and a exception to my previous manifesto.

    While all rocks, of course, have a kami, only some rocks contain a unusually powerful sacred spirit and are therefor subject to worship in the Shinto faith.

    :)
     
  20. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Actually, one may say it's also the arrangement of "specific molecules." I'd mentioned earlier how across the span of a 7 year period of a person's life, none of the original cells they had 8 years ago are the same. They've all been replaced. Now, some may argue that as you age, you're not the same person. Well, not exactly the same person. We not only change physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. However, the basis of who we presently are is rooted in our previous versions. ;)

    In "Measure of a Man", Data said that Mannix might be able to completely replicate his positronic brain, and all of his memories, but the "essence" or ineffable qualities of those memories would be lost. It's a copy, but not 100% the same. If this can be accepted, then certainly it would be applicable to human beings. The transporter destroys and then recreates people. They are seemingly identical copies. Are they really the same person?

    This is all imagination. I do not believe for one second in the real world that transporter technology will ever be possible for human beings. We can imagine many things... some of which can be forged into reality. But there are many of which cannot. In the areas of science fiction, there are far more concepts and ideas that remain pure fantasy than have materialized into real things we see today.