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vger

"Transporter Psychosis" (fear of teleportation) and why I think it makes sense

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For those who feel icky about the whole interruption/cessation of conciousness side of it, what exactly makes this different from sleep?

The brain is never inactive during sleep. The life form continues existing. The life form who was originally born continues to live.

In fax machine teleportation, the original organism dies. There is no reason to assume consciousness transfers, and no objective way to test this.

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In Star Trek, Transporter Psychosis is not fear of teleportation but when you get crazy due to a glitch in transportation.

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Why does the original life form matter? It is the conciousness we are truly caring about here. It is the "you" that matters. Is the "you" at the destination the "you" that went in? Is the "you" that woke up the "you" that went to sleep? You personally have no proof that you are not someone completely different than Tw1 who happens to have woken up with only Tw1's memories and body to continue on. People don't worry about it though.

At the most basic level, you can only know with certainty that something happened if you experienced it. Philosphers bring it up as thought experiment that generally says the more removed you are from an experience, the more doubtfilled you can/should be that it happened the way you are told it did (or even that it happened at all). Now of course, taken to extremes this gets out of hand but sometimes in useful ways. Applying it to sleep, we only assume that we existed prior to today because we have things like pictures and whatnot, memories, etc. But all of those could be falsified information. Right now all of humanity could be living in a situation like (but different from) that one A.I. movie, with an aliens find an extinct humanity and have the ability to bring us back to life for only 24 hours. What if someone set up particularly advanced automated systems such that at when we fall asleep and die that they quickly clean up the corpses, put new ones in place, etc. You would have no way to tell that this is happening, so all you know with certainty is that when you fall asleep, you wake up and you are you in every way you care about being you.

Now I get that this example reaches strawman-esque propotions, but I was using it to illustrate that we accept conciousness discontinuties every day because we trust that when we start up again we cannot tell that we are any different then we were before.

Right now our science and technology points towards the idea that your memories are stored within the physical structure of your brain. So, theoretically if you made a perfect copy of yourself down to the atom, it SHOULD be YOU as much as YOU are.

Perhaps another thought experiment to help my point. Lets say you are put under anesthesia, while you are out you are cloned and your mind copied over to the clone. This process is perfect down to the atom AND conciousness copying works, so when the clone wakes up he believes he is you in every way and cannot be proven to be otherwise except by the scientists that have so far kept you and your clone separate. Now, they take the two unconcious bodies and put them into a machine. This machine plays the hat-game and randomly determines which of you goes into the left side of a sealed room and the other goes into the right side. This room has a door that you can use to leave, but nobody could use to enter, and there verifiably is NO way information could have left the machine or the room. In effect, it is now impossible to determine if the clone is the one on the right or the one on the left. Now you two both wake up at the same time. What has happened is that there are now two copies of you, and they both equally and in every way have the claim of being you and the right to BE you. Now let us take things a step further and declare that only one of you gets to leave, the other is instantly vaporized. The decision on who leaves must be unanimous, you have two hours to decide, failure to reach a decision results in the vaporization of both entities. The one who leaves the room, why can he not declare with certainty that he is who he believes himself to be?

Similarly, take something unique and valuable, the Mona Lisa for example. Make an exact atomic copy of it, intentionally destroy all information that can be used to determine which was the original and which is the copy. Does the painting lose value now? There are two, either one COULD be the original, and the other one is just a fake. But for all of history henceforth, nobody will be able to determine which is which. Ignore the likely increase in value that would occur only because this stupid magical weird thing happened to the painting.

Edited by Mazon Del

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Except that he would have an exact copy of your consciousness, plus the knowledge that he's going to be wasted. How would you feel if you were summoned into existence with a lifetime full of memories, experiences, and accumulated knowledge and the sole purpose of being expended in a few hours?

As my dear ole dad used to say, "I brought you into this world, and by God I'll let a hungry rock with a blister on it's side take you out of it"

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In Star Trek, Transporter Psychosis is not fear of teleportation but when you get crazy due to a glitch in transportation.

I came to the thread to say the same. It's easy to confuse, since the episode that introduced the idea was about Lt. Barclay having a fear of the transporter. He didn't have transporter psychosis, but being a hypochondriac, he thought he did.

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Why does the original life form matter?

Because it's me.

To quote Bertrand Russel (who was talking about something totally different than teleportation but the quote fits quite well into this discussion), I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.

Are you SO sure that you're right that you're willing to risk terminating your life prematurely? Good on you. I'm not.

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Similarly, take something unique and valuable, the Mona Lisa for example. Make an exact atomic copy of it, intentionally destroy all information that can be used to determine which was the original and which is the copy. Does the painting lose value now? There are two, either one COULD be the original, and the other one is just a fake. But for all of history henceforth, nobody will be able to determine which is which. Ignore the likely increase in value that would occur only because this stupid magical weird thing happened to the painting.

A painting has no emotions or self-awareness. A painting is not alive. Do you value your life so little that you would be willing to cease to exist simply to let someone who looks like you get somewhere quickly?

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Because it's me.

Indeed, but so is the copy!

I get that not everybody is willing to jump through it, and that is fine as not everybody has to. My main fear is honestly that people who think it is horrible and risky, because of things exactly like this conversation, will forcefully deprive others of being able to use the devices should they be invented. For me, nothing is worse than a peaceful and useful technology going unused because people don't like hazy meanings or mental complications behind it.

Brenok:

The way I have always approached the question of things like this (immortality, teleportation, sleep, etc) is that honestly I couldn't care less about what happens to an individual instantiation of me as long as I know that an instence of my conciousness will continue. I would prefer that the line of memories and continuity of conciousness be as unbroken as possible, but I am willing to sacrifice on this as necessary.

A somewhat simple example. Let's say that I have a machine that keeps a backup of my mind (only as up to date as the last time I backed up) and will quickly clone me and inject the backup as soon as it determines I am dead. In my head is a chip containing the most up to date version of me (constantly updating) and this chip can be inserted into the machine (upon retrieval from my corpse) so that the next me is fully up to date, but this chip is not necessary. Now, put me in a situation where it has been several weeks since I last made an update at the machine, and now I am standing next to a reactor that needs to be shut off from the inside (and it will kill anyone who does so). If I had the time, I'd quickly write out any information I'd want the 'new' me to have to be passed on before going ahead and taking care of the task at hand. If I didn't have the time, it would be annoying, but I'd still walk in, even if it was guarenteed that the chip in my head would not be retrievable.

I see myself as just information and a processor. As long as some copy of these two things exist, I exist.

Edited by Mazon Del

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If the soul does not exist or has no physical consequence then this is all moot: a well made copy of you as a good as the real thing. If a soul does exist then they will never be able to make a copy of you that works, behaves like you or is sentient. Consider human mind uploading as a form for teleporation (“teleporting†you into a virtual world, while the original is destroy or is already dead) we may before the centuries is out find out definitively if a soul really exists or not.

I had given thought to soul transfer when I was a kid. I'd at least heard of astral projection and how it supposedly worked, and figured that if it had to be factored in, anyone who uses teleporters would have to understand how to astral travel. Effectively, you'd get sucked from your body when it's broken down, and then have to 'float' your way to the duplicate at the destination. Over-thinking for this topic though.

Mind uploading would still be a terrifying concept. At least in terms of trying to "extend my life." While we could possibly emulate a person to the highest detail, I think that the 'brain' is the "seat of our consciousness," and it won't be possible to transfer that to a Matrix. What's scary is, because the experience is so subjective, there would be no way to find out if I actually died during the process or not. You could ask what was uploaded, and since it has all the same knowledge I did, it would think it was me.

However, that wouldn't necessarily stop me from undergoing the process anyhow at old age. If I were an expert in a specific field of science, my body's data could get recorded in my physical prime, and my brain gets downloaded near death when it has acquired the most amount of knowledge. After I'm dead, I get a clone, and it picks up where I left off. It would be a much more efficient process than new people having to "rediscover the wheel" all the time through education. We could actually achieve lifetimes of study, no longer being limited by a single life. I'd still be dead, but I could look at it as "donating my body to science" in an odd fashion.

Same as if someone buys a gun, then breaks into the home of the victim creeps into the victim's room and shoots him, only to find out the victim died in their sleep 2 hours earlier. The intent, the plan, the action all carried out.

Something similar crossed my mind once when I wondered if it was 'technically' possible for someone to be found guilty of Witchcraft. Say, you give somebody a Voodoo doll and a knife and tell them that if they stab it in the heart, their neighbor will die. If that person is superstitious, believes it will work, and stabs the doll, it's attempted murder. Whether or not it's actually possible is irrelevant.

Except that he would have an exact copy of your consciousness, plus the knowledge that he's going to be wasted. How would you feel if you were summoned into existence with a lifetime full of memories, experiences, and accumulated knowledge and the sole purpose of being expended in a few hours?

Watch the Dr. Who "two-parter" starting with "The Rebel Flesh."

Edited by vger

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Transporter psychosis depends on the uncertainty of whether the stream of consciousness is broken or not. If it is broken (ie, its like going to sleep), then this leads to the very likely possibility that re-materialization is more like cloning rather than actual reconstruction (this is where people get hung up, I think). But if it stays unbroken throughout the process (IE, the subject is aware throughout the entire process of what is happening to them) then the being that comes out the other end is the same one that disappeared at the other.

Without the ability to ensure a conscious and self-aware "brain", if you will, throughout the transportation process, we simply cannot say that de-materialization based transportation is truly safe. This is necessary because that is the only away to test whether or not "death" actually occurred during de-materialization.

Even in Star Trek this is how it works (even with its flip-flop science). The transported are, in fact, fully aware as they are being transported, and can even break the stream physically.

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Indeed, but so is the copy!

No it's not. It's exactly like me in every way including all of my memories. Which is not *me*. And even if I were open to entertaining the idea that it was somehow the same person, I would still not be willing to accept it to such an extent that I'd be willing to DIE so this other me who may or may not actually be the *me* me, can go on being me.

Oh no now I've gone cross-eyed.

I see myself as just information and a processor. As long as some copy of these two things exist, I exist.

That is a very nice outlook and I can understand it. I though see myself as both tied together and while minor changes to the either are fine, complete disassembly and restore from backup creates a completely new person who just happens to think is me.

Edited by 5thHorseman

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No it's not. It's exactly like me in every way including all of my memories. Which is not *me*. And even if I were open to entertaining the idea that it was somehow the same person, I would still not be willing to accept it to such an extent that I'd be willing to DIE so this other me who may or may not actually be the *me* me, can go on being me.

Oh no now I've gone cross-eyed.

That is a very nice outlook and I can understand it. I though see myself as both tied together and while minor changes to the either are fine, complete disassembly and restore from backup creates a completely new person who just happens to think is me.

Hehe, yeah terminology with a discussion like this can get funny sometimes. And that is a totally fair way to look at it. I end up saying that at its core all this somewhat divulges into the semantics of which currently unprovable statement do you personally believe in concerning the consequences of this technology. Because of that I choose to go with the one more convenient until some way to prove things one way or another appears.

Incidentally, this thread has given me an interesting idea for a scifi book. It shall be added to the pile.

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The brain is never inactive during sleep. The life form continues existing. The life form who was originally born continues to live.

In fax machine teleportation, the original organism dies. There is no reason to assume consciousness transfers, and no objective way to test this.

To the last part... If we can completely copy a being, then we can presumably also test whether it is a complete copy. :)

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Hmmm...

I thought of an idea; does a teleporter have to assemble the sent material in the right order? because i can think of a few practical jokes to play on certain poetically inclined people if it doesn't. heart of gold indeed.

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Hmm...

A perfect and complete copy of me, would be as much me as I am me. IMHO.

But in the instant it is made, it will become someone else, since we cannot possibly be similar from that point onwards.

...

If I teleport to madrid. I'll have the experience of going to madrid.

If I try to teleport to madrid and encounters a malfunction and cannot go. I'll have an experience of you won't be going anywhere today.

Potentially both could happen. One of which would be me going to madrid and another would still be me, but complaining at the transport checkin.

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That was actually an episode of Star Trek TNG. Riker was on some research outpost that was on a planet you could only teleport to every 5/10-ish years. Something went wrong and they were being evacuated, he was the last guy. The teleport worker thought he was losing power so he activated a second teleport beam to aid the first. It turned out the first was good enough, and the second one bounced off the planets charged atmosphere (the reason you could only get in occasionally). Since they had Riker on board, they assumed they were good. But there was another Riker who sat there for 5/10 years waiting for a rescue that only came because the Enterprise wanted to see how damaged the abandoned facility was and was surprised to see him there.

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While not dwelling on whether or not the original object (or creature or person) is perfectly reconstructed at the destination, these touch on some of the perils of teleportation:

Live long, and prosper.

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The same thing applies to being "re-lifed" when you die (like in those peter f. hamilton books) where they clone you and stick all you memories in it. Is it you? IMO, no. like they said in the book, "A copy is still a copy, no matter how perfect."

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The same thing applies to being "re-lifed" when you die (like in those peter f. hamilton books) where they clone you and stick all you memories in it. Is it you? IMO, no. like they said in the book, "A copy is still a copy, no matter how perfect."

Be that as it may, which would you prefer between these two options. You fall over dead and now you are gone from the universe except for traces of your existence (photos, memories, etc) that will quickly fade from time? (Let's be honest, unless you were a major countries leader or someone like Bill Gates [not Steve Jobs, there is a pretty good analysis available online why BG will be remembered and SJ will just kinda be a footnote] your existence can be summed up as just your entry on someone elses family tree.) Or you fall over dead and an exact copy of you with your same goals, hopes, and dreams carries the torch onwards to attempt to accomplish the things you wanted but can now never achieve?

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Be that as it may, which would you prefer between these two options. You fall over dead and now you are gone from the universe except for traces of your existence (photos, memories, etc) that will quickly fade from time? (Let's be honest, unless you were a major countries leader or someone like Bill Gates [not Steve Jobs, there is a pretty good analysis available online why BG will be remembered and SJ will just kinda be a footnote] your existence can be summed up as just your entry on someone elses family tree.) Or you fall over dead and an exact copy of you with your same goals, hopes, and dreams carries the torch onwards to attempt to accomplish the things you wanted but can now never achieve?

Makes sense to me. In a few cultures, immortality and procreation were looked at as being pretty similar anyhow. It was believed that by having a child, you were living on through them in a sense. So why not use clones?

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Indeed! At least this way you know for certain you have taught the "child" exactly what you wanted it to know. ^-^

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If you are able to transport me by disassembling me and rebuilding me so that the transported me has the exact same arrangement of atoms in the exact same quantum states, then I would accept the transported me as being me. It wouldn't matter to me if the individual atoms were not the same atoms -- atoms of the same type in the same quantum state are interchangeable and indistinguishable from each other. My atoms are being swapped out all the time. What makes me "me" is the information contained in the arrangement of my atoms.

If you make a device that can produce a duplicate copy of me without destroying the original, then I would accept the copy of me to be equal in every way other than certain legal rights. I would not agree that the copy would have ownership rights to any of my property or access to the benefits or responsibilities for and contracts or promises of mine (unless I and all parties involved agreed to such things ahead of time). So whoever is going to start making copies of people had better get those legal issues worked out first.

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Identity persistence is a fallacy, since the conscious mind is being continually erased and re-written by the stimulus around it. That's just a bi-product of being subject to the flow of time. Every (infinitely small division of a second) a new version of you is created anyway. So you shouldn't fear being teleported any more than you would fear going to sleep.

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If you are able to transport me by disassembling me and rebuilding me so that the transported me has the exact same arrangement of atoms in the exact same quantum states, then I would accept the transported me as being me. It wouldn't matter to me if the individual atoms were not the same atoms -- atoms of the same type in the same quantum state are interchangeable and indistinguishable from each other. My atoms are being swapped out all the time. What makes me "me" is the information contained in the arrangement of my atoms.

If you make a device that can produce a duplicate copy of me without destroying the original, then I would accept the copy of me to be equal in every way other than certain legal rights. I would not agree that the copy would have ownership rights to any of my property or access to the benefits or responsibilities for and contracts or promises of mine (unless I and all parties involved agreed to such things ahead of time). So whoever is going to start making copies of people had better get those legal issues worked out first.

You mean you wouldn't have ownership rights to any of his property :D. Prove you are the original. There is a theory that all your cells except brain are completely replaced every 15 years. Maybe your ownership rights should be taken away from you since you are a different being than the one that acquired them. This question is indeed very difficult but in my opinion both of you would have the same ownership rights. A man with a dissociative identity disorder also doesn't have more "sets" of rights for each personality.

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The usual number I hear is 7 years for a total body replacement of all cells. However, lately they have determined that the idea that your brain doesn't gain new neurons is actually false. As far as we can tell, your brain replaces cells at a rate almost equal to the rate at which it loses them. Though differing conditions will adjust this rate as things like age can slow it down.

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