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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    The degree of change is not comparable.

    You normally experience small, constant changes. These do not concern anyone. If one could visualize the body's path through spacetime, it would be a large, constant stream, even if tiny bits were added and subtracted regularly.

    Large, drastic changes, on the order of having every cell of your body ripped apart are associated with dismemberment or death. Of course we wish to avoid those. If we did not, we wouldn't likely have survived. And visualizing those traveling four dimensionally through spacetime, you see one path end entirely, exactly the same as it does for death. A new, similar path is created, true, but they are not connected. Thus, they are no more the same than two identical twins are the same.
    They're causally connected, though seeing that requires multiple experiments. That is to say, if I were to put a slightly different person through the teleporter, the new path that would be generated would be slightly different in exactly the same way. Instincts for survival are based on billions of years of organisms living in conditions where causal connectedness is situated in a slowly changing, singular physical location. But if organisms evolved in a world containing lots of teleporters, the function of those teleporters wouldn't disrupt the transfer of hereditary information from generation to generation, so instincts wouldn't likely include that worry about their function - it'd be like a much, much stronger version of kin selection.

    You're not the pattern. You are an instance of the pattern. The particular atoms do not matter, but the instance does. If a new instance of you were created elsewhere, with the same configurations of atoms, that configuration would not be the one you experience.
    There would be two yous, each of which experiences the sensory inputs of one of the two instances. They would both be you (as in, they both causally follow from you exactly as much as the you one millisecond from now follows from the you now), but they wouldn't continue to share experiences following the split (they are not causally connected to each-others' futures).

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by McBish View Post
    Please read http://existentialcomics.com/comic/1.

    I am not the atoms in my body. So it doesn't matter to me if they are the same or not. If the pattern of me is I the new bid it is me.
    Interesting because of the two characters taking the same fact (sleep might be death) and reacting to it in two completely different ways. I honestly don't know which one I agree with more.

    Now 'are you an instance of the pattern or the pattern itself' is getting down to weird stuff. I'm turning my brain off and reading a book about space ghosts.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Finally! I got the spare time to answer this thread

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    So objecting to teleportation on the grounds that the teleported you is "not the same" is - meaningless.
    Au contraire. It's all that really matters. Fearing the unknown is the main issue in everyday life and in science. See, there were people who believed the Atom Bomb would create a literal holocaust on the planet's atmosphere. Then again, some other people didn't. Just because the math was (probably) on their side and because the planet didn't go kaboom, does that mean that being concerned about something going horribly right/wrong should be a lesser concern. It is, in fact, the only thing that matters. Because the only certain way to know your f--- up something is by f--- up something. And when it comes to the very nature of my self-awareness, I simply believe it's not worth the gamble. (Self) space travelling (not "outer" space, physical space) is overrated IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Murska View Post
    If something isn't measurable, it does not have an effect on anything perceivable. In that case it doesn't exist. I perceive myself to be conscious, therefore consciousness is measurable.
    I don't think I follow Can you measure and quantify "consciousness"? Can you truly define it? Because, as far as I know, the main problem of AI research is that we aren't even sure what "intelligence" ultimately means, nevertheless what defines "being aware". That doesn't mean AI research is useless (it's probably the most relevant research ATM), it simply means that science doesn't know everything. Yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Murska View Post
    As for atoms, that's untrue. They literally are identical. Fundamental particles don't contain a history. They can and do teleport, overlap, cease existing for a time and return, pop up out of nothingness and possibly don't even experience time. It's a bit complicated because the word 'particle' brings to mind concepts that don't apply.
    I can't find the video where it's explained, but AFIK, you can't really have two identical particles simultaneously in the same universe because the math simply does not allow it. Take my explanation with a pinch of salt tho (I'm not that good at math, or advanced physics), but my point is that a copy isn't the original. It's a copy. Call it semantics, but the phrase "does not contain a history" is also semantics, because the concept of "history" is also a construct of the mind. Anyway, my point isn't about particles. I never said "teleportation of particles wasn't possible" nor I would ever imply such a thing. I simply stated that "consciousness" is a construct of the mind, and those things are as ethereal as the meaning of any word. Current physics still hasn't caught up with linguistics or philosophy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murska View Post
    Two identical things are the same thing. In the teleporter case the exiting person isn't quite identical, because their energy pattern exists in a different place and time, but the hypothetical was that everything else is identical, so the question is, do you become someone else if you are elsewhere at a different time. That's a matter of definition.
    That's precisely my point. We don't even have an accurate definition of the relevant thing here (consciousness), so we simply don't know. Just because something is "a matter of definition" it isn't any less relevant. FWIW, everything is a matter of definition. Throwing yourself into a teleporter is (currently) a leap of faith. Either answer is technically logical. But my point is about rationality. And my rational self says that, given the existence of alternative technologies, there's no point at all into teleporting myself. By all mean, teleport yourself, I don't care. I'm ok with Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Well yes, it is real, but we'll solve it by coming to an agreement as a society. Let us assume for the moment that in the year 2168 humanity splits into two factions, one uses the new destructive teleporters to spread themselves throughout the galaxy (let us also assume that these teleporters are FTL and don't require a receiving station, it's unrealistic but we're discussing teleportation), the other decides that teleportation is mass suicide and so remains in the solar system until they can build a ship that can take them to another star system. For ease let's call culture 1 the Fast and culture 2 the Slow, referring to how quickly the move through space (the cultures, as the outside observing third culture we do not have a universal view on if the people do).
    Given my current knowledge of language theory, I find this statement rather odd. Nothing can be solved by "agreement" except the fact that now we all share the same/similar opinion. Science isn't about reaching an agreement, and reality certainly never cared what we believe.

    About the societies examples, I think you are mistaken about me. I never believed teleporting was a bad thing, or that a teleporting maching was a bad thing. In fact, what you define as "Slow Society", I can picture as, in fact, the faster progressing of the two. Because you know what's easier than trying to teleport a living being? Teleporting an AI. Who will do the work faster and better than you. So I don't think your example is relevant to me. I admit it's still a compelling argument tho, kudos for that

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    FWIW I'm not convinced that I am conscious, I might just be hallucinating it.
    FWIW, "you" are simply pixels in my screen, in the form of well-produced walls of texts. I think you can see why I'm not interested in the discussion about "But is it consciousness real in the first place?". That's a topic for philosophy, not science.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I certainly don't seem to have anything between the moment I fall asleep and the moment I wake up except for one dream (literally, I can remember exactly one dream, which involved my parents getting me a snakecat), so maybe I'm only conscious when my brain is in awake mode, while those that dream are conscious in asleep mode. But I keep an open mind, maybe I'm just overthinking it. I'm fairly certain I exist, not completely certain that the universe existed before I was about three/four, kinda worried that the universe might not have existed until this morning, and a tad amused at the idea that it might not exist until next Thursday, I can probably continue like this if I can be bothered. My point is to me the point is moot until I actually step into that teleporter.
    To put it in simple words: I don't see the great advantage of instantaneous travel of yourself. I mean, except for the odd case in which anything I'm standing on will blow up in the next 5-30 minutes. There are better implementations for a teleport machine like the one depicted here (which, in my mind, is more like a replicator than a "teleporter") than simply hitchhiking through the universe. What is a snake cat anyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Again, not everybody is convinced they are conscious, my brother is an atheist of the 'everything is deterministic, even my actions' variety (I'm an agnostic of the theist variety personally, but we all have our beliefs), he would probably get into a teleporter before I would. Then there's a lot of people who aren't that bothered about death, and would chance the coin flip of death. Then there's a lot of people who wouldn't risk it, but would go for memory backup immortality just in case it is you.
    It's funny, because I am also an atheist who believes in a deterministic universe; but I'm too rational to gamble my existence just for a simple ride. I mean, I'm also one of those odd people who is into astrophysics but wouldn't dare getting my body inside a tin-can just to look at bright dots in the sky. There are way better (and safer) ways to do that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    On the other hand, 'identical twin with my memory up to a certain point' is a very good way to think about it. This body might as well have a different soul to me for all I know, as a 'normal' identical twin would.
    That's my fear about it. With the added worry that we don't have the way to tell the difference, and we only have the word of the doppleganger to believe "he is still the same person". Not to mention, the tiniest imperfection in the copying process will simply guarantee that teleport!me isn't original!me anymore. Living organisms are way more complex than simple inorganic matter. It will have to be a hell of a machine for me to actually trust on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    This is an interesting question, just what is conscious/has a soul. We're working from the assumption that humans (probably) do, but does my computer? A pen? An atom?

    But you're right, science won't back either side. People trying to be good scientists will likely be pro-teleporting, but it is still a philosophical opinion.
    That's the thing. We don't know. I don't see why people are afraid of those words. Admitting we know nothing at all, is the first step every scientist should make. Also, never have faith in it. Trust science yes, but never think it has all the answers. It never does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    * space-folding is a weird way to describe them in my opinion, as there's little explanation as to what the effects are on the space being folded. However wormholes and other portals are different from other teleportation, as they simply make two far away places right next to each other.
    Well, I'm more pro-wormholes, because there is less risk of "myself" being interrupted (i.e.: destroyed) while crossing it. I still may be wrong, but hey, it's still less likely

    Quote Originally Posted by McBish View Post
    Please read http://existentialcomics.com/comic/1.

    I am not the atoms in my body. So it doesn't matter to me if they are the same or not. If the pattern of me is I the new bid it is me.
    Read it a while ago, but it's more about the nature of change and death, more than about teleportation. Saying "I am not the atoms in my body" is correct (your corpse is the atoms in your body). But saying you are simply defined by a specific pattern is still debatable. Specially considering linguistics (a word may have any meaning depending on who is using it, regardless what the "pattern" is). Also, the specific patter that makes you you may be even more specific than we will ever be able to reproduce.
    (sic)

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    They're causally connected, though seeing that requires multiple experiments. That is to say, if I were to put a slightly different person through the teleporter, the new path that would be generated would be slightly different in exactly the same way. Instincts for survival are based on billions of years of organisms living in conditions where causal connectedness is situated in a slowly changing, singular physical location. But if organisms evolved in a world containing lots of teleporters, the function of those teleporters wouldn't disrupt the transfer of hereditary information from generation to generation, so instincts wouldn't likely include that worry about their function - it'd be like a much, much stronger version of kin selection.
    Sure, they're causally connected. You are causally connected to your parents, after all. But you are not them.

    There would be two yous, each of which experiences the sensory inputs of one of the two instances. They would both be you (as in, they both causally follow from you exactly as much as the you one millisecond from now follows from the you now), but they wouldn't continue to share experiences following the split (they are not causally connected to each-others' futures).
    Nah. The original(if any original exists) is the one with the uninterrupted space-time continuum.

    The other would be a copy, and while it'd be functionally equivalent, it is not the same thing.

    It's the same rule used for pretty much anything else, and we do have photocopiers in the real world. This isn't some philosophical conundrum that is challenging.

    It's odd that folks are willing to consider "identical" particles as the same when the property of physical location is different. That isn't really how things works. They're two particles. One can have two identical collections of compressed plutonium atoms, with the only difference being that one is physically among a bunch of other similar atoms, and one is not, and results will vary significantly.

    Turns out physical location matters.
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  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Sure, they're causally connected. You are causally connected to your parents, after all. But you are not them.
    Part of me is causally connected, but its not actually a big part. My genome is about 6 billion bits of information, so I've got a mutual information of a bit less than ~3 billion bits with each of my parents. My brain has ~10^15 synapses, each of which is probably several tens of bits worth of information content - so there's seven orders of magnitude more stuff connected, and that's if we just consider my brain in the abstract. If we consider the level of detail of atoms, we're up to about 10^28 objects, each of which is probably at least a few hundred bits to capture position, momentum, etc down to Heisenburg limits - so 21 orders of magnitude more connection than I have to my parents.

    More bits doesn't necessarily mean more significance. If we want to do this properly, we should take a coarse-graining over my observable behavior and then see how much knowing about my parents lets you compress that data, versus how much knowing e.g. the history of sensor inputs I've experienced lets you compress that data. I'm pretty confident that you'd get at least a few orders of magnitude difference in predictive power there.

    The thing about the causal connectedness of the teleporter is that it is, by construction of this scenario at least, complete. You don't get 95% of the bits or 99% of the bits or 99.999% of the bits, you get 100% of the bits. So while we can quibble over whether knowing my parents or knowing my history is a more complete approximation of 'me', the teleporter is by construction the best possible approximator of 'me' - even stuff I might not think is important to who I am or things I'm not aware of, it's copying.

    In a sense, the teleported copy of me is more 'me' than the me that lived through the intervening time, since the information of that copy is still pristine whereas the other version may have had a stray gamma ray or some other environmental influence occur in that interval.

    Nah. The original(if any original exists) is the one with the uninterrupted space-time continuum.

    The other would be a copy, and while it'd be functionally equivalent, it is not the same thing.

    It's the same rule used for pretty much anything else, and we do have photocopiers in the real world. This isn't some philosophical conundrum that is challenging.
    'Having an uninterrupted space-time continuum' isn't a property of matter. The only difference would exist by way of an arbitrary convention. With a photocopier, you can physically tell the difference between the copy and the original. With something like a digital file being transferred from place to place, you could try to e.g. establish a legal precedent about which versions are 'copies' and which versions are 'the original, but moved', but that legal precedent would be entirely dependent on how the person doing the copying reported it - the file itself doesn't have any structure or behavior which is different depending on what convention declares about it.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    Given my current knowledge of language theory, I find this statement rather odd. Nothing can be solved by "agreement" except the fact that now we all share the same/similar opinion. Science isn't about reaching an agreement, and reality certainly never cared what we believe.
    Honestly, I wasn't trying to make sense. 'We'll solve it by deciding if it's a problem to us' is essentially what I said.

    About the societies examples, I think you are mistaken about me. I never believed teleporting was a bad thing, or that a teleporting maching was a bad thing. In fact, what you define as "Slow Society", I can picture as, in fact, the faster progressing of the two. Because you know what's easier than trying to teleport a living being? Teleporting an AI. Who will do the work faster and better than you. So I don't think your example is relevant to me. I admit it's still a compelling argument tho, kudos for that
    Yeah, but I never said the 'fast society' wasn't willing to teleport an AI. It was simply my trying to explain my point more clearly.

    FWIW, "you" are simply pixels in my screen, in the form of well-produced walls of texts. I think you can see why I'm not interested in the discussion about "But is it consciousness real in the first place?". That's a topic for philosophy, not science.
    All true, even the bit in blue text.

    To put it in simple words: I don't see the great advantage of instantaneous travel of yourself. I mean, except for the odd case in which anything I'm standing on will blow up in the next 5-30 minutes. There are better implementations for a teleport machine like the one depicted here (which, in my mind, is more like a replicator than a "teleporter") than simply hitchhiking through the universe. What is a snake cat anyway?
    Eh, I can see the massive benefit to teleporting someone into orbit or onto another planet, we should be able to avoid the tyranny of the rocket equation. For other destinations on the same planet? I'd rather catch the train.

    It's funny, because I am also an atheist who believes in a deterministic universe; but I'm too rational to gamble my existence just for a simple ride. I mean, I'm also one of those odd people who is into astrophysics but wouldn't dare getting my body inside a tin-can just to look at bright dots in the sky. There are way better (and safer) ways to do that.
    Yeah, while I'm a weirdo who would sit on top of a mainly-controlled explosion to get into orbit, there's really nothing for me to do there. I can't even say I'd need microgravity to perform experiments, I'm not a scientist.

    That's my fear about it. With the added worry that we don't have the way to tell the difference, and we only have the word of the doppleganger to believe "he is still the same person". Not to mention, the tiniest imperfection in the copying process will simply guarantee that teleport!me isn't original!me anymore. Living organisms are way more complex than simple inorganic matter. It will have to be a hell of a machine for me to actually trust on it.
    Well yes, that is literally the scary part. It's even worse if we get a Commonwealth Saga incident and teleport-resurrect you when you're not dead (okay, they clone people and stick in their memories, but it's the same issue).

    I mean, I would not trust a destructive teleporter at all, because I know how unreliable computers can be, and would approach a wormhole with caution.

    That's the thing. We don't know. I don't see why people are afraid of those words. Admitting we know nothing at all, is the first step every scientist should make. Also, never have faith in it. Trust science yes, but never think it has all the answers. It never does.
    Yep, we don't know. Science is nothing more than a tool for taking what we do know and using it to discover what we don't know. We've had what, a good 500+ years of proper science with a decent scientific method so far? Still got no clue as to how much we don't know and aren't certain that the stuff we think we know is correct. We do have a lot of good stuff, we've proved relativity and causality to an extent that I'm not expecting FTL travel at any point, but we're completely uncertain if knowledge ends soon, or if we've bare scratched the surface of what there is to discover.

    There are people out there who worry that at the end of the day the universe does not follow the rules we think it does. 95% of them are called 'scientists'.

    Well, I'm more pro-wormholes, because there is less risk of "myself" being interrupted (i.e.: destroyed) while crossing it. I still may be wrong, but hey, it's still less likely
    I never said I was anti-wormhole, I just find space folding incredibly nonsensical. Folded compared to what? This stuff makes my brain hurt and I have to go and look at rocket equations to get it working again.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    Finally! I got the spare time to answer this thread
    Mm. Well, someone already mentioned Pascal's Wager. You say it's more rational to not take the risk, but since we're positing the technology, which is already impossible insofar as we understand physics, is in fact magically perfect and has zero risk whatsoever from that perspective, worrying it might destroy you instead seems baseless without some sort of a reason to believe that the result is destruction rather than transportation. Just saying it's possible is as valid as prioritizing any other possibility, and everything is possible. We're already positing the machine works, so saying 'what if it doesn't copy some part of your pattern properly' is missing the point - we just reply with 'well, let's say it does'.

    But let's say you're in a deranged Schrödinger's Cat -esque experiment and know that you have a 80% chance of dying to deadly poison gas triggered by a random decay event, but you're offered a teleportation ride out to safety. Insofar as you know, the teleporter (which is in common use) has never failed, but there are philosophers warning that it might destroy your identity and create what amounts to only a copy of you at the other end. Assume you're selfish and want to do what gives the best chance of survival for you specifically, so no going into the teleporter in order to give a copy of yours the chance to live if you expect it to be the end of you personally. What do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    I don't think I follow Can you measure and quantify "consciousness"? Can you truly define it? Because, as far as I know, the main problem of AI research is that we aren't even sure what "intelligence" ultimately means, nevertheless what defines "being aware". That doesn't mean AI research is useless (it's probably the most relevant research ATM), it simply means that science doesn't know everything. Yet.
    I can define something existing as that thing in some way, through some causal link, being able to have an effect on me. This results in a rather sensible definition, because I can't see any meaning in positing something that cannot in any way affect me ( = is not measurable) existing - even if it did, by some strange definition of 'exist', what then? So, if consciousness exists, it can affect me in some way. That means it's measurable. Quantifiable? I don't know about that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    You normally experience small, constant changes. These do not concern anyone. If one could visualize the body's path through spacetime, it would be a large, constant stream, even if tiny bits were added and subtracted regularly.

    Large, drastic changes, on the order of having every cell of your body ripped apart are associated with dismemberment or death. Of course we wish to avoid those. If we did not, we wouldn't likely have survived. And visualizing those traveling four dimensionally through spacetime, you see one path end entirely, exactly the same as it does for death. A new, similar path is created, true, but they are not connected. Thus, they are no more the same than two identical twins are the same.
    What are you basing this on? Saying small changes don't matter but large ones do seems strange. More importantly, do you believe that the body we're in, the physical atoms, are what matters? Because I don't - for all I care I'm still me if uploaded into a computer, turned into a silicon-based lifeform or had every atom in my body replaced by identical atoms one by one in the course of a nanosecond (as they already do in the course of years - the timespan in question seems inconsequential).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    It's odd that folks are willing to consider "identical" particles as the same when the property of physical location is different. That isn't really how things works. They're two particles. One can have two identical collections of compressed plutonium atoms, with the only difference being that one is physically among a bunch of other similar atoms, and one is not, and results will vary significantly.
    If physical location matters, why are you still you if you take a step? In fact, there's no priviledged coordinate system, you're constantly hurtling through space very fast relative to most things.
    If it's continuity of consciousness, well, you clearly have that with the teleporter. You on the other side are much more of a continuation of the state you were in when you went in than the you that wakes up in the morning from the you that went to sleep.
    Continuity of physical location? Why? Imagine the universe is a simulation (I assume it's still fine that you're considered you in this case), and the ones responsible for it pause the time in it for a moment, then move it on to another table to make room for a different project and then continue time again. Are you dead now? Why?
    A portal, as posited, would cause the exact same kind of physical discontinuity. The only difference is that your atoms are different. Except, we're talking about a 100% perfect teleporter so they actually aren't different. See, as mentioned before regarding particle identity, if you are moved through a portal into a spot, thus containing all the same atoms as you just had in you in a new physical location, it's literally the exact same thing as you standing in that exact same physical location having been created whole in 100% perfect fidelity from atoms that, before this, hadn't been anywhere near the location you left from. It's not 'looks the same, but it's not the same atoms', that's not how the physics work, it is the same thing just as swapping two electrons with each other results in the exact same state as before, not a state where an electron that was in one spot is now elsewhere. You can imagine the universe as a single function, and particles as factors within that function - if you take, say, (x^3+2) to be an electron, and you input '2' as the 'x' signifying every measurable property of that electron, then the result is 10, and if you input that very same '2' into any other electron you still get 10 no matter what.
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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    RE: The "scan, take apart and put back together elsewhere from the data" sort of teleporter

    I find the idea of the pseudo-cloning teleporter rather similar to the murderbox, in that if I happened into one of the "not destroyed" outcomes a la Star Trek, "I" would expect to experience a continuation of consciousness with the former. This belief comes from the idea of this being done without my knowledge; if I was walking along and some omnipotent being took an exact replica of the me that was on Earth and made a copy on Beta Centauri or something, I wouldn't expect to get any sensory data from the "me" on Beta Centauri nor any other facet of their existence, even as the BC-me remembered being on Earth before being whisked away. So in other words, while I wouldn't be offended by other people considering BC-me as "me," "I" would be more concerned by the potential death of Earth-me. The evidence that would convince me otherwise would be people reporting a feeling of shared consciousness after such accidents. Until then, I would probably avoid potential annihilation, even if I can't find a perfectly philosophically satisfying argument for why the me on the other end of the teleporter would definitely (not) share my consciousness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Actually, I'm pretty sure a Star Trek transporter also transports your atoms to the distant location and reconstitutes them there--there's definitely talk about matter streams when talking about transporter technology, and McCoy said in the Motion Picture that he wanted to see how the transporter would "scramble your molecules" before he would get into it.
    Star Trek has been inconsistent on the issue. After all, if they are actually transporting the matter (vs. data only and making a new copy), then how do you end up with duplicates from the same beam at all? You've doubled the matter somehow.

    The Physics of Star Trek (by Lawrence Krauss) is an interesting read, but it also does a good job of pointing out inconsistencies.

    But the whole this (if it actually does make a "new" you is basically a modification of "The Ship of Theseus" paradox.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Large, drastic changes, on the order of having every cell of your body ripped apart are associated with dismemberment or death. Of course we wish to avoid those. If we did not, we wouldn't likely have survived. And visualizing those traveling four dimensionally through spacetime, you see one path end entirely, exactly the same as it does for death. A new, similar path is created, true, but they are not connected. Thus, they are no more the same than two identical twins are the same.
    Being "associated with" death, even scarily so, does not equal death. After all, falls from great heights are also associated with death, but parachuting is a thing. A recreational thing, even.

    You say that the person who is reassembled at the far end of the teleportation is "not the same". What's your basis for saying that? If we stipulate that the new person is not only physically identical, but also has all the original's memories up to the moment of stepping into the teleporter, that their own family and friends have not the slightest doubt that they're the same person - then what, exactly, has been lost?

    If Captain Kirk, who's been through this process more times than you've had hot dinners, swears to you that he's exactly the same person he was when he started, that there are no breaks in his consciousness - would you reject his testimony as simply impossible, or irrelevant because it doesn't address your concern?
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    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    You say that the person who is reassembled at the far end of the teleportation is "not the same". What's your basis for saying that?
    What is your basis for saying otherside? Some form of conversion has taken place: The person is disassembled (somehow), transmitted (somehow) and reintegrated (somehow), and the whole question is whether this conversion constitutes the death of the original. Sonce there is no hard description of the processes it is a little difficult to do anything other than speculate.

    So far most of the arguments here seem to circle around "It's a perfect copy and the original is no longer around to object so what does it matter?", handwaving away what happens to the original.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    If we stipulate that the new person is not only physically identical, but also has all the original's memories up to the moment of stepping into the teleporter, that their own family and friends have not the slightest doubt that they're the same person - then what, exactly, has been lost?
    What has been lost? The original person! The quality of the copy is irrelevent to the argument, since the arguement revolves around what has happened to the original.

    The family and friends can be as clean of doubt as they like - it is very easy for people to convince themselves of something, especially if they have a huge emotional investment in the matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    If Captain Kirk, who's been through this process more times than you've had hot dinners, swears to you that he's exactly the same person he was when he started, that there are no breaks in his consciousness - would you reject his testimony as simply impossible, or irrelevant because it doesn't address your concern?
    Yes, because Captain Kirk is equally capable of decieving himself, especially in a society that accepts teleportation as a matter of course. In fact he has an even greater emotional investment in believing he is the real Kirk than his family and friends do.


    Am I saying teleportation is immoral and/or evil? No. In fact a practical teleportation system would be brilliant for cargo - we don't have (many) philosophical arguments about transporting inanimate objects.

    I'd steer clear of transporting living things, though. I'd rather not treat people as things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manga Shoggoth View Post
    I'd steer clear of transporting living things, though. I'd rather not treat people as things.
    I think this might be the crux of the matter. What is the difference that makes you think people are not things?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murska View Post
    I think this might be the crux of the matter. What is the difference that makes you think people are not things?
    The best way I can put it here] is as respect for life1. You will notice that the first half of the quote refers to "living things", not "people" - I am not treating "people" as somehow different to "animals" in this respect.

    I am not happy with a transportation process that potentially kills the person (or animal) as part of its function. As I have already stated, it's fine in a story (If I recall correctly in the original Star Trek it was introduced to reduce/eliminate the costs for modeling and filming landings, and Star Trek wasn't the first to use teleportation), but once you get to real life the moral questions need to be answered. That is actually the main reason I disliked "Spock Must Die" - because it raised the question at the beginning of the story and then pretty much handwaved it at the end.

    The second half of the quote was a - hopefully humourous - reference to the works of Terry Pratchett - specifically "Carpe Jugulum".


    1 - And we could have a whole philosophical debate around that...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manga Shoggoth View Post
    What is your basis for saying otherside? Some form of conversion has taken place: The person is disassembled (somehow), transmitted (somehow) and reintegrated (somehow), and the whole question is whether this conversion constitutes the death of the original. Sonce there is no hard description of the processes it is a little difficult to do anything other than speculate.
    So... your basis is, like mine, "pure speculation". Righto.

    Just so long as we're clear, this argument is solely "your imagination versus my imagination". So it is by definition impossible for either of us to be right or wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manga Shoggoth View Post
    What has been lost? The original person! The quality of the copy is irrelevent to the argument, since the arguement revolves around what has happened to the original.
    "The original" is disassembled at point A, and reassembled at remote point B. Why is that so hard to accept? What exactly is this "original person" that you're insisting no longer exists? He's right there, stepping off the remote teleporter pad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manga Shoggoth View Post
    Yes, because Captain Kirk is equally capable of decieving himself, especially in a society that accepts teleportation as a matter of course. In fact he has an even greater emotional investment in believing he is the real Kirk than his family and friends do.
    Then what evidence or testimony would you accept as relevant? Can you describe/construct a thought experiment that could determine, once and for all, whether "the original person" is destroyed or lost in this process? (It's only a thought experiment, so feel free to be as unethical as you like.) That is to say: an experiment that would have an observably different outcome, depending which of us is correct?

    If not, then all we're arguing about is definitions - what is "originality", what is "a person".
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    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    So... your basis is, like mine, "pure speculation". Righto.

    Just so long as we're clear, this argument is solely "your imagination versus my imagination". So it is by definition impossible for either of us to be right or wrong.
    This is a discussion about a completely fictional process, so ... yes. Why would you think anything else?

    Although it is "your opinion" and "my opinion" and while I wouldn't use the term "by definition" your opinion is as good as mine because at present we have nothing else to go on. There is no real-life teleportation process for us to discuss, and the desctiptions of the fictional ones are wooly at best.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    "The original" is disassembled at point A, and reassembled at remote point B. Why is that so hard to accept? What exactly is this "original person" that you're insisting no longer exists? He's right there, stepping off the remote teleporter pad.

    Then what evidence or testimony would you accept as relevant? Can you describe/construct a thought experiment that could determine, once and for all, whether "the original person" is destroyed or lost in this process? (It's only a thought experiment, so feel free to be as unethical as you like.) That is to say: an experiment that would have an observably different outcome, depending which of us is correct?
    For a start, I would not accept the opinion of the person teleported or his friends and family (as some posters seem to think I should), for the reasons already stated: It is far to easy for people to decieve themselves.

    After that, it is a question of how the process works. Are you being sent as a data stream (in which case I would argue that the original has been destroyed) or is your actual matter being sent (at which point the discussion gets interesting).

    I will put this forward: All the discussions assume perfect duplication (or, from your viewpoint, recreation).

    You will never get a perfect copy. Almost anything that involves a discontinuity (such as changing something to energy and then back again) will produce something that differs from the original if only because of the Uncertainty Principle. After that there are the various losses in transmission that will take place.

    In the example of file transfer it doesn't matter because at the level we care about the data is the same (although you can still get file corruption during transmission or writing - even then there are correction techniques). Likewise, with the bike example you will probably not get something exactly like the original bike, but the parts will be the right shape and it will probably still be rideable.

    However for something as complex as - say - a brain, the differences will be closer to the atomic and molecular level, exactly where the Uncertainty Principle will trip you up. To make matters worse, you will not be able to detect the differences in an experiment (even a thought experiment) because of the same Uncertainty Principle.

    Saying "well, you are changing all the time anyway" and "Well, if you can't observe the difference it doesn't matter" are simply handwaves, ignoring the fact that the dissassemble/reassemble process will be hugely disruptive.


    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    If not, then all we're arguing about is definitions - what is "originality", what is "a person".
    Indeed.

    That's because definitions are important. Yes, is a philosophical discussion where those very concepts come up, and all completely theoretical.

    Right up until somebody invents the thing in which case it suddenly becomes very serious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manga Shoggoth View Post
    I will put this forward: All the discussions assume perfect duplication (or, from your viewpoint, recreation).

    You will never get a perfect copy. Almost anything that involves a discontinuity (such as changing something to energy and then back again) will produce something that differs from the original if only because of the Uncertainty Principle. After that there are the various losses in transmission that will take place.
    Uh that's the what the Heisenberg compensators are for? Duh :P

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    Uh that's the what the Heisenberg compensators are for? Duh :P
    Oh, how I wish I could upvote...
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    Yeah. We assume from the start that the teleporter is magically perfect.
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    If you take something apart and then put it back together it's still the same thing

    (well maybe not if you're Dethklok)

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    Now to my problem with time travel. Let's assume you can figure out how to send yourself back in time. Or more specifically, you travel back in time. Wouldn't you end up with less memories, and a little younger?
    If the current you, in body or memories, doesn't arrive in the past, then what is travelling?

    Either you (a) coexist with a younger version of yourself as if they were another person or (b) possess your younger body, which can also be interpreted as your younger self receiving a massive vision from the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    If the current you, in body or memories, doesn't arrive in the past, then what is travelling?
    I think they[re talking about rewinding time like in Prince of Persia

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I think they[re talking about rewinding time like in Prince of Persia
    That would fall under my scenario b.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    Au contraire. It's all that really matters. Fearing the unknown is the main issue in everyday life and in science. See, there were people who believed the Atom Bomb would create a literal holocaust on the planet's atmosphere. Then again, some other people didn't.
    And don't forget the half a dozen crackpot doomsday theories surrounding the large hadron collider. And people who think vaccines cause autism. Or the people who believed that traveling at more than 30 miles per hour would rip the skin off your body or make your lungs collapse. And the primitive belief that having your picture taken would steal your soul.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    Given my current knowledge of language theory, I find this statement rather odd. Nothing can be solved by "agreement" except the fact that now we all share the same/similar opinion. Science isn't about reaching an agreement, and reality certainly never cared what we believe.
    This. 1000 times this. We do not live in the world of Planescape. Belief is not power; belief is not relevant; belief has no value. I feel that Nietzsche illustrated it best when he suggested that anyone who thinks that feelings and beliefs can move mountains ought to take a tour of a psychiatric hospital and see all the people whose feelings and beliefs haven't

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    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Part of me is causally connected, but its not actually a big part. My genome is about 6 billion bits of information, so I've got a mutual information of a bit less than ~3 billion bits with each of my parents. My brain has ~10^15 synapses, each of which is probably several tens of bits worth of information content - so there's seven orders of magnitude more stuff connected, and that's if we just consider my brain in the abstract. If we consider the level of detail of atoms, we're up to about 10^28 objects, each of which is probably at least a few hundred bits to capture position, momentum, etc down to Heisenburg limits - so 21 orders of magnitude more connection than I have to my parents.
    That is similarity, not causality. Your parents are absolutely causally connected to you.

    Position is not the same for *any* of of the items between you and even an identical copy. So, even for similarity, this presents a problem. Sure, sure, it's quite similar, but you are not the same entity. If one or more perfect copies are made, yes, they are much like you, but they are not you. If the original is destroyed, you do not become any of the copies.

    If your copies are fine with this, thanks to your outlook on life, cool. But that doesn't change what is.

    'Having an uninterrupted space-time continuum' isn't a property of matter. The only difference would exist by way of an arbitrary convention.
    Physical location IS a property of matter. This is just convenient shorthand for describing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Murska View Post
    If physical location matters, why are you still you if you take a step? In fact, there's no priviledged coordinate system, you're constantly hurtling through space very fast relative to most things.
    It is not movement that presents a problem, but physical location not being identical does make two otherwise entities distinctly different. Use whichever coordinate system you please, it makes no difference.

    Consider a photon. Not really a lot of properties there, you can absolutely have photons that are otherwise identical, but in different places. You cannot reasonable treat all of them as the same photon. If you attempt to do so, nothing really makes sense, and it's not a useful framework for understanding reality.

    Thus, you are not the same entity as one or more teleporter made copies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manga Shoggoth View Post
    You will never get a perfect copy. Almost anything that involves a discontinuity (such as changing something to energy and then back again) will produce something that differs from the original if only because of the Uncertainty Principle. After that there are the various losses in transmission that will take place.

    ...

    However for something as complex as - say - a brain, the differences will be closer to the atomic and molecular level, exactly where the Uncertainty Principle will trip you up. To make matters worse, you will not be able to detect the differences in an experiment (even a thought experiment) because of the same Uncertainty Principle.

    Saying "well, you are changing all the time anyway" and "Well, if you can't observe the difference it doesn't matter" are simply handwaves, ignoring the fact that the dissassemble/reassemble process will be hugely disruptive.
    What about gross disruptions not involving copying? If someone suffers a brain injury which causes significant behavioral changes, are they still the same person, or has the pre-injury person died and been replaced by a new post-injury person?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    That is similarity, not causality. Your parents are absolutely causally connected to you.

    Consider a photon. Not really a lot of properties there, you can absolutely have photons that are otherwise identical, but in different places. You cannot reasonable treat all of them as the same photon. If you attempt to do so, nothing really makes sense, and it's not a useful framework for understanding reality.
    ...actually...
    you do sort of have to treat them as indistinguishable (that is you can't say the photon that was over there and the photon that was over here*).

    *at least in non trivial cases

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    Quote Originally Posted by theNater View Post
    What about gross disruptions not involving copying? If someone suffers a brain injury which causes significant behavioral changes, are they still the same person, or has the pre-injury person died and been replaced by a new post-injury person?
    That is a different question, although some of the issues (what constitutes a person) are common. It might be interesting as a thread in its own right.

    Certianly in legal terms I think you are considered the same person.

    I would say same person, because there is continuity: No matter how significant the changes they are happening to the same body and will still take time to occur. In the teleport case you have a discontinuity.

    EDIT: While personal experience is not evidence, I have lived through this having lost both my parents to dementia. For me this isn't a theoretical question.

    (Since sleep was mentioned earlier - even when unconcious your brain does not magically switch off. there is still continuity even if you are not conciously aware of it).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Yeah, but I never said the 'fast society' wasn't willing to teleport an AI. It was simply my trying to explain my point more clearly.
    No, I know you didn't say anything like that; I just wanted to point why I think "Fastians" and "Slowitians" are essentially (from my perspective) the same society, except on the most individual levels (Slowitians don't physically travel themselves, but their civilization and technology isn't necessarily behind that of the Fastians).

    Even if they "limit" their physical bodies by banning instant transportation of organic materials (that would be the most extreme case of anti-teleporters); that doesn't mean they aren't putting more effort in the technology that simply bypasses the problem (instantaneous travel of mere information, warp drives, etc: anything the Fastians don't need anymore bc of teleporters). What I wanted to point out is that my concern about teleporters came from uncertainty and distrust of 100% accuracy; not because I'm any kind of Luddite. F*ck Luddism

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Eh, I can see the massive benefit to teleporting someone into orbit or onto another planet, we should be able to avoid the tyranny of the rocket equation. For other destinations on the same planet? I'd rather catch the train.
    Well, I guess we agree then. I think there are more promising ways to beat The Equation in RL, tho.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I never said I was anti-wormhole, I just find space folding incredibly nonsensical. Folded compared to what? This stuff makes my brain hurt and I have to go and look at rocket equations to get it working again.
    Well... I have to agree. It is a headache. But AFIK (and not that I know really that much), "space-folding" is supported under current math theories; while a "perfect cloning machine" is not.
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    Altho, the issue specific to Star Trek or going to surgery isn't much of my concern here, since those problems are tangential.

    Quote Originally Posted by Murska View Post
    Mm. Well, someone already mentioned Pascal's Wager. You say it's more rational to not take the risk, but since we're positing the technology, which is already impossible insofar as we understand physics, is in fact magically perfect and has zero risk whatsoever from that perspective, worrying it might destroy you instead seems baseless without some sort of a reason to believe that the result is destruction rather than transportation. Just saying it's possible is as valid as prioritizing any other possibility, and everything is possible. We're already positing the machine works, so saying 'what if it doesn't copy some part of your pattern properly' is missing the point - we just reply with 'well, let's say it does'.
    If it's magical, then there's no point to argue. A wizard did it after all. They know how to make you the "real" you bc MAGIC. But my current knowledge of physics and rough knowledge of math points out to the fact that Technology and Science simply can never be 100% accurate. So, being technology we are discussing here and not fantasy... well, deal with it.
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    Yes, I concede it's similar to Pascalian rethoric; but the main flaw with Pascal is that he proposed to CHOOSE one thing over several because reasons. That doesn't apply to my argument. I'm proposing to choose INACTION, when it comes to Teleporting yourself. I'm not saying it is "more convenient for you to choose not to teleport". There are several cases where in fact, you may be left with no choice but to risk and teleport yourself out of a facility that is about to explode.

    What I really said is that you are risking almost infinitely more (your self-awareness) than can be possibly gain in most scenarios (move around). Transporting your own body is almost never a more urgent necessity than having experience of yourself. That is what I call "being rational". One thing is to hop on a car and drive it home, and the other thing is hop on a car, turn it on, BLIND YOURSELF, and flip a coin to see if you reach home alive. Sure, if Jason is chasing you with a chain saw, by all means give it a shot. But if not, why the hurry? Teleporters as a method of personal transport may be cool, but is stupidly overrated


    Quote Originally Posted by Murska View Post
    But let's say you're in a deranged Schrödinger's Cat -esque experiment and know that you have a 80% chance of dying to deadly poison gas triggered by a random decay event, but you're offered a teleportation ride out to safety. Insofar as you know, the teleporter (which is in common use) has never failed, but there are philosophers warning that it might destroy your identity and create what amounts to only a copy of you at the other end. Assume you're selfish and want to do what gives the best chance of survival for you specifically, so no going into the teleporter in order to give a copy of yours the chance to live if you expect it to be the end of you personally. What do you do?
    That's an odd experiment, but it's not that complicated. When a building is burning in flames, does @joeltion think it's stupid and/or irrational to give a try and jump off the window. Well, it turns out, it depends on the floor @joeltion is on. He said to me: "Anything less than 4th floor is worth a shot". Does that answer your real question?

    Quote Originally Posted by Murska View Post
    I can define something existing as that thing in some way, through some causal link, being able to have an effect on me. This results in a rather sensible definition, because I can't see any meaning in positing something that cannot in any way affect me ( = is not measurable) existing - even if it did, by some strange definition of 'exist', what then? So, if consciousness exists, it can affect me in some way. That means it's measurable. Quantifiable? I don't know about that.
    You, and only you, can experience and demonstrate (to yourself) of your own consciousness. That is why it isn't really "measurable". "Measures" are only relevant when they are used to demonstrate something to a third party. You can't do that with consciousness. We haven't reach that point yet. Someday? Maybe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    And don't forget the half a dozen crackpot doomsday theories surrounding the large hadron collider. And people who think vaccines cause autism. Or the people who believed that traveling at more than 30 miles per hour would rip the skin off your body or make your lungs collapse. And the primitive belief that having your picture taken would steal your soul.
    Or killer bees? The problem with that kind of thinking is that what distinguishes a "crackpot theory" from "real ethical concerns about technology" is just a matter of being uneducated vs. proper research. You can't simply hand-wave and brand any objection to the way we should handle (and respect) technology as "petty fears from lesser beings". It's not only rude and dangerous. It's plain stupid.

    Yes, there's always those paranoid people who spout fear and try to impose Luddite rhetoric everywhere. That doesn't mean technology and science should be our plaything. Some people still think that climate change is just another "crackpot theory". Heck, some (even stupider) people would try and shut you up because "it's just a theory". Science should always move forward, true. But in a way that it doesn't doom us all to a future ruled by oversized Hymenoptera (We are lucky we haven't researched that yet).

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    This. 1000 times this. We do not live in the world of Planescape. Belief is not power; belief is not relevant; belief has no value. I feel that Nietzsche illustrated it best when he suggested that anyone who thinks that feelings and beliefs can move mountains ought to take a tour of a psychiatric hospital and see all the people whose feelings and beliefs haven't
    For all the love I have for my pal Nietzsche, he was wrong. Belief moves people. People moves mountains if they want. Even by themselves. Suck it, Nietchy!

    Anyway, that's precisely why I want to avoid to derail the discussion too much on the side of metaphysics. Belief may not have power over matter, but it does influence our decisions. And also, blind us. Belief in Luddism, blind us on the infinite advantages of technology. But belief in technology, makes us blind to the dangers we create ourselves (which isn't any better). Belief is dangerous. Both ways.
    Last edited by joeltion; 2017-09-22 at 03:23 PM.
    (sic)

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    If it's magical, then there's no point to argue. A wizard did it after all. They know how to make you the "real" you bc MAGIC.
    Just because "magic" is invoked to justify the premise, or rather as a reminder that it is the premise, doesn't mean anything goes also because "magic".

    The wizard knows how to make a perfect copy of you somewhere else. The wizard is now wondering if it can be considered the real you.

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    Default Re: My problem with time travel and teleportation

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    If it's magical, then there's no point to argue. A wizard did it after all. They know how to make you the "real" you bc MAGIC. But my current knowledge of physics and rough knowledge of math points out to the fact that Technology and Science simply can never be 100% accurate. So, being technology we are discussing here and not fantasy... well, deal with it.
    I'm trying to say that claiming the teleporter might be unsafe because it has an error is missing the point of the thought experiment, which is to say, if everything goes exactly as planned do you, or do you not, die. Teleportation in this fashion is, insofar as we can tell, entirely impossible so we're not actually discussing technology here, we're discussing philosophy.

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    Yes, I concede it's similar to Pascalian rethoric; but the main flaw with Pascal is that he proposed to CHOOSE one thing over several because reasons. That doesn't apply to my argument. I'm proposing to choose INACTION, when it comes to Teleporting yourself. I'm not saying it is "more convenient for you to choose not to teleport". There are several cases where in fact, you may be left with no choice but to risk and teleport yourself out of a facility that is about to explode.

    What I really said is that you are risking almost infinitely more (your self-awareness) than can be possibly gain in most scenarios (move around). Transporting your own body is almost never a more urgent necessity than having experience of yourself. That is what I call "being rational". One thing is to hop on a car and drive it home, and the other thing is hop on a car, turn it on, BLIND YOURSELF, and flip a coin to see if you reach home alive. Sure, if Jason is chasing you with a chain saw, by all means give it a shot. But if not, why the hurry? Teleporters as a method of personal transport may be cool, but is stupidly overrated
    Inaction is an action. Anything you do, or don't do, risks extremely improbable but also extremely bad outcomes. Why priviledge one extremely unlikely possibility over another? Unless there's some reason to think that teleportation is more likely to risk your self-awareness than a car ride or blinking or eating tacos.
    That's an odd experiment, but it's not that complicated. When a building is burning in flames, does @joeltion think it's stupid and/or irrational to give a try and jump off the window. Well, it turns out, it depends on the floor @joeltion is on. He said to me: "Anything less than 4th floor is worth a shot". Does that answer your real question?
    Not really. The question was an attempt to get past probability and risk into certainties. If you are absolutely certain that the teleporter will kill you, you obviously shouldn't take it to escape a merely probable death. And since we're, again, positing that the teleporter does actually work exactly as described and has no chance of error, if you don't think going through the process of being turned into information and reassembled elsewhere kills you, going through it is of course the right choice.
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