It's actually a serious science mystery

Homepage Forums Science It's actually a serious science mystery

This topic contains 25 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  PopeBeanie 4 months, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 26 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #41774

    Unseen
    Participant

    Dr. Hossenfelder doesn’t solve the so-called (Star Trek) transporter problem but she does perhaps the best job of explaining why it’s as challenging as any of the other unanswered mysteries science has yet to explain.

    #41775

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Live or dead would be irrelevant at that point in technology. There would be no death.

    #41776

    Autumn
    Participant

    “…the Kirk which we care about dies.”

    Problem solved: I do not care about any of the Kirks.

    In terms of the physical sciences aspect, I don’t find the question too concerning. If a practical transporter were ever created, questions like copy versus non-copy could be answered. We could define between living and dead states at any point in the process.

    But the identity aspect is one that I’ve never come to a conclusion on. It’s not just the whole Ship of Theseus aspect. Let’s assume that I define myself not as my material components, but rather the pattern that makes up my consciousness. In that case, as long as that pattern can be accurately transmitted, I don’t feel much in the way of existential concern wither it’s a copy or non-copy scenario. But in practical terms, it feels difficult to actually trust the transporter actually does perfectly replicate that aspect of me. It might just produce a highly similar version. Truthfully, that’s not actually so disconcerting rationally. It’s just, viscerally, it’s troublesome from a perspective of continuity and self-preservation.

    #41777

    “…the Kirk which we care about dies.”

    Problem solved: I do not care about any of the Kirks.

    Huh? But then we would never have experienced this?

    Captain, it’s the engines here. Scotty can’t take it anymore!!

    #41778

    Autumn
    Participant

    A rational counter argument. I rescind my previous position. You have changed my mind. Unfortunately, someone changing their mind on the internet is the final sign of the apocalypse.

    #41779

    _Robert_
    Participant

    A rational counter argument. I rescind my previous position. You have changed my mind. Unfortunately, someone changing their mind on the internet is the final sign of the apocalypse.

    😉

    #41780

    Unseen
    Participant

    I experience a cousin of the transporter problem when put under general anesthesia. Is the Unseen who wakes up after surgery the same Unseen who was put under? If I muster a bit of skepticism, I can entertain the possibility that the me who wakes up is another me, perhaps in a different stream of reality, while a very similar me died during surgery due to a fatal reaction to the anesthetic or the ineptitude of a drunken anesthesiologist.

    #41781

    _Robert_
    Participant

    ….or the ineptitude of a drunken anesthesiologist.

    Anesthesiologists have access to much better stuff than booze.

    Studies at the Oak Ridge Atomic Research Center have revealed that about 98 percent of all the atoms in a human body are replaced every year. You get a new suit of skin every month and a new liver every six weeks. The lining of your stomach lasts only five days before it’s replaced.

     

    #41782

    Autumn
    Participant

    I was also thinking of anesthesia, but for a different reason. I’ve been put under for two different surgeries. Both times the thought crept into my brain, “What if anesthesia doesn’t actually anesthetize, but simply removes the memory of surgery?” It’s not a rational thought when you really think it through; however, running it as a thought experiment is very different pre-surgery than it is post surgery.

    In a transporter copy scenario where the original gets destroyed, I’d have assumed this was an instantaneous and painless process such that my consciousness simply ends on one side and restarts on the other. Who would give repeat business other wise? However, if the copying portion of the process completes before termination of the original, the memory of termination would disappear with the original. What if it was an absolutely horrific affair, but there was simply no memory of it?

    On a tangent, but prior to my first surgery (these days termed “gender affirming surgeries”) I did very much have a sense of saying goodbye to someone I had known for a very long time. After all, the surgery was not reversible and it was a marked change.

    That was my first experience with anesthesia and total sedation. They brought me out of sedation while still in the OR. I remember thinking that the surgery was still happening and wondered if I should, perhaps, say something fearing the anesthetic had worn off, but then I stayed quiet because I felt it rude to interrupt the doctors while they were working. Incidentally, I hated the epidural. H-A-T-E-D.

    #41783

    Unseen
    Participant

    In terms of the physical sciences aspect, I don’t find the question too concerning. If a practical transporter were ever created, questions like copy versus non-copy could be answered.

    I don’t see how. It’s one thing to transport an object physically, though how do we prove that the being at the destination site is “the same” and not just a replica, a counterfeit? And if that is difficult, surely how to handle consciousness is even more problematic. If I’m transported, does my consciousness go uninterrupted or does mine die to be replaced by a replica that thinks it’s me and is me to itself and to others. Meanwhile, I’m quite literally dead.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #41785

    Autumn
    Participant

    In terms of the physical sciences aspect, I don’t find the question too concerning. If a practical transporter were ever created, questions like copy versus non-copy could be answered.

    I don’t see how. It’s one thing to transport an object physically, though how do we prove that the being at the destination site is “the same” and not just a replica, a counterfeit?

    It’s as simple as a) knowing the mechanism that drives the process, and b) not developing a semantic fixation on ‘same’. When you travel anywhere by any means, the individual that departs and the individual that arrives at the destination are not, strictly speaking, exactly the same.

    In a non-copy process, undergoing a radical state change for the purpose of teleportation is certainly much more extreme; however, depending on the integrity of the process, you could hypothetically be more ‘the same’ on arrival than you would have been by more conventional travel means.

    In a copy process, we know that you are not materially the same on the other side, even if functionally the copy is identical.

    As for whether or not you are dead during transport, this comes down to contextual definitions. In terms of organic biology, you are not living. In terms of law, you are not deceased. In terms of medicine, data science, or some merger of the two… well, that’s a matter that we could resolve in practice.

    #41786

    Unseen
    Participant

    It’s as simple as a) knowing the mechanism that drives the process, and b) not developing a semantic fixation on ‘same’. When you travel anywhere by any means, the individual that departs and the individual that arrives at the destination are not, strictly speaking, exactly the same.

    I think I smell The Ship of Theseus.

    Your argument seems to come down to “Well, you can’t prove it isn’t the same person because we are always changing and manage to maintain our identities anyway.” Right?

    Well, that you can’t prove it isn’t, isn’t the same as proving that it is. In the everyday life we all live day-to-day, there are no transitions raising the kind of doubt that the transporter problem raises.

    In a copy process, we know that you are not materially the same on the other side, even if functionally the copy is identical.

    As for whether or not you are dead during transport, this comes down to contextual definitions. In terms of organic biology, you are not living. In terms of law, you are not deceased. In terms of medicine, data science, or some merger of the two… well, that’s a matter that we could resolve in practice.

    Unfortunately, Autumn, when it comes to dying, it’s a fact, not a question of definition. If you are dead, you are gone. Or, to put it in the inverse, if your consciousness is permanently gone, you are dead. A new consciousness that thinks it’s you may be substitutable for you, but in the relevant sense, is a new you. A replica.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #41787

    After Kirk is beamed down from the Enterprise but before he is “re-assembled” he does not exist. There is no physical body. As the mind is part of the body (no dualism) then his consciousness does not exist.  So, for a period of time, Kirk does not exist. It does not matter if he is re-assembled after a Planck second or after 3 days. He is dead for the duration.

    I was thinking about anaesthetics too. Are we conscious during it? No, I don’t believe we are even though we are still alive. (But does the “I” or “me” exist during that time if we are not conscious?) We were basically in an induced coma.

    Maybe when Kirk is re-assembled, we could consider him in a similar fashion to the Ship of Theseus paradox? His atoms are unlikely to be situated in the same places afterwards. Yes, all atoms are the same but would his consciousness not be different if they were not in the same place afterwards?

    PS. Yes, that was a song but just not as we know it, not as we know it.

    #41788

    I think I smell The Ship of Theseus.

    You got there first Unseen, I am just giving it a fresh coat of varnish.

    #41789

    Autumn
    Participant

    It’s as simple as a) knowing the mechanism that drives the process, and b) not developing a semantic fixation on ‘same’. When you travel anywhere by any means, the individual that departs and the individual that arrives at the destination are not, strictly speaking, exactly the same.

    I think I smell The Ship of Theseus. Your argument seems to come down to “Well, you can’t prove it isn’t the same person because we are always changing and manage to maintain our identities anyway.” Right?

    No.

    Unfortunately, Autumn, when it comes to dying, it’s a fact, not a question of definition.

    Of course it is a question of definition as there isn’t a singular definition relevant to the case at hand. This has nothing to do with whether or not it is a matter of fact.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 26 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.