There's no "I" in "Star Trek transporters"....

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Baldeee, Jan 15, 2017.


Would you willingly step into a Star Trek transporter and allow yourself to be "beamed" somewhere?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Undecided

  1. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Indeed. I consider myself to have no fear of the state of death itself, but I am rather addicted to experiencing. And while the person at the other end may think and be convinced it's me, and everyone else may think and be convinced it's me... I do consider myself to be more than what other people think.
    As a pychiatrist friend of mine once said: "that someone else might think they are me is their delusion, not mine." Or was he a patient pretending to be a doctor... I could never quite tell.

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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    If it includes Heisenberg scale events, quantum level effects, and/or chaotic amplification, it's a "measurement" issue you can't resolve at the substrate level - in principle. And it does.

    But that's not my central point. My central point is that it's a mistake to underestimate the nature of what you are dismissing as "merely unmeasured". Complexity is a qualitatively different kind of cause and effect, or "predictability", than one obtains from Newtonian considerations, as well as "unpredictability".
    (Just saving the typing)

    The point is: if you have to "measure" the relevant dream history of the subject for the past ten years to "determine" their decisions when they wake up in five minutes, and the remembered tone of voice of their last college Literature professor to predict the structure of the next sentence they are about to type, in what sense do you have a conflict between their freedom of will and your "determinism"?

    If what is "determining" my decisions are my thoughts, past dreams, immediately processed and chaotically filtered/amplified sensory inputs, exercise and cumulatively altered nature of my "will" as a mental event, and the like, what exactly is being claimed by someone telling me my freedom of will is an illusion? An illusion of what, exactly, different from the reality?
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
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  5. wellwisher Banned Banned

    People misunderstand will and choice. Humans evolved from animals, who are under natural instinct. Free will and choice is connected to the evolution of a secondary center of consciousness, that can make choices apart from instinct. Humans have two centers of consciousness, with each able to come to similar or different conclusion. Free will and choice is connected to the ego, having the options to make either choice. This has to do with an awareness of both options.

    As an example, say you play cards. Most people have a tell, which is connected to unconscious body language, that reflects what they think and feel. A good poker hand may make one sit up taller, or a bad poker hand may make them click their fingernails. They may not know they are doing this, since it comes from the unconscious center, which they deny even exists and or they are unconscious of. But others can see it, and will use this reflection against them.

    If they make a conscious effort to see their tells, in the mirror, so they can know when they appear, they can use will and choice, to override these. They will still feel the tell from the inside, but they can use will and choice to override the unconscious body language. This who are not conscious of this, have less will power, and often their behavior is based on unconscious processes created by habit. These habits offer no choice, but are often sold as choice.

    If you can only recite the states quo thinking in science, you have no choice. If you can recite these, question them and offer alternatives that are unique, your level of willpower have risen. Often people are stuck in one way, so to them are will and choice is an illusion.
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I think you rather misunderstand the arguments of those who side on freewill being an illusion.
    Other than that, though, what bearing does it have on the actual discussion of whether or not you would use a transporter? Would you use one? If so, why? If not, why not?
  8. TheFrogger Valued Senior Member

    On a side note I believe some sort of transporter/teleportation device would be better for us than a spaceship. The transporter could be sent out to other planets and "dialled" to confirm all readings before beaming us there.

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  9. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member

    Sounds like a good idea

    Of course other considerations come into play

    I might be OK with going a few hundred klms at the speed of light

    Going to another Galaxy 10 light years away would need a lot of thought

    Since Star Trek has faster than light space craft so I hope the technicians have produced faster than light transporters

    Has anyone have any ideas why the transporters produce the sound?

    Is it the transporter in operation or your body being assembled or something else?
  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Hmmm. The ST transporter has a limited range, though, as the signal/message/beam loses integrity after that. 40,000km seems to ring a bell.
    Mars, for example, at its closest to earth, is c.47m km.
    Even the moon is c.384,000 km.

    If you're simply talking about transferring information rather than matter (ST transporters apparently send the matter via sub space) then okay, but you'd need one heck of a lot of energy at the receiving end to construct the body.

    And if you're thinking of transporting across LY, then bear in mind that unless the signal can travel FTL, it will still take 10 years to transport something 10 LY away. Of course it's quicker than physical travel, but you would really only be talking about cloning rather than the ST transporter system.
  11. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member

    Come to think of it when the crew beam down to a planet no transporter is present

    Guessing the energy for reconstruction is contained in the body (no pun) to be reconstructed

    A planet which the space craft is flying over would be a easier target than a planet which you cannot see or even know is there 10 light years away

    Any need to detail the myriad other problems?
  12. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    There is no point to discussing this issue.

    The Star Trek Transporter is fairy tale or fantasy technology. It is not SciFi. It uses a a literary device to avoid the problem of transporting people from a star ship to a planet surface.

    There will never be a Star Trek Transporter due to the lack of receiving equipment at the destination.

    The Star Gate is SciFi rather than fantasy since it assumes equipment at the destination.

    BTW: I do not expect Star Gate technology due to all sorts of serious problems.
  13. Oystein Registered Senior Member

    But you did anyhow ????

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    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    There is a point in discussing it - here in the Philosophy forum.
    It is a thought experiment in the nature of identity.

    A transporter is merely a feat of engineering. There is no reason - in principle - why it can't be developed with sufficiently advanced technology. Therefore, for the sake of the discussion, we can posit it as a given.

    Note that the principle already exists - see previous references to Theseus' ship. We are "simply" expanding it to include humans.

    an object (ship or person) is recreated elsewhere, down to every particle - is it the same object/person?
    Yazata likes this.
  15. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    It seems you haven't read the OP, where the intention is not to discuss the technical possibility (or impossibility) of the transporter, but to discuss the philosophical matters that arise.

    And this is as philosophical a discussion as the issues of cloning, mind-uploading, AI, Theseus' ship (as mentioned), and so forth. The technical matters are ultimately irrelevant to such a discussion.
  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    The issue in this thread is trying to clarify what makes you the same person at time B that you were at time A. What determines continuity of personal identity?

    Would deconstructing your body at spatial point A and constructing a physically identical body at point B result in the original individual having been transported from A to B? Or would it represent the death of that individual and the creation of somebody else, a new and distinct consciousness (however similar that new individual is to the old one)?

    It's a deep rabbit-hole of a question that raises all kinds of weird Alice-type difficulties.

    In a way, it's an inquiry into the metaphysical problem of identity. What does it mean for two things to be the same? If they were the same in all respects, then they wouldn't seem be two things at all. (The identity of indiscernibles.) So what is the distinction between identity and similarity? There would seem to have to be some essential difference that allows us to distinguish them numerically as two rather than one. Which gets us into the nature of number and how it intersects with the physical world.

    This question becomes very relevant in the philosophical interpretation of micro-physics if we try to think of subatomic particles on the microscale as distinct individuals. (This particle does this and that particle does that.) My suspicion is that subatomic particles don't necessarily individuate like that and it might make just as much sense to say that one particle is doing this and that. That idea might cast light on things like entanglement. (They're entangled because they aren't two spatially-temporally separate particles that communicate instantaneously, they are literally the same particle in some respects. Or they are instantiations of the same quantum state, or something like that.)

    In the case of personal identity, what needs to remain the same for us to say that two examples of human being in general are in fact two instances of the same human being? With human identity, the whole thing becomes mixed up with the mind-body problem. What kind of identity does there have to be between what goes into the transporter and what comes out, to justify our saying that the individual that comes out has the same mind?

    And how does the temporal extension of our lives fit into this? We can slice a human life into temporal slices (me at time 1, me at time 2, me at time 3) such that each slice can be numerically distinguished. We needn't assume that each slice is 100% identical to the others either. I physically age, I gain and lose memories, I have different ideas, perceptions and emotions in each slice. But I assume that somehow it's all still me.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  17. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member

    I have never really seen that there is a mind body problem

    The body consists of all the physical aspects including the brain

    The brain activity is the mind

    For someone to go into a transporter be transported and remain the exact same person I would consider to be impossible

    Note I am not saying the process is impossible although I really suspect it is

    To remain the exact same person who went into the transporter not only would the brain be reconstructed EXACTLY the outcome of the activity occurring at the time of the transportation would have to be known

    Since once the transportation has taken place there is no way to test if the thoughts after transportation are exactly the same as those which would have occurred before the transportation

    So very true

    The Thames River flowing through London has been the Thames River for a long time dispite the water of the river between the outflow and inflow changing it constantly and the whole of the river being replaced many thousands of times

    The body cells have a output / input system in place though slightly different to a single aspect system like a river

    Some cells die and are not replaced

    Some have about a 7 year turnover

    Some organs have about a 1 year turnover some of their cells

    I think the best way to consider WHO you are is to that you began as you from conception remaining you during your life even though some bits were added at times and some discarded the process of being you continued

    Once you are dead and the processes stop there is no longer a you

    That's all folks

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  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Why would it not record the activity?
    Activity is not magic; it is the biochemical properties of particles at an instant in time. Thought is electro-chemical in nature. If a neuron were in the middle of firing, that means a bunch of calcium atoms were in the middle of migrating across a membrane (or some such biochemical machination). Presuming every atom were placed in its proper place, the thought would continue as if there'd been no interruption.

    Although this does bring up an interesting point about the hypothetical transporting technology.

    It is not enough to merely record and re-render the static location of every atom. Nor is it enough to record only mass particles. It seems likely that one might need to record both
    - the momentum of every atom (if an atom is rendered without its original momentum, maybe it won't reach its destination), and
    - the state of any photons in-transit within the system (what if an atom was about to get stimulated by a photon, and the system was replicated without that photon?)
  19. Oystein Registered Senior Member

    There was one episode of STNG (Relics) where Scotty (from the old series) was found alive because he put himself into an endless transporter loop and Geordi was able to retrieve him years later. This seems to be a better way to preserve people on very long flights, say intergalactic flights, rather than suspended animation.
  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Indeed. The implications of being able to record, store and retrieve an entire person at-will are huge.
    If you are ever injured or killed, you can be reset.
    If you get too old, you can be reset.

    'course, you'll lose all your memories. There an Arnie film out there, I think called The Sixth Day, that explores this.
  21. Oystein Registered Senior Member

    I can't imagine that transporter tech is possible. I think Heisenberg's QM uncertainty principle will preclude.

    There are 7 x 10**27 atoms in the human body -- you would need a lot of memory to store that plus more information: location of each atom and bonding plus possibly a host of other info.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    And yet another complexity, elaborated in post #12.
  23. Equinox Registered Senior Member

    To put another spin on it...

    If it turns out the 'many worlds' theory is true, and that there are infinite 'copies' of ourselves with more copies being made with each and every decision that we make, which one of us is the 'real' one?

    I'm new by the way, hello everybody!

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