Star Trek Teleportation

Author: keithprosser ,

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  • keithprosser
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    Is Star Trek teleportation OK?

    As I see it, teleporting works by creating an entity ('B') with the memories of entity A at some other point in space.  From the POV of B, it appears as if he or she has simply and conveniently changed location, but what about A?  A is completrly destroyed.   I suppose that if you are teleported 'You' are 'A'... so is B also you, or a stranger with your memories?

    If A has any awareness during the process and the teleport distance was just across the room say, then A could even be aware of B taking shape - would they think B was them as they felt themselves fading away?

    It's a given that teleporting is not technologically feasible,  but even if it was, would consideration of "identity" mean it could/should not be used?





     

  • drafterman
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    Star Trek teleportation involves the disassembly of a person or object into its constituent fundamental particles. Those particles are then converted, in some unspecified manner, into an energy beam which is then directed to a distant location. At the location, the energy is converted back into matter and then reassembled back into the original person or object.

    There is no duplication here a la quantum teleportation, but rather a moving of matter from one location to another, very quickly. By all accounts it is instantaneous and can cover distances of tens of thousands of kilometers.

    There is no "destruction" of anyone in the sense that the matter that makes them up is lost (though they are disassembled).

    I still think it's a valid question, because if I take you apart, you are now dead, even if I put you back together and restore you to life later.
  • keithprosser
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    So - in your opinion - does a teleporter move 'you' or does it kill 'you' and create a clone?

    As the original is lost (if it works properly) we don't know what the exprience of the original is.  It is certainly possible it is very painful and terrifying for the oiriginal but that is not apparent to the clone.

  • secularmerlin
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    --> @keithprosser
    During the next generation episode second chances https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Chances_(Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation) we learn that a transporter evident has led to an exact duplicate of Commander Riker being abandoned on the Nervala IV research base so yes the transporter makes duplicates.

    Furthermore during the Voyager episode Tuvix a transporter mishap combines Neelix with Tuvak into a third distinct being who is possesses the memories of both characters as well as elements of both personalities. During the episode Tuvix expresses fear of the process which would separate the two once more claiming the process will kill the unique life form known as Tuvix and that this being has a right to life.

    The star trek transporter is observable an existential nightmare which after only a single trip will leave whatever arrives on the transporter pad on the other side in eternal unanswerable quandary about the nature of self and more specifically whether or not you are your "true self" or only a copy. Worse there seems to be a lot of evidence that you are merely a copy and not the original.
  • keithprosser
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    So would you use it as a routine means of transport?

    btw - i am a tos purist.... teleport malfunctions have been a plot device from the start.   There are other ways to explore the nature of self and identity, but star trek is more fun than dry philosphy!
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @keithprosser
    I would die before I used a star trek transporter. I'm pretty sure it kills you anyway.
  • Wylted
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    --> @bsh1
    You gonna chime in on this?
  • Wylted
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    --> @secularmerlin
    It doesn't kill you. Humans are merely their memories.
  • drafterman
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    --> @keithprosser
    So - in your opinion - does a teleporter move 'you' or does it kill 'you' and create a clone?
    Neither. It kills you by taking you apart then puts you back together again.

    As the original is lost (if it works properly) we don't know what the exprience of the original is.  It is certainly possible it is very painful and terrifying for the oiriginal but that is not apparent to the clone.
  • drafterman
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Star Trek gets around the existential nightmare by accepting Dualism as true. That is, there is more to people than their physical make-up. In The Lonely Among Us Picard is beamed into space. His physical pattern is lost, but his "energy" pattern is retained. They are able to put the two back together by essentially restoring his physical body from a back-up of transporter logs.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @drafterman
    Star trek can accept dualism. Without evidence I cannot.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Wylted
    Does that mean that a complete enough journal is the same thing as the human that wrote it?
  • drafterman
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Neither do I, IRL, but it serves as a reason why it is not an in-universe existential crisis save for a few individuals treated as crackpots in this area.
  • drafterman
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    --> @Wylted
    You don't accumulate memories while in a transport buffer. Ergo you aren't alive when you're in it?
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @drafterman
    If it's just a few crackpots how do we account for a second Riker?
  • drafterman
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    --> @secularmerlin
    The matter that makes up Riker came from a second energy beam. The conditions were a complete fluke.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @drafterman
    Where did the dualistic entity (soul) come from? Does real Riker have half a soul?
  • drafterman
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Either that's something that can be duplicated too or Tom Riker is a philosophical zombie
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @drafterman
    Is there an observable difference between the two? How would the first option differ practically from the second?
  • drafterman
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    --> @secularmerlin
    The thing about philosophical zombies is that there is no observable differences.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @drafterman
    Then the transporter is a source of existential terror no matter what spin the show tries to put on it.
  • Wylted
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    --> @drafterman
    Not while in it but once reassembled I would say you are the same person. You are not alive for that brief period of time though
  • Swagnarok
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    The concept doesn't really make sense. A person is pulled apart molecule by molecule, and then each molecule is transported to the point of "materialization" and re-assembled. So the energy cost of transportation should be the same as with a live person. I mean, I guess it's more convenient than just shooting a person through a missile from point A to point B at nearly the speed of light, since no mass is being transported save that of the person in question.
    However, each molecule traveling at that speed is effectively a projectile; if a number of these were to strike, say, a wall then it should be enough to tear such apart. As with a cannon, you can only send it shooting it in a certain direction, so that for example it simply lands at some point on the surface of a planet, outside of any building or similar structure, though they'd still have to pass through a potentially thick atmosphere. You couldn't make it dodge matter with surgical precision; the best you could do would be to send it on some kind of curved or ballistic trajectory so that it could dodge some immediate obstacle that was accounted for by the computers before transport.
    Another glaring problem is that you'd have to make it stop at exactly the right point instead of impacting or bouncing off the floor/ground (in the case of a molecule that would help comprise the absolute bottom of a shoe), or continuing on its path (in the case of any other kind of molecule).

    Gene Roddenberry was a madman.
  • Wylted
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Does that mean that a complete enough journal is the same thing as the human that wrote it?

    Yes, It would have to be extremely complete, and now that I think about it animated, so maybe a computer program.
  • Wylted
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    --> @Swagnarok
    I always thought they just reassembled them from new matter to replicate that matter, not transport the matter itself.