Transporter Dilemma

A place for discussion and feedback regarding the Non-Prophets podcast and/or the Atheist Experience TV show.

Postby clippo » Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:26 am

Louisup5 wrote:You're all making it overly complicated. Just have the computer scan your every detail.


Easy for you to say. Please explain "every detail."

What we are trying to explain is that the laws of quantum physics make it impossible to describe "every detail.'
clippo
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:16 pm
Location: Sourthern California

Postby clippo » Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:26 am

Louisup5 wrote:You're all making it overly complicated. Just have the computer scan your every detail.


Easy for you to say. Please explain "every detail."

What we are trying to explain is that the laws of quantum physics make it impossible to describe "every detail.'
clippo
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:16 pm
Location: Sourthern California

Postby Cephus » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:32 am

donnyton wrote:That's possibly the best point so far. The whole dilemma requires that every measurable aspect of the original be transported over to the copy, when in fact we can only transport our elementary particles as well as quantum mechanics allows us to.

That is, if we measured the velocities of the atoms in our brain and tried to replicate them accurately, it would be impossible to know their relative positions. And if we knew their positions, it would conversely be impossible to know their relative speeds.

Whether this discrepancy translates into a different individual altogether, I don't know. Maybe the inaccuracies are small enough that the same mind would emerge. But wouldn't any small difference in the new mind differentiate the identity from the original?


You have to remember that we're talking about magic-tech here, you are recreated in perfect detail, down to the quantum level, instantly but somewhere else. Don't try to reason how it might work, it just does. This is Star Trek, not the real world. I think people are getting far too hung up on the mechanics.
Want to know more? http://BitchSpot.JadeDragonOnline.com
Religion is a mental disease.
Cephus
 
Posts: 246
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:55 am
Location: Redlands, CA

Postby Ughable » Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:34 pm

Another Sci-Fi dilemma related to the transporter for you gentlemen.

Imagine you're out there on your starship, and a battle comes your way that you most certainly cannot win. It gets to the point where your ship is about to be destroyed so every member of the crew loads up the escape pod with their saved brain states and sends it off into space knowing the original crew members are about to die.

In this little escape pod/brain ark the exact moments of their brains would be saved, to the copy it would simply appear that they put the "brain saver" device on their heads on the ship and then took it off at the nearest space station after the battle.

Back to the battle, your ship is only a few seconds from complete destruction, and backup arrives, you are saved, and there are no casualties. Now the task comes to you to go retrieve that brain ark you released moments earlier.

Would you erase the saved states of those brain copies?
Ughable
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:23 pm
Location: Round Rock

Postby Mythman » Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:30 am

Ultimately I think it boils down to each individual's choice. If you're the kind of person who's okay with erasing your saved brain state, then your saved brain state probably won't mind, so I wouldn't see it as really being immoral. If you aren't okay with it, then neither would your brain state, and so it would be immoral.

I guess it's sort of like assisted suicide in that respect, but still different...
Mythman
 
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 11:04 pm
Location: Virginia

Postby donnyton » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:30 am

Cephus wrote:You have to remember that we're talking about magic-tech here, you are recreated in perfect detail, down to the quantum level, instantly but somewhere else. Don't try to reason how it might work, it just does. This is Star Trek, not the real world. I think people are getting far too hung up on the mechanics.


That's just silly. If we're going to assume that we ARE actually made of atoms and particles and energy, we have to assume that the laws of physics apply here. If we're going to invent perfect magical recreation, we might as well invent a soul as a solution.
"To say that it's not okay to believe in something that may or may not be true is ridiculous. Some people like to have that mystical fantasy in the world. It adds flavor."
donnyton
 
Posts: 923
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:17 am

Postby Mythman » Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:21 pm

donnyton wrote:
Cephus wrote:You have to remember that we're talking about magic-tech here, you are recreated in perfect detail, down to the quantum level, instantly but somewhere else. Don't try to reason how it might work, it just does. This is Star Trek, not the real world. I think people are getting far too hung up on the mechanics.


That's just silly. If we're going to assume that we ARE actually made of atoms and particles and energy, we have to assume that the laws of physics apply here. If we're going to invent perfect magical recreation, we might as well invent a soul as a solution.


It's supposed to be a moral dilemma. You're assuming the circumstances and making your judgment. Whether it's possible is beside the point.
Mythman
 
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 11:04 pm
Location: Virginia

Postby Cephus » Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:13 pm

Mythman wrote:It's supposed to be a moral dilemma. You're assuming the circumstances and making your judgment. Whether it's possible is beside the point.


Exactly. Like I said, people are getting too mired in the minutia and ignoring the real point to the question. I don't get how they're trying to argue for realism when the whole transporter concept is utterly unrealistic to begin with. It came out of 1960s TV show for crying out loud! :)
Want to know more? http://BitchSpot.JadeDragonOnline.com
Religion is a mental disease.
Cephus
 
Posts: 246
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:55 am
Location: Redlands, CA

Postby Louisup5 » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:44 am

Ughable wrote:Back to the battle, your ship is only a few seconds from complete destruction, and backup arrives, you are saved, and there are no casualties. Now the task comes to you to go retrieve that brain ark you released moments earlier.

Would you erase the saved states of those brain copies?


I'd erase it. I don't think it really qualifies as a person unless it could actually think and make decisions, which it can't do as a static brain state file or whatever it is. Don't even think it qualifies as life if it's unchanging and static. It's just schematics.

Of course, you could avoid that yet again by simply destroying the body as soon as the brain scan is made, again. No need to choose between one of the two if there isn't two.

It leads to the chance that some despicable person could blow up the escape pod before the backup arrives killing you unnecessarily, but if you survive, that brain scan isn't you any longer anyway. If you revived it you'd just be creating a broke, identity-less (since you're still using yours) orphan.

EDIT: You know what? Screw the other guys finding it and blowing it up. If we can store all the data needed to teleport and send it somewhere, we have to have some pretty efficient chips. The whole thing could probably be the size of a baseball, which would be really hard to find in wreckage. Just have the brain ark pick up a signal coming from the rescue ship and turn on, instead of always broadcasting a traceable distress call. Having an enemy find it would be like the enemy finding a needle in a haystack when all of the individual parts of the haystack are flying off in different directions into space.
Louisup5
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:07 am
Location: Charleston

Postby donnyton » Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:38 am

Cephus wrote:
Mythman wrote:It's supposed to be a moral dilemma. You're assuming the circumstances and making your judgment. Whether it's possible is beside the point.


Exactly. Like I said, people are getting too mired in the minutia and ignoring the real point to the question. I don't get how they're trying to argue for realism when the whole transporter concept is utterly unrealistic to begin with. It came out of 1960s TV show for crying out loud! :)


No, this is not about whether it's possible or not.


The question of whether you could duplicate your quantum state may very well be the kicker to whether your consciousness is the same.

If we assume that we could magically duplicate our quantum state, it's obvious to a naturalist that the new human is indistinguishable from the original.

Does it have consciousness? Does it have rights? Free will? Do humans even have free will? Whatever you answer for the last question would immediately be transposed over to your clone.

So far, we don't even know if we ourselves have a choice in this universe governed by physical law. But if we do, our clones must as well, IF we clone properly. And therefore, a perfect transportation down to the quantum level would truly be a transformation.

Now, if we're assuming some kind of rough cloning where you're assembled to the best of ability, then the question becomes much tougher. Then the answer would depend on whether your mental state was a product only of rough neural activity or rather the absolute quantum state of your brain atoms.

That's why I have a problem assuming perfect duplication. The real debate lies in the dilemma of imperfect teleporation.
"To say that it's not okay to believe in something that may or may not be true is ridiculous. Some people like to have that mystical fantasy in the world. It adds flavor."
donnyton
 
Posts: 923
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:17 am

Postby Cephus » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:41 pm

donnyton wrote:That's why I have a problem assuming perfect duplication. The real debate lies in the dilemma of imperfect teleporation.


That's fine, but then you're no longer talking about Star Trek transporters, where perfect teleportation is the norm. You're left talking about a handful of situations where something went wrong and trying to reason from those few cases the morality of the vast majority.
Want to know more? http://BitchSpot.JadeDragonOnline.com
Religion is a mental disease.
Cephus
 
Posts: 246
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:55 am
Location: Redlands, CA

Postby donnyton » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:29 am

A discussion about Star-Trek-perfect teleporters is rather meaningless, since definitionally we would have to assume that anything we recognize as ourselves would have to be recognized in our duplicates.

Perfect teleportation is less of a dilemma than a rephrasing of the old "What makes us who we are?" question.
"To say that it's not okay to believe in something that may or may not be true is ridiculous. Some people like to have that mystical fantasy in the world. It adds flavor."
donnyton
 
Posts: 923
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:17 am

Postby DukeTwicep » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:35 am

Funny, I also had this exact discussion with myself after seeing a TNG-episode where Riker has transported from a planet to the ship, but the teleportation "beam" reflected and somehow he ended up in both places.

Now. If I were Riker, and the teleporter is removing particles from me and transmitting their info (or the particles themselves) I would die and a copy would show up at the ship. Everyone would think it was me but I won't be there, I'm in the void where many think we go when we die. Why do I think that this is the case?
Well. If it were so that my continuous experience could be transferred and I would show up at the ship, then I would Also have to show up at the planet, And I would be conscious of both bodies at the same time. I would have to be in both places at once because if the subjective unique experience can be transported then there is nothing that can really say whether I would show up in one place or the other, I would Have to end up in both. If this is in violation to the laws of nature then we have to assume that it is not possible to transport the subjective unique experience. There are theories in quantum mechanics that points to that our subjective unique experience may come from somewhere else, and that our brains are merely transceivers.
However, if our subjective and unique experience is limited to the brain, then a transport would destroy it, as the transport in star trek seemingly destroys the original body, or the atoms of it. It doesn't really matter if it's done gradually.
But basically, if we disregard the quantum theories then it's simply illogical that we can be present and have the same subjective unique experiences at two places at once. If that were the case, then they would have to converse with each other through wi-fi or something, or the subjective unique experience would not come from the brain alone. If it was outside and transmitting into the brain then perhaps it could be possible to have a clone and be present in both bodies at once. It would be like having 4 legs and 4 arms, 2 heads and all that, but in different places. Ultimately one would get used to it, but that would make you sort of a commander of 2 husks, and you could perhaps choose which body to interact with.. I donno. But it seems pretty unreal, so I don't think that's possible.
So, then we come to the conclusion that our subjective and unique experiences are bound to the continuity of our human body, if it's taken apart, things will fade out of existence and eventually things will turn black.
So, this means that teleportation Will Kill people. It will also create the same amount of people, but it Will kill. Now, the subjective unique experience might not be able to object to that as it's now not existing, but it's still killing, and saying "It might not object" is essentially saying that it might be OK to kill people with a hatchet just because they won't object to it after they're dead. That's pretty grim.

What has puzzled me even more is what will come after the continuity ends. I know that if I'm not able to observe my thoughts and be conscious, then time goes faster. If I'm not conscious at all then time is equal to 0, i.e. I teleport into the future when I sleep. So, if I die and stop being conscious, then time will again be reduced to 0, even if it's an infinity. And before I was born, time must also have been reduced to 0 in length. Will all be black? But, is that really what unconscious is? I mean, because we're not able to observe our thoughts or anything during non-REM sleep then it wouldn't be black, it would just be nothing, as time is reduced to 0 there is really nothing there, not even blackness. So one wonders what happens, when the infinity of time of not being conscious is reduced to 0. If an infinity Can be reduced to 0 that is. But perhaps my view of time is far from reality. It's somewhat sad that the ultimate mystery will only be revealed at the moment of discontinuity, and perhaps we won't even be able to contemplate on it when it happens.
That pisses me off a little.
DukeTwicep
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:45 pm

Postby Eyedunno1 » Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:08 pm

I recommend the SF story "Think Like a Dinosaur" by James Patrick Kelly to those interested in this dilemma. This is also the basis for the Outer Limits episode referred to in a previous post, and the episode is quite faithful to the story, aside from the ending - the Outer Limits episode takes a philosophical stand that the original story doesn't.

I also recommend a lot of Greg Egan books, especially Diaspora (in which copies of minds are sent all over the cosmos).

Me, I don't think it's that big of a deal whether or not the person copied is destroyed after being copied or kept around, so long as that person consents beforehand.
Eyedunno1
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:43 am

Postby SkyDaddy » Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:29 am

Clearly, LtCmd.Lore has seen the movie "The Prestige".
SkyDaddy
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:06 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Non-Prophets / Atheist Experience Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

cron