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Tags star trek , teleportation

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Old 3rd December 2012, 02:05 AM   #281
blobru
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I'd really like to know if there is anyone who would not use the teletransporter, but who would accept the freezing and revival process (without teleportation in between) I described earlier.

Assume an important, but not pure-survival, reason for doing either one, such as a space mission.

Respectfully,
Myriad

If I understand you correctly, I would make the argument for that choice (an aside: I won't say I would choose it, because committing to a choice seems to lead people to identify with it and then become quite passionate in defending it, which is entertaining to watch, but often disastrous for rationality; at least that's the philosophers' take, and my experience and observation as well) as follows:

Cryonics (freezing) doesn't destroy the local material system; it merely 'freezes', i.e. suspends its activity (one of which, or an ensemble of which, is described as "consciousness", though it's irrelevant whether the subject [the local material system] is conscious or unconscious at the time of the freezing). Cryonics (freezing) works by removing all the heat from the local material system: thermodynamically, for the system, entropy goes to zero, and time with it. Relative and external to the frozen system, time will continue, but in the local frame of the frozen system, without heat, without change, thermodynamically and relativistically, it doesn't; time stops. So if you believe the "mind" (I prefer mind to "consciousness", where it includes subconscious states, as less confusing, making the obvious point that a mind, as an activity of a body, derives from and is only as continuous as that body; helps avoid [hopefully] charming but childish questions like "but where does my consciousness go when I'm asleep?" - like asking "but where does my walking go when I'm sitting down?") is an activity of the body, then cryonics makes perfect sense. However, if you believe that the mind is an activity of the body, and here we mean "a mind", a particular mind, is an activity of a particular body materially localized in spacetime, locus of a particular synchronous frame-of-reference and point-of-view both relativistically and phenomenologically, then you will not use the teletransporter, as it destroys the body, and obviously, that body's "mind" (all the activities of that body we describe and label as "mind") with it.

Phew - sorry, got way explicit there, but sometimes, with tricky questions like this, it can't be helped (as the essence of philosophy and rationality - explicit definition: specificity & consistency - even if it makes for explanations no one wants to read (see the various "I HATE PHILOSOPHY!" threads). In shorter form, if minds are activities of bodies, something a body does, then when a body doesn't exist, neither do its activities (which include its mind). Destroy a body, destroy a mind. Cryonics doesn't destroy a body, just removes the heat and time from it (speaking thermodynamically and relativistically); from the local material spatiotemporal perspective of the body, activities (including mind) persist with it and are continuous, as no time passes (until the body's thawed out - heat and change and time reintroduced into the local system). Therefore: freeze me? Yes, please. Teleportation, according to the logic of this argument, since it does destroy a body, destroys a mind too (for the mind is the body, completely dependent on it; specifically, a subset of its material processes, made real by the body in a local material system), the mind of whoever (whatever material system) steps into it. Therefore: teleport me? No, thanks.

Aw, hell. Still way too long. Gist of it: if a mind is a subset of a body's activities, then destroying a body destroys its mind. Why choose cryonics and not teleportation? Cryonics doesn't destroy the body (or its mind); teleportation does.

Anyway, apologies for... my clone's over-specific, long-winded and off-putting stop-and-go parenthetical style; if only I had written it, it would have been much clearer (well, somewhat clearer; perhaps; wouldn't bet on it though). (More seriously, it is a tricky question - look at the disagreement in this thread! - so any argument for or against or in-between is bound to be as well, I suppose).
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Old 3rd December 2012, 04:54 AM   #282
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My initial feeling about using the transporter over some large distance is "hell no".

Suppose however that one of the early test models of the transporter contains the body to be "transported" in a sealed container (and perhaps also made of transparent material so we can imagine observing the test from the outside). In this case the person being "transported" is only very briefly and more or less instantaneously dissolved into a vapour of particles before being very quickly reassembled again out of exactly the same set of atoms, etc.

Was he "destroyed"? Did he die?

Suddenly it doesn't seem so clear and thus I find this version easier to accept as something I might do, perhaps in return for a very handsome reward for being the first test subject.

It doesn't seem that it should really matter and I suspect a large part of this has something to do with the knowledge that it's the same atoms and the same place with only a very brief period of "death".

On the other hand if "real magic" was apparently possible, would you volunteer for an experiment where Harry Potter would turn you into a flying pig for a day before eventually waving his wand again to return you to your previous human form?

I'm not sure that the teletransporter thought experiment is really all that different from considering being Harry's test subject, despite all the entertaining discussion it produces.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 06:32 AM   #283
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Good point. At present, the "real magic" of Star Trek's teleporter is apparently impossible (apparently to me that is, assuming my understanding of the physics and implications correct, no small assumption), unless you ignore the relevant theories of relativity, thermodynamics and quantum mechanics (see No-teleportation theoremWP, previously posted). If those theories change or are replaced, so it's no longer apparently impossible, then it becomes a "serious" discussion. Until then, it's not, and shouldn't be taken seriously, any more than kids arguing in a playground over whether Superman would beat the Hulk in a fight (of course he wouldn't: Kal-El is strong and fast and can fly and everything, thanks to the rays of Earth's yellow sun; but Hulk strong, Hulk smash! Case closed).
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Old 3rd December 2012, 06:46 AM   #284
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Originally Posted by xtifr View Post
No I won't. There'll be one me, just as there was before. If you can't tell whether a "death" really occurred without studying the intricate details of the mechanism, then it's a difference that makes no difference.
Im confused as to how you manage to see it as you do.

If you created a machine that could make an exact copy of you in every single way even down to your memories before you pressed the "ACTIVATE" button, why wouldnt you feel bad about putting a gun in your mouth and blowing your brains out? Its not like you will pull the trigger and open your eyes as your copy, you'll be dead, you'll be gone. Your copy may be alive and there may be no way to tell the difference, but your brain will be dead.

Maybe you actually see life very, very different...
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Old 3rd December 2012, 06:47 AM   #285
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Originally Posted by blobru View Post
Good point. At present, the "real magic" of Star Trek's teleporter is apparently impossible (apparently to me that is, assuming my understanding of the physics and implications correct, no small assumption), unless you ignore the relevant theories of relativity, thermodynamics and quantum mechanics (see No-teleportation theoremWP, previously posted). If those theories change or are replaced, so it's no longer apparently impossible, then it becomes a "serious" discussion. Until then, it's not, and shouldn't be taken seriously, any more than kids arguing in a playground over whether Superman would beat the Hulk in a fight (of course he wouldn't: Kal-El is strong and fast and can fly and everything, thanks to the rays of Earth's yellow sun; but Hulk strong, Hulk smash! Case closed).
Probably a better discussion would revolve around a true artificial intelligence, something that is currently not possible but is at least theoretically more plausible than the transporter.

There were several characters in the Star Trek universe who, despite being artificial beings, were nonetheless conscious and were given the same rights to self-determination as anyone else. The problematic one was the Doctor from Voyager, who was not a physical entity but merely a computer program.

The writers dealt with the existential difficulties by giving the Doctor an impossible property: His program could not be copied from one place to another, but only moved. This is nonsensical, since moving is the same process as copying, but with an extra step: Deleting the original.

This was a necessary plot point not only to increase the sense of danger (Oh, noes, what happens if we can't get him back?!?) but to convince the viewers that the Doctor was a "real" entity, who could die just like a human. There was no possibility that he could be simply restored from a backup, because that would somehow "cheapen" the sense that he is a vibrant and unique individual.

This brings up the reality of what it means to make an exact copy of something extremely complex: It is insanely difficult to do. Unless the operating system supporting a program is exactly the same, a complex computer program will not behave the same way when moved from one location to another. There are just too many initial states and other variables to deal with, and here we're talking about something far simpler than a sentient being.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 07:27 AM   #286
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Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
Yes, I would feel fine. Because I know there is no persistent "me" anyway and there never was, that it's just an illusion. Because I know that the copy is so similar to me that I would not lose anything significant. Because I know that this world view is simple, fits the data perfectly and doesn't require magic.
Hi, I've been away from this thread for the weekend, so If, I've missed replying to anyone, let me know.

I'm intrigued by this answer, Are you a materialist Croc? because I don't think I've come across a materialist yet who would be happy to be killed in this case?
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Old 3rd December 2012, 07:34 AM   #287
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
They are and are not individuals, which I appreciate doesn't help very much! The brain learns to create the illusion for itself of having a personal self that is doing and experiencing, but it doesn't actually have such a thing.

Thus it seems that when the original is killed so something tangible is lost - this experiencer or doer. If you yourself imagine getting into the pod and pushing the button, probably a voice inside is saying "I'm going to die!" Am I right?

But this is the illusion. There is, according to materialism, no "I" that is going to die here, just a body dematerialising, and being replaced with an identical copy.

Some body dies, but some one does not.

Nick
Thanks for replying, sorry it's taken so long to get back to you.

But there are still two separate illusions being generated are there not? one in each copy? Even if they are identical I cant see how it doesn't matter if one of them dies. I think what I'm trying to say is even though the "I" is an illusion it is the product of the living matter that is about to die, having an identical copy doesn't stop that "I" from dying.

Make any sense?
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Old 3rd December 2012, 07:53 AM   #288
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Originally Posted by Earthborn View Post
I don't think that is theoretically possible. The light from a light bulb seems pretty similar after it has been off for a while (despite being made from completely different photons), but my consciousness seems to constantly change; I certainly don't feel the same after a good night's sleep than before it.
It may have that difference; but like the light bulb, the consciousness is purely a function of the makeup of the light bulb.

For what it's worth, the reason that your consciousness doesn't "feel the same" after a good night's sleep is because the physiological feedback from your body is different, not because the consciousness process itself is inherently different. If you were to fill the light bulb with a certain type of gas, or paint the light bulb with a certain type of paint, the light would "look different" despite the mechanics behind the light's coming about still being the same.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 08:00 AM   #289
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Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
Yes, I would feel fine. Because I know there is no persistent "me" anyway and there never was, that it's just an illusion. Because I know that the copy is so similar to me that I would not lose anything significant. Because I know that this world view is simple, fits the data perfectly and doesn't require magic.
Would you volunteer to be killed if, say, a volunteered-death solution was proposed to help alleviate overcrowding?
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Old 3rd December 2012, 08:13 AM   #290
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Originally Posted by blobru View Post
Aw, hell. Still way too long. Gist of it: if a mind is a subset of a body's activities, then destroying a body destroys its mind. Why choose cryonics and not teleportation? Cryonics doesn't destroy the body (or its mind); teleportation does.

I suspect that others share your view. I've rarely seen the same kind of "I would never do that!" reaction to cryo suspension as depicted e.g. in Alien (or, if you prefer, in Austin Powers) that people often have to Star Trek teleportation. Perhaps because if people saw that kind of suspension as having their current conscious self eradicated and replaced with a similar but different one, then they'd have to start wondering about ordinary sleep, unconsciousness, and medical anesthesia too.

But of course, there are the obvious follow up questions.

What if the cryonically frozen person was disassembled, the individual atoms transported to a new position, and then reassembled (still frozen) atom for atom. And then later revived? Would that make any difference in the outcome, and if so, what difference?

And, what if the cryonically frozen person was disassembled, and then reassembled (still frozen) atom for atom using different atoms of the same types? And then later revived? Would that make any difference in the outcome, and if so, what difference?

If in any of these scenarios the original person dies, when does the death happen? Does it happen when the frozen body is disassembled, or does the disassembly somehow project death backward in time to when the person was frozen?

Respectfully,
Myriad
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Old 3rd December 2012, 10:15 AM   #291
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Originally Posted by Thunderchief View Post
Thanks for replying, sorry it's taken so long to get back to you.

But there are still two separate illusions being generated are there not? one in each copy? Even if they are identical I cant see how it doesn't matter if one of them dies. I think what I'm trying to say is even though the "I" is an illusion it is the product of the living matter that is about to die, having an identical copy doesn't stop that "I" from dying.

Make any sense?
Yes, makes perfect sense.

The thing is... the illusion is not being experienced by anything. The illusion is that there is someone or something experiencing.

The situation is like perfectly reproducing a hoop and then saying that the hole in the centre isn't the same!

Nick
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Old 3rd December 2012, 10:54 AM   #292
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I suspect that others share your view.
This view (I'm trying not to cop to any view; and doing my usual bang-up job, apparently).

Quote:
I've rarely seen the same kind of "I would never do that!" reaction to cryo suspension as depicted e.g. in Alien (or, if you prefer, in Austin Powers) that people often have to Star Trek teleportation. Perhaps because if people saw that kind of suspension as having their current conscious self eradicated and replaced with a similar but different one, then they'd have to start wondering about ordinary sleep, unconsciousness, and medical anesthesia too.
We do have a tendency to identify ourselves with our consciousness, don't we (psychological basis of a lot of metaphysics and religion, perhaps). The fact that we are bodies that do things we label "consciousness" and many other things we're not conscious of yet obviously depend on to survive seems abhorrent. Fair enough. But abhorrent or not, if we are our bodies, then there's not much reason to wonder about sleep, unconsciousness, anesthesia, etc. We, parts of our living body, are conscious sometimes, and sometimes we/they're not.

Quote:
But of course, there are the obvious follow up questions.

What if the cryonically frozen person was disassembled, the individual atoms transported to a new position, and then reassembled (still frozen) atom for atom. And then later revived? Would that make any difference in the outcome, and if so, what difference?
Hmm... a 'frozen' atom, that would be fun (almost said "very cool" but caught myself in the nick of local spacetime, cause I like to think I'm above that sort of thing). Of course, from physics we know that you can't 'freeze' atoms in the sense of suspending them in a certain state: if you removed all "heat" (transferable energy) from the system, the atoms wouldn't exist; and cooling atoms very close to absolute zero makes them decohere into boson blobs (Bose–Einstein condensateWP), erasing the atomic state your were hoping to transport for reassembly. So (assuming my understanding of the physics correct [and the physics itself correct]), with the premise we're already into storybook-land, which can be a nice place to visit (hi Invisible Pink Unicorn, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Thor, Apollo, Christ, Krishna, Xenu, Xena, Wally and The Beaver!), even illuminating (morally, I'm very much inspired by Capt Kirk, in spite of all the sudden __ pauses __ in his __ line __ delivery, which I don't think he can help and I wish people wouldn't make fun of), but there's no way we and our consciousness can live there (unfortunately: Star Trek looks like fun).

The crux of it (the physical obstacle to teleportation; see again: No-teleportation theoremWP) seems to be obtaining, preserving, and transferring information [at that scale]. It's not an issue in storybook-land because the information's all in the author's head and the fans just go along for the ride; it is an issue in reality, however, because physics, at least according to my understanding of its current form, doesn't permit it.

Quote:
And, what if the cryonically frozen person was disassembled, and then reassembled (still frozen) atom for atom using different atoms of the same types? And then later revived? Would that make any difference in the outcome, and if so, what difference?
In a universe where that were possible, I'd say jump into the teletransporter in any form (maybe -- the devil's in the fictional, metaphysical details). The physics of our universe seems to constrain us to one place and time and body, one spacetime locus of materially-instantiated 'information', however, and I don't see any way to squirm out of it (at the moment: will gladly see one if someone can point it out [without rubbing my nose in it too much, please; fragile ego and all]).

Quote:
If in any of these scenarios the original person dies, when does the death happen? Does it happen when the frozen body is disassembled, or does the disassembly somehow project death backward in time to when the person was frozen?

Respectfully,
Myriad
If those scenarios were possible, that would certainly be difficult to work out. Maybe physics is the universe's way of protecting us from having to.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 12:11 PM   #293
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Originally Posted by Thunderchief View Post
I'm intrigued by this answer, Are you a materialist Croc? because I don't think I've come across a materialist yet who would be happy to be killed in this case?
Hardcore materialist, hardcore reductionist. Materialism basically just states that everything can be traced back to matter/energy on the fundamental level.

I've never stated anything saying otherwise. On the contrary, it's the anti-teleporter crowd that always tries to introduce the mysterious magical property of some persistent self (either implicitely or explicitely).

To be honest, Thunderchief, I think that you haven't got your head around the concept of the illusionary self yet, or (if you have) you've not yet managed to internalize it.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 12:15 PM   #294
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Would you volunteer to be killed if, say, a volunteered-death solution was proposed to help alleviate overcrowding?
If a recent copy of my body is allowed to live on, if the death process is painless and if the copy would receive, let's say, a considerable sum of money for my inconveniences then sure, kill me.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 02:07 PM   #295
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Oops. Didn't complete thoughts, didn't know I posted.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 02:12 PM   #296
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Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
If a recent copy of my body is allowed to live on, if the death process is painless and if the copy would receive, let's say, a considerable sum of money for my inconveniences then sure, kill me.
Surely not - the point is to alleviate overcrowding; creating a copy of you and then killing you would result in no net change.

Nope; no copy, no sum of money (since you'll be dead and can't spend it). We'll go ahead and make it painless. Still game?

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Old 3rd December 2012, 02:43 PM   #297
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Originally Posted by Edx View Post
Your copy may be alive and there may be no way to tell the difference, but your brain will be dead.

Maybe you actually see life very, very different...
I guess I also see 'life very, very different' to you.

If I lose a hand or a foot or both - my experience of 'me' existing continues.

If 'I' lose my current meat sack - but my conscious thoughts, memories and feelings are magically transported into another meat sack - the thing that 'my' current meat sack regards as 'I' continues to exist. If an exact copy of my body is used, it's no different to restoring a sector-by-sector image of my old hard disk onto a new one. I'm merely shifting the OS to another 'box'.

Seems obvious to me.

Personally, I think it gets a lot more interesting when considering relocation of one's I-ness to a different brain-host: whether that host be human, non-human or even artificial.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 02:55 PM   #298
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Surely not - the point is to alleviate overcrowding; creating a copy of you and then killing you would result in no net change.
I was under the impression the overcrowding was because too many copies of people had been made (by using teleporters wrongly or whatever).

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Nope; no copy, no sum of money (since you'll be dead and can't spend it). We'll go ahead and make it painless. Still game?
Do you think I'm crazy or tired of life or what? Of course not. I don't see what this has to do with teleporters or philosophy of self.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 03:06 PM   #299
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Originally Posted by Halfcentaur View Post
I'm frankly shocked Doctor McCoy was coerced into using a transporter at all as he knew exactly how it worked and he knew he was being destroyed only to be replaced by a perfect copy, memories and all.

In one of the early Trek novels from the 70s he said:

It's just creepy. And it makes me sad to think of all the times my favorite TNG characters died before my eyes, yet I never realized it.
I think it was from the Blish novel Spock Must Die. If I remember correctly Spock responded with " A difference that makes no difference is no difference at all". I'm with Spock on this one.

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Old 3rd December 2012, 03:16 PM   #300
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Would I use a Star Trek type transporter? . . . Yes I would . . . eYs lowud I . . .
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Old 4th December 2012, 02:45 AM   #301
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
Yes, makes perfect sense.

The thing is... the illusion is not being experienced by anything. The illusion is that there is someone or something experiencing.

The situation is like perfectly reproducing a hoop and then saying that the hole in the centre isn't the same!

Nick
I think we must have a different definition of "experiences", The "I" my well be illusionary but in order for it to be known about it must be experienced. The "vision" of a oasis in a desert in illusionary, but it is experienced. We could not discus it otherwise.

The hole in the centre isn't the same. it's in a different place and time.
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Old 4th December 2012, 03:01 AM   #302
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Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
Hardcore materialist, hardcore reductionist. Materialism basically just states that everything can be traced back to matter/energy on the fundamental level.

I've never stated anything saying otherwise. On the contrary, it's the anti-teleporter crowd that always tries to introduce the mysterious magical property of some persistent self (either implicitely or explicitely).

To be honest, Thunderchief, I think that you haven't got your head around the concept of the illusionary self yet, or (if you have) you've not yet managed to internalize it.
You maybe right about that, I fail to see why as a materialist I should not care about the fate of the body that is me? In the copy situation it is obvious that there are two identical Simon's, what is not obvious to me is why either one should not care about being killed?

The illusion that is me, exists in only one body, even if there is a copy, experiencing the same illusion of me. I will not experience life though its body. It is this perspective shift that I don't get. there is some comfort knowing that my genes and my unique brain patterns live on but it's only slightly more comforting than perhaps my children living on or a twin. it doesn't help me to keep experiencing.

can you point out the error in my thinking?
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Old 4th December 2012, 06:10 AM   #303
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Originally Posted by aggle-rithm View Post
Probably a better discussion would revolve around a true artificial intelligence, something that is currently not possible but is at least theoretically more plausible than the transporter.

There were several characters in the Star Trek universe who, despite being artificial beings, were nonetheless conscious and were given the same rights to self-determination as anyone else. The problematic one was the Doctor from Voyager, who was not a physical entity but merely a computer program.

The writers dealt with the existential difficulties by giving the Doctor an impossible property: His program could not be copied from one place to another, but only moved. This is nonsensical, since moving is the same process as copying, but with an extra step: Deleting the original.

This was a necessary plot point not only to increase the sense of danger (Oh, noes, what happens if we can't get him back?!?) but to convince the viewers that the Doctor was a "real" entity, who could die just like a human. There was no possibility that he could be simply restored from a backup, because that would somehow "cheapen" the sense that he is a vibrant and unique individual.

This brings up the reality of what it means to make an exact copy of something extremely complex: It is insanely difficult to do. Unless the operating system supporting a program is exactly the same, a complex computer program will not behave the same way when moved from one location to another. There are just too many initial states and other variables to deal with, and here we're talking about something far simpler than a sentient being.
Yeah, there's a great deal of ah... not sure what to call it... 'laziness', sloppiness', 'hand-waving'... 'magic!', basically, in science-fiction; with "what-if" stories, if you want to call them science-fiction, you have to provide some rationale for them which seems a plausible extrapolation from current scientific knowledge and speculation; however, for a lot of it to work requires a massive "suspension of disbelief" as they call it, which, as a fan, I'm happy to do for the sake of the story (doesn't diminish my enjoyment of H G Wells's "War of the Worlds" one bit to know there are no Martians); I wonder though, if some fans, or even the authors themselves, realize how much current science would have to be overturned to make their what-ifs plausible.

The way they dealt with the Voyager Doctor, requiring his program to be 'moved' rather than 'copied', as you say, is nonsensical (yet creates the sense that there is a continuous doctor being transported about, and not a doctor being copied [with the original - whom fans have become quite attached to - being destroyed]). I think they dealt with teleportation in the same way (doesn't McCoy complain about not liking to have his atoms scattered all over space; and isn't there an episode in The Next Generation where they intercept Scotty's beam - his "atoms", presumably, if McCoy's complaint is an accurate description - shooting through space and "beam him" aboard. So the conceit seems to be that identity is preserved if the atoms comprising the individual at that moment (or in the Voyager Doctor's case, the... what... physically-stored bits of the program? doesn't make much sense, does it) are converted into "a beam" (hmm... good luck not disturbing those atoms; they're kinda touchy, y' know) and 'beamed' at the location you want them to reassemble (reassemble themselves, apparently, as there doesn't have to be a transporter at the other end). That's a helluva neat trick; in defiance of several very basic laws of physics, sure, but a great plot-device (when Roddenberry came up with it, I think it was just the quickest way to get the characters off the ship and onto the planet, and it seemed plausible -- until you really think about it -- which is what makes the teletransporter thought experiment so interesting: it tests not only one's assumptions about vague notions like "personal identity", but also one's understanding of basic physics).

Anyway, as I've said, since the teletransporter is an impossible device, we're pretty much at the mercy of the writers for answering whether to get in it or not. If, in their imaginary universe, imaginary characters use it with no ill-effects, then in that imaginary universe, the physical constraints which make it impossible in ours must not exist -- so go for it! Assuming these don't exist however, you do have to wonder what constraints do, and whether they add up to a possible universe (one that could be self-consistent somehow, making self-consistency your criterion for possible existence). It becomes a question of metaphysics then: beyond our own physics, what possible physics are there; is a universe which permits teleportation a possible [self-consistent] universe? I think there are several good reasons for arguing... hmm... if it's not an impossible universe, it's certainly a very strange one. For two, the use-the-teleporter! universe seems to require two very strange principles to be true: (a) The Principle of Positional Irrelevance (if two things in different places are materially identical, they are the same thing, and not two different things with identical structures); (b) The Principle of Subjective Ontology (if a difference can't be established subjectively, then the difference doesn't exist, regardless of any third-party objective history one might point to: for example, if I fall asleep in Pittsburgh, and while I'm sleeping some pranksters move my bed to an identical room in Philadelphia, when I wake up, as long as I can't tell any difference, I am in Pittsburgh, despite the third-party pranksters' knowledge of the move from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia; i.e., my subjective knowledge trumps their objective knowledge for determining what is actually the case). Those are just two that come to mind (from this thread and a previous); there are probably others.

So, a very strange universe (and sorry to have gone on at such length; my clone again, doesn't know when to shut beam up).
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Old 4th December 2012, 06:23 AM   #304
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Originally Posted by Thunderchief View Post
I think we must have a different definition of "experiences", The "I" my well be illusionary but in order for it to be known about it must be experienced. The "vision" of a oasis in a desert in illusionary, but it is experienced. We could not discus it otherwise.
I tell you how it comes about and you can decide...

Paying attention to thought narratives in the mind creates the belief that there is someone that is experiencing these narratives. Dan Dennett calls it the centre of narrative gravity.

The mind comes to believe that there is an "I" that is experiencing thoughts, and that is the subject of the narratives.

This is the illusion. It is an unexamined belief.

Something which has no form whatsoever but which is merely believed to exist can be exactly replicated by reproducing the hardware which creates the illusion.

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Old 4th December 2012, 06:52 AM   #305
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Originally Posted by Thunderchief View Post
It is this perspective shift that I don't get. there is some comfort knowing that my genes and my unique brain patterns live on but it's only slightly more comforting than perhaps my children living on or a twin. it doesn't help me to keep experiencing.

can you point out the error in my thinking?
There isn't in actuality a "me" that is experiencing. "me" is just a social construct, frequently mistaken for something real.

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Old 4th December 2012, 07:55 AM   #306
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
There isn't in actuality a "me" that is experiencing. "me" is just a social construct, frequently mistaken for something real.

Nick
I would agree in that, at the moment, that there is no continuity of the self ever is the best solution to the Transporter problem. It's the only solution that doesn't lead to even tougher questions.
And of course, it is only our intuition that is telling us that there is continuity of the self, and it is frequently off.

However, I would not be matter of fact about it while we have no model of consciousness and little predictive power about phenomena like qualia. I make no absolute claims until that situation changes.

Because while it's true that people have often believed in falsehoods because of their intuitions, it's also true that unsolved problems are often handwaved away as "illusions".
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Old 4th December 2012, 08:33 AM   #307
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Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
Do you think I'm crazy or tired of life or what? Of course not. I don't see what this has to do with teleporters or philosophy of self.
It is pertinent to your reasoning. The creature that's seeing this post right now and the consciousness it generates would never get to see Mars by using the transporter as a matter of objective fact; yet a machine that kills it while sending a copy to Mars is OK, because at least there's an identical creature that can call itself the same name somewhere in the universe.

You claim not to be particularly concerned because you don't feel incredibly attached to your body as such, and that consciousness and self are just illusions; yet you must have some sort of attachment to them, because one of your conditions for participating is that there must be a "Croc411" living somewhere in the universe by the end of the experiment.

Further you claim this to be the materialist position; but I don't see how it can be. The materialist position is that consciousness is produced by a brain; once that brain is dissolved, the consciousness it creates can't exist anymore. By saying that an identical (yet distinct in space and time from the original) brain can be created, the consciousness that results will be the "same person"; this seems to suggest that consciousness has some special quality that makes it distinct from from the atoms and molecules that project it. This is further reinforced by your claim that as long as the atoms used to rebuild you are "facing the same way" (to simplify things), to you that's "good enough" to call them the "same" atoms and proceed with the argument as if that's true, even though it is objectively not true. That consciousness is a unique thing that can be "transferred" to objectively different sets of particles seems quite not-materialist to me.
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Old 4th December 2012, 08:35 AM   #308
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
Because while it's true that people have often believed in falsehoods because of their intuitions, it's also true that unsolved problems are often handwaved away as "illusions".
It's not an unsolved problem.

Materialism predicts that there can be no inner experiencer, despite how it seems, and simple self-observation confirms how the illusion of there being one is created.

For sure, there are many other issues in consciousness research to be better understood, but the illusory "I" isn't one of them.

Nick

Ps - qualia? Do yourself a favour and don't go there! Qualia is just a catch all concept for people who's consciousness is too stubborn to see the plain apparent reality of simple materialism
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Old 4th December 2012, 08:56 AM   #309
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
There isn't in actuality a "me" that is experiencing. "me" is just a social construct, frequently mistaken for something real.

Nick
The "Me" is your brain surely? and this definitely exists. I don't know what a "social construct" means in this case. My brain experiences the illusion of "I" but I don't see how this pertains to the problem of two copies, neither of which wanting to die? (Excepting croc that is. ;-) )

It is my brain that wants to go to mars, but using this transporter it will never get there.

I think the concept of "I" is a bit misleading in this case, if you take an inanimate object and transport it you still end up with a copy being made on mars and the original being destroyed, You just don't care that it's a copy.
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Old 4th December 2012, 09:00 AM   #310
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Further you claim this to be the materialist position; but I don't see how it can be. The materialist position is that consciousness is produced by a brain; once that brain is dissolved, the consciousness it creates can't exist anymore. By saying that an identical (yet distinct in space and time from the original) brain can be created, the consciousness that results will be the "same person"; this seems to suggest that consciousness has some special quality that makes it distinct from from the atoms and molecules that project it. This is further reinforced by your claim that as long as the atoms used to rebuild you are "facing the same way" (to simplify things), to you that's "good enough" to call them the "same" atoms and proceed with the argument as if that's true, even though it is objectively not true. That consciousness is a unique thing that can be "transferred" to objectively different sets of particles seems quite not-materialist to me.
Yes I feel that this is similar to my position as well, it does seem duelistc to some degree, like the consciousness is not attached to the brain that creates it. which it must be in materialism.
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Old 4th December 2012, 09:17 AM   #311
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Originally Posted by Thunderchief View Post
The "Me" is your brain surely? and this definitely exists. I don't know what a "social construct" means in this case.
If "me" is your brain, you could never say "my brain".

"me", these days, as many, many scientists and philosophers have observed, is a "virtual user" constructed by the brain to expand social interaction.

The brain learns to construe reality as though it is happening to someone.

Instead of examining for yourself whether or not there really is a "me" inside, your brain is instead trying to assign this me to something solid. It won't work. We've all tried, at some stage!

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Old 4th December 2012, 09:32 AM   #312
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
If "me" is your brain, you could never say "my brain".
I agree with this to an extent, that is the illusion after all, but this is just a word game. It is the brain that experiences it, saying "my brain" simply limits it to the physical body from the words are coming out of.
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Old 4th December 2012, 09:40 AM   #313
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
It's not an unsolved problem.
You may that that but you cannot claim such a thing as a fact unless some kind of consensus exists within the scientific and/or philosophical community.
I see no such consensus.

Quote:
Materialism predicts that there can be no inner experiencer, despite how it seems, and simple self-observation confirms how the illusion of there being one is created.
Frankly, I think this is confused on a number of levels.

The non-existence of an inner experiencer is clearly not a prediction of materialism; the closest we can say is that the two concepts are incompatible.

But, I would dispute even that. The fact that no-one's found a way to resolve the two phenomena is not in itself proof that they are incompatible.

Finally, when it comes to consciousness, it can't be "just" an illusion because there is no meaningful distinction between the "illusion of consciousness" and "consciousness"
We could rephrase qualia as "the illusion of colour, pain etc" and it would still be a significant unsolved problem in neuroscience how the brain can generate such an illusion, how we could tell whether a given organism is experiencing the illusion, what decides on the nature of the illusion (e.g. what a bat's illusion of ultrasound is like) etc
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Old 4th December 2012, 10:50 AM   #314
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Originally Posted by megaresp View Post
I guess I also see 'life very, very different' to you.

If I lose a hand or a foot or both - my experience of 'me' existing continues.

If 'I' lose my current meat sack - but my conscious thoughts, memories and feelings are magically transported into another meat sack - the thing that 'my' current meat sack regards as 'I' continues to exist. If an exact copy of my body is used, it's no different to restoring a sector-by-sector image of my old hard disk onto a new one. I'm merely shifting the OS to another 'box'.

Seems obvious to me.

Personally, I think it gets a lot more interesting when considering relocation of one's I-ness to a different brain-host: whether that host be human, non-human or even artificial.

Well it seems like you believe in magical thinking to me. If you lose a hand or foot "you're" not gone, because what makes you you is contained within your brain not your hand.

If thats how you see things, that your brain is not really where "you" are, then I can understand why you have no problem with this.

This may have something to do with you describing it as being "transported". This makes it sound like you're travelling from A to B. As it has been explained to me, nothing is being literally transported in the idea of teleportation, only copied. A is being destroyed and B is a copy of A. Being copied and being transported are very, very different.

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Old 4th December 2012, 11:04 AM   #315
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
You claim not to be particularly concerned because you don't feel incredibly attached to your body as such, and that consciousness and self are just illusions; yet you must have some sort of attachment to them, because one of your conditions for participating is that there must be a "Croc411" living somewhere in the universe by the end of the experiment.

Further you claim this to be the materialist position; but I don't see how it can be. The materialist position is that consciousness is produced by a brain; once that brain is dissolved, the consciousness it creates can't exist anymore. By saying that an identical (yet distinct in space and time from the original) brain can be created, the consciousness that results will be the "same person"; this seems to suggest that consciousness has some special quality that makes it distinct from from the atoms and molecules that project it. This is further reinforced by your claim that as long as the atoms used to rebuild you are "facing the same way" (to simplify things), to you that's "good enough" to call them the "same" atoms and proceed with the argument as if that's true, even though it is objectively not true. That consciousness is a unique thing that can be "transferred" to objectively different sets of particles seems quite not-materialist to me.
+1 exactly and put very well.

I'll also say that is why I gave the example of someone who creates a machine that can create an identical copy of him or her in every way. If someone has the view you're talking about above, then they should have no problem killing themselves after they create the copy. A copy isnt you, its a copy of you. If you die, it just means you're dead while your copy lives on, how did that help you?

I dont care about my conciousness living on forever or visiting all kinds of amazing places in the universe if it means I cant enjoy that, only copies of me, especially if I have to die first to make that happen. I dont see the point of it.

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Old 4th December 2012, 11:40 AM   #316
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
So, you're in the pod. Are you going to push the button, not push the button... or continue nattering?
I'm not going to push the button.

Although I'm fully convinced that there is no more to me than the atoms I'm made from and whatever my consciousness is arises from that, and my sense of being awake and aware might be an illusion, that illusion is far too strong to let me press the button.

I don't care if that makes me 'watery', I'm not pressing the button just so I can say I'm not watery.

However carefully it's explained to me that my sense of self is the illusion and in a way, yes, I'll die, but it doesn't matter if I die because I'm constantly dying anyway and the new me will be every bit as much me as the current me, what I'm hearing is;

...blah, blah, yes, I'll die, blah, blah...

Not pressing. Scared. The illusion wins.
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Old 4th December 2012, 11:54 AM   #317
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Originally Posted by Thunderchief View Post
The illusion that is me, exists in only one body, even if there is a copy, experiencing the same illusion of me. I will not experience life though its body. It is this perspective shift that I don't get. there is some comfort knowing that my genes and my unique brain patterns live on but it's only slightly more comforting than perhaps my children living on or a twin. it doesn't help me to keep experiencing.

can you point out the error in my thinking?
The experiencing you talk about here is the illusion, as Nick has already stated.

The only "you" that there is is your current you, your conscious state at a given space-time coordinate. And it only lasts for a fraction of a second, consider it gone as soon as your conscious state changes by a single bit. Once you acknowledge that, concepts like "I will not experience life through its body" stop making sense because you do not ever experience anything (-> illusion) - you will be gone after a microsecond (WARNING: pulled that number out of my ass) in any case. "You" are a single snapshot of a conscious state.

From there on, all that matters are degrees of similarity. How similar to my current me will be the conscious state this body (or a copy) will produce at time x from now? How much of my current memories and personality traits will be preserved?

Our intuitive on-off notion of this is me and that isn't me does not make sense anymore. The only on-off relationship that remains is if some conscious state exists or not, everything else boils down to degree of similarity.
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Old 4th December 2012, 12:19 PM   #318
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Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
The experiencing you talk about here is the illusion, as Nick has already stated.

The only "you" that there is is your current you, your conscious state at a given space-time coordinate. And it only lasts for a fraction of a second, consider it gone as soon as your conscious state changes by a single bit. Once you acknowledge that, concepts like "I will not experience life through its body" stop making sense because you do not ever experience anything (-> illusion) - you will be gone after a microsecond (WARNING: pulled that number out of my ass) in any case. "You" are a single snapshot of a conscious state.

From there on, all that matters are degrees of similarity. How similar to my current me will be the conscious state this body (or a copy) will produce at time x from now? How much of my current memories and personality traits will be preserved?

Our intuitive on-off notion of this is me and that isn't me does not make sense anymore. The only on-off relationship that remains is if some conscious state exists or not, everything else boils down to degree of similarity.
All you're doing is confusing a copy with yourself, saying that as long as your conciousness continues even as a copy its fine and dandy. Well as i said I dont care about my conciousness continuing if myself, not my copy, cant enjoy and experience that.
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Old 4th December 2012, 12:21 PM   #319
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
However carefully it's explained to me that my sense of self is the illusion and in a way, yes, I'll die, but it doesn't matter if I die because I'm constantly dying anyway and the new me will be every bit as much me as the current me, what I'm hearing is;

...blah, blah, yes, I'll die, blah, blah...

Not pressing. Scared. The illusion wins.
Not in a way, you WOULD die. The information in your brain might be recreated in an exact replica of you somewhere else complete with memories, but YOU would be gone, YOU wouldnt wake up in a pod on the other side of the world, YOU would be just as dead as if you kill yourself right now. The only difference being that a replica copy of you would have been created, but that isnt YOU, just a copy of you with the same arrangement of atoms.

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Old 4th December 2012, 12:25 PM   #320
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
I'm not going to push the button.

Although I'm fully convinced that there is no more to me than the atoms I'm made from and whatever my consciousness is arises from that, and my sense of being awake and aware might be an illusion, that illusion is far too strong to let me press the button.

I don't care if that makes me 'watery', I'm not pressing the button just so I can say I'm not watery.

However carefully it's explained to me that my sense of self is the illusion and in a way, yes, I'll die, but it doesn't matter if I die because I'm constantly dying anyway and the new me will be every bit as much me as the current me, what I'm hearing is;

...blah, blah, yes, I'll die, blah, blah...

Not pressing. Scared. The illusion wins.

I think you can pose it more rigorously than that.

Say you have two thermometers in two different places. The thermometers are materially identical, including the mercury in their bulbs which are currently recording identical temperatures, and always have, since their installation. The data they are producing is exactly the same. If you believe nothing is lost by destroying one object of a materially identical pair, would you destroy one of the thermometers? Would anything be lost? Hmm... what about... the second stream of data, which happens to be identical to the first stream, and which allows you to verify that the two places have identical temperatures? Destroying one of the thermometers destroys the separate data-input, the separate vantage-point, separate perspective, point-of-view, what have you.

That's hardly trivial. Scale it up to people. What are people, in a sense, besides separate materially-configured perspectives. If we come across two people whose perspective is completely identical, including the material configuration through which it is processed and stored and communicated, do we destroy one of them? After all, what would we lose, except a separate material perspective with the same content? But isn't that what we mean by a conscious being: a separate material perspective? Does the content of the separate material perspective have to be unique for it to be worth preserving? Or is its being separate sufficient to argue against our destroying it?

Another case. Imagine the two identical right-down-to-the-last-atom twins having a conversation. Something like (spoken simultaneously): "Hey, isn't this cool? You and I are exactly the same, having the same thoughts, speaking the same words at the same time, talking to each other having a conversation..." Now imagine, right at this point in twins' conversation, we destroy one of the twins. Have we lost anything? If so, what? If you would take the transporter, it seems to me you must say, "No, nothing has been lost." If you wouldn't take the transporter, you must say, "Yes, something has been lost." What, exactly? How about... the separate material perspective which enabled the twins to have a conversation in the first place? In simplest terms, it takes two to tango -- haven't we lost one of the twins, a separate material perspective, a person?

AFAICS, that's the fundamental divide. The transporter-takers don't see the second twin as a separate person; the transporter-rejecters do.
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