Why couldn't they use a transporter to replicate Data?

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by The Borg Queen, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. The Borg Queen

    The Borg Queen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Does it matter?
    Data's technological structure probably wasn't a unique and complex molecular structure like cells & DNA, so why couldn't they have adapted a transporter to be able to replicate Data?

    Or even used the same technique they used that created Thomas Riker?
     
  2. RaymondJames

    RaymondJames Captain Captain

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    Thats beyond my knowledge of transporters and stuff but The whole Data death has too many questions and what if's. The whole movie wasn't good and his death was just not done any justice.

    How about a Why couldn't they transfer his "brain/memory/knowledge" into a hologram, in theory a hologram and data are not too muh unalike in some ways.
     
  3. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Replicators work on the mollecular level. Presumably Data, like people, has quantum level components that cannot be replicated and would be "lost" in the translation. It also seems building a stable "posotronic" brain is harder than it seems as Data did it when he built Lal and she ended up failing.
     
  4. sbk1234

    sbk1234 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Do you mean there were some holes left open in the Nemesis plot?
     
  5. Bacl

    Bacl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Heresy! :lol:
     
  6. Green Shirt

    Green Shirt Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Time to open the "Ol Can-o-Worms".
     
  7. Jadzia

    Jadzia on holiday Premium Member

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    I imagine it is similar to why Data didn't want to be disassembled by Maddocks, as the essence of his experiences would not be reproduced by replicating the technology.

    How this is different to people being replicated, I don't know, but Data used the transporter many times so it shouldn't be any different.

    Taking a step back... See that many technologies in Sci-fi would be far more powerful in reality than in how they are used in the programme.

    Transporters for instance provide the ability to replicate people. Imagine how humanity would use that if we ever did have them. People would be able to create a 'backup' of themselves in case they died, they could restore themselves from backup. So there is no permanence to death, and people could take more risks in life, and play sports with often fatal outcomes.

    In that world, death becomes trivialised, and little more than a penalty box.

    Social attitudes would be radically changed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, probably they don't.

    I mean, replicators as described could most probably replicate people, if run at very high resolution. But high resolution is expensive: it calls for lots of expensive components running for a long time. Even the best replicators in starshipboard use thus probably aren't built for such high resolution, since most applications don't require it. In some laboratory, PhD Frankenstein could quite well be replicating people using very expensive special equipment, but it doesn't appear to be commonplace, at least not aboard starships. Replication of living tissue is a viable medical procedure, as in TNG "Ethics" and VOY "Emanations", but it is a very nonstandard and exotic one.

    But transporters have to use high resolution to keep their users alive. Or do they? I'd argue not. For the same reason replicators aren't any better than they absolutely have to be, transporters probably "cheat" as much as possible in order to be practicable. And the associated technobabble suggests that a transporter breaks the user down to components known as "phased matter stream" and then moves that stream from A to reassembly at B. And that is very, very different from building something at B from scratch.

    Think of moving your son's giant LEGO castle away from the living room before the guests come. You can't carry it in one piece - but you don't want to break it into any smaller pieces than you absolutely have to, or the effort of reassembly will become overwhelming. Every time you disconnect a piece, you will have to make a (mental?) note of where it went. If you break it into elementary pieces, you will have very light loads to carry, but you will also have a giant library of notes needed for reassembly.

    A transporter probably doesn't "break" the user into any smaller "pieces" than it has to - and the pieces themselves then carry part of the "assembly information" with them, liberating the computer from having to process that information. So Data can be transported from A to B, because his "pieces" carry part of the "assembly information" with them, but the machine cannot build a new Data at B because even if somebody sent undifferentiated raw materials there, there wouldn't be enough assembly information to turn those into Data.

    A duplicate Data would require PhD Frankenstein's very special replicator, plus a scanner that analyzed Data to a much, much higher resolution than transporter scanners do. It could probably be done that way - but there would be easier ways to do it.

    Now, we have actually witnessed the replication of a highly complex machine without the benefit of out-of-the-ordinary hardware or effort. In DS9 "Rivals", a probability-altering device was replicated simply by letting a standard Cardassian replicator scan the original. Moreover, this standard replicator was able to make enlarged copies.

    However, we could argue that the alien machine didn't actually require all that high a resolution. Many amazing machines of today are actually built of relatively simple and coarse components, but they would still dazzle an 19th century observer who didn't understand the operating principles and had never witnessed this sort of action in nature. This may have been the case with the alien spheres of "Rivals", too.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Renvar

    Renvar Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    ^I get what you're saying, but in this case I don't think it's quite right. Transporters have to run on the quantum level resolution for organic beings to survive a transport. Quantum is the smallest you can go in this scale, so basically it is like reassembling that LEGO castle one piece at a time. It's tedious and it takes a lot of data storage, but apparently it's not a problem for those FTL computers of the 24th century. If transporters were to "cheat" as you say, then they would have to be scanning on a lower resolution, like atomic or molecular. That would allow them to break apart matter in bigger chunks, and therefore require less data storage to reassemble them, but it would probably be detrimental to an organic being.

    "Second Chances" also seems to confirm that raw matter/energy can be used to recreate an object from the transporter data. It's not as if Thomas and William Riker were created from the same lump of matter that was the original person. The second containment beam must've contained an amount of raw material from the Potemkin.
     
  10. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    Sounds like the makings of a new STAR TREK series..I like it!

    Rob
    Scorpio
     
  11. Locutus  of  Board

    Locutus of Board Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The whole lot about Tom Riker was a farce, simply because 1/2 of one's matter and another 1/2 of one's matter does not make 2.

    Also, see the disastrous "Rascals" for more transporter chicanery.
     
  12. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    The transporter's "abilities" have often been shown to be quite extensive. Essentially we've been shown the transporter is a fountain of youth.

    You've got the situation in "Rascals" where components of Picard's, Guinan's, Ro's and Keiko's DNA linked to aging are removed turning them into children and it was determined that they'd just simply age normally after then. So, basically, all one has to do is run himself through a transporter, remove that component and voila you start your life over from adolescence.

    Then there's "Unnatural Selection" where a gentic experiment giving engineered "children" an active immune system leads to Pulaski and others contracting a virus that caused rapid aging by mutating DNA. Pulaski was "cured" by running her through the transporter and "filtering" her with a sample of her DNA pre-infection thus making her young again. (Well, "less old." ;))

    Now granted, there's "real-world" science problems with both of these situations as your age isn't programed into your DNA. But in Trek's "science" there's some component of DNA (or other body cell) that is linked to DNA and manipulation of the transporter can take advantage of this.

    Screw the Briar Patch! Star Fleet has a fountain of youth installed by the dozens in each and every one of their ships, bases, and facilities. Just have someone keep a sample of their "DNA" from a time in their youth or just remove their "adolescence cells" and they can live their life over again!

    I guess it's possible people in Trek's time (and there's much evidence to this) that people are so greatly advanced and enlightened that notions such of these are pretty much out of the question. But, still, the option is there. If they can use Pulaski's DNA as a "filter" to cure of a "disease" and restore her to normal then they should be able to cure almost any severe illness someone could contract.

    There was even an episode where Picard beams himself out "energy only" and later is resurected (using his own body's energy) and the transporter's trace to restore him.

    I think the Transporter has been given too much power in this manner.
     
  13. Renvar

    Renvar Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Agreed. But it's such a fun plot device at the same time. Oh, the humanity! :scream:
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    If it were possible to use the transporter to scan the subject down to the last detail and tear down and rebuild him, then the transporter could make infinite copies of the most intricate things. But this is not what we observe: at the endpoint of the journey, the phased matter stream is absolutely needed, or no reconstruction can take place. It is not just a case of sending across some abstract information for generic assembly of further Datas - it's a case of sending the original package, in a different, "phased" form.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    That's not something one would wish upon oneself: technologically induced dementia where you lose everything past your last backing-up date when you are rebooted, and have to be brought up to date by your (no doubt rapidly dispersing) friends.

    The "Rascals" case is very different in that our heroes retained their memories while in the juvenilized bodies. That's eternal life and eternal youth for ya all right. But it wasn't done by the transporter. It was done by the freak spatiotemporal anomaly of the week. Without the anomaly, the transporter probably couldn't inflict that sort of specific "genetic damage" (actually, more like selective reassembly).

    And the remedy Crusher and O'Brien devise need not be much different from the one done on Pulaski - except Picard seems to retain some sort of a memory of the events, as he's concerned about his re-lost hair and comments on how everything suddenly looks smaller. Doesn't really mean Picard would retain full memory, though - he might still have essentially lost the past few days.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. The Borg Queen

    The Borg Queen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Does it matter?
    Data, being technological, shouldn't need as high-resolution as biological beings, as he doesn't have cells or DNA.

    The level of resolution needed to replicate intricate computer components should be the same as for replicated food, getting the molecular structure without needing atomic-level specification.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    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?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Renvar

    Renvar Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    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?

    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.

    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. :vulcan:

    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. :lol:
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    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.

    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
     
  19. Hermiod

    Hermiod Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  20. Renvar

    Renvar Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    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.

    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.