Would you use a transporter?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Third Nacelle, May 16, 2013.

  1. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

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    If you had a fully functional 24th-century transporter available to you, would you use it if it were guaranteed not to malfunction?

    With everything we know about the technology, do you really think a transporter moves you from one place to another, or does it destroy you in one place and recreate you in another? Do you really believe that the person who dematerializes at point A is the same person who rematerializes at point B?

    Or is this all "metaphysical nonsense" as Emory Erickson claimed?
     
  2. Lt. Uhura-Brown

    Lt. Uhura-Brown Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Would we be able to use all of the one-time plot features of such a device?

    Reverse aging, cloning, etc.?
     
  3. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'll take the second most efficient method of travel if it doesn't involve disassembling me at the molecular level.
     
  4. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    "Realm of Fear" pretty much proved that it does. We see the entire transport process from Barclay's POV, and his consciousness is uninterrupted.
     
  5. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

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    But if it simultaneously destroyed Barclay and recreated him there would be no interruption of consciousness, at least not from the POV of the new Barclay. The old Barclay: permanent interruption.

    I used to think the transporter was the #1 piece of technology from Trek I'd want to have, but the more I think about it the more iffy I am about it.
     
  6. Pondwater

    Pondwater Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yep. I would.
     
  7. Portal

    Portal Commander Red Shirt

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    sure why not I'd give it a try

    it seems very safe to me

    i'd probably have more fun with a phaser though
     
  8. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    A difference which makes no difference is no difference at all.

    This.
     
  9. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What makes you think that you have an uninterrupted consciousness now?

    I am pretty sure that humans have interruptions of brain activity all the time on such a small time scale that we don't notice any gaps...

    Your consciousness doesn't extend into the future or into the past, allthough you can access memories from the past which are stored in your brain.
    You always live in the present, which you can't even pinpoint as a specific point in time.

    My future self does not exist, there are just possibilities and probabilities.

    When I step into a transporter and get rematerialized on a starship in orbit I will be no different than before: a person with the same memories up to the transport the same arrangement of atoms and molecules.
    Sure, I would be a different person from that point on compared to the possible person that didn't get beamed up that might have been, but that would be no different than the difference between a person going right at the next corner from him going left instead.

    That is why the episode with the Riker clone is so great because they really are the same person and none of them has a better claim on "Riker's" life. It was a freakish accident that resulted in two possible existences of the same person.
    In a way it is sort of a locally confined alternate timeline case where both Rikers are trapped in the same reality.

    The whole thing only becomes problematic if you believe in a human soul, an independent undefined entity from your corporeal existance.

    There are cases where it could be argued that the person stepping into the transporter has been killed because the emerging person is clearly not an exact duplicate.

    The deaging of Pulaski; the aging shenanigans of Picard, Ro and Guinan; to a lesser degree the backup beaming of Picard when he was possessed and in that energy cloud.
    Technically there should have been strong moral objections to those actions.
    But they handwaved it with intact soul and memory explanations.

    Cudos to Voyager for tackling this issue very well with Tuvix.
    There they acknowledged that Tuvok and Neelix were in fact killed, a new person in his own right created then again killed and Tuvok and Neelix recreated.

    So the transporter can do both, but usually the person stepping out of the transporter is the same person in every conceivable way.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  10. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    But it makes a big difference to the guy who gets vaporized in order to create an exact copy at the other end.
     
  11. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. The transporter is a machine that kills you and create a duplicate who thinks he's you and gets to sleep with your wife. They'd never get me to use it.
     
  12. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Im pretty sure the transporter as seen in Star Trek does not destroy and reassemble you. If this were the case, then there would be no practical limit to the range of a transporter, assuming there where booths on both ends. I need to be on Vulcan in five minutes, but I'm still on Earth? No problem, break me down here and have a subspace signal send out to Vulcan to instruct their booth to build a new me. We see plenty of instances of data transmission over huge distances in basically instantaneous time.

    However, even in booth-to-booth transporter scenarios, the show assumes a limited range of a few tens of thousands of kilometers. If the matter that is you is being disassembled and reintegrated by the same "beam" then, I think, it's still you coming out the other end. Not an incongruant copy.

    --Alex
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    He's dead - he can't feel any difference, ever again. What he has is not a difference, its the complete absence of everything, including differences.

    The guy who gets created apparently can't feel any difference, either. And I'm that guy after using the device, so sign me in.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    How do I know that my consciousness doesn't die every instant - or, to simplify, during periods of unconsciousness like sleep?

    We believe that we're forever one being because we have memory - that's really our only evidence for this peculiar assumption. As long as that's passed on from the original to the copy, does it make a difference?
     
  15. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    Since he won't notice any difference: no, it doesn't.
     
  16. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

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    ^If a crane dropped a steel beam on your head from twenty stories up, you won't notice any difference either.

    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. Neither can you. If I transport from point A to point B, it will make absolutely no difference to the guy who steps of the pad at the other end. But it will make a hell of a difference to me.

    It's sort of like the ship of Theseus question... except instead of all the parts being gradually replaced over time, the entire ship is replaced all at once.

    Most of the matter in my body right now will, quite literally, have been flushed down the toilet six months from now. But it's a slow process and for everything I lose, I assimilate something else. I don't see how you can say a person, or any object, that has been totally converted to energy all at once, then back to matter and reassembled the same thing, no matter how identical.
     
  17. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No you're not. That's the point. Every time you use a transporter, you die. You're never the guy after, that's always a different guy.

    He will notice a big difference in that it will be the end of his life, he will cease to be, he will be bereft of life, he will have expired and gone to meet its maker. When you are alive, being dead is something completely different. It can't be more different than that: it's the opposite.
     
  18. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So you are assuming that what makes you you is intrinsically tied to a soul that obviously must be but can't be transfered to the "new" body.
    Because if all you are is the matter and energy making up your body and emerging conciousness is 100% the same before and after than there is no difference to you existing from one planck time to the next, it's just that you continue your existence in an entirely different place in space.
     
  19. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I am assuming that if you get vaporized, your life ends, even though you may have an identical twin somewhere. Really, I'm not making a metaphysical point. Yes, after you've been anihilated by the transporter beam, someone who is identical to you is created, and from a philosophical, cosmic point of view, I guess nothing has changed. But from a practical, existential point of view, your life ends, you can't do anything anymore, you're dead.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I am not. Only one of my potentially infinite bodily incarnations is.

    The point of the kill-copy transporter is that the individual is no longer consigned to a single body. If there's some sort of a "unique identity" associated with one of the incarnations, it's associated with all the rest as well, because it's not possible to assign different identities to identical copies.

    I mean, yeah, you could say "Hey you! You the third identical copy from the left!". But you can't do that with the kill-copy transporter, because the copy cannot be distinguished from the original even in terms of spatial coordinates, not at any point of time as the two won't exist in parallel. Any sort of "identity" assigned here is purely fictional and of no consequence to anybody except those who choose to care about utter fiction (yeah, yeah, all the folks here, but with a somewhat different flavor).

    There's no "me" that would exist outside the unbroken chain of incarnations, and nothing stops, nothing starts. Thus it's no different from blinking your eyes, or farting, except that your state of existence is altered much less between "before" and "after".

    Timo Saloniemi