Author Topic: Let me............... Tel-e-port you!  (Read 38907 times)

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Offline karajorma

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Okay, this is a Sci-fi board so let's try a sci-fi example. In the Star Trek TNG episode Second Chances Riker finds out that a transporter accident caused a duplicate to end up stranded on a planet for 8 years.

Now let's suppose that instead this error had caused two Rikers to appear in the transporter room. Which one is the real Riker? There isn't one, they are both the real Riker.


People keep arguing as if we're dealing with a situation where one of the two is real and one is the copy. But in this situation both are Riker prime.
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Online Mongoose

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
I feel like, in some respects, people on both sides of this understand the main points of the other side without the other side understanding that.  Um...understand? :p

TrashMan, I don't think that either Battuta or karajorma would argue that Bob1 and Bob2 represent two separate entities that undergo different experiences, and that said experiences would vanish forever if one of them were to die.  There's no sort of "magical consciousness transfer" that would send the new memories and experiences of Bob1 to Bob2 if the former were to die.  However, under their model, both Bob1 and Bob2 share every single experience, memory, thought, and emotion up until the moment of their "forking."  They could both accurately be called "you," since they're identical in every respect in history, just as the two Rikers were in the Star Trek episode that karajorma mentioned.  Even if one of the two Bobs were to die, in a general sense, "you" would still be alive, since the other Bob would represent everything that makes you you.

And Battuta/karajorma, I think (or at least hope) that everyone gets the idea of the fork concept by now, but TrashMan raises a completely valid point himself.  In the general sense, the concept of "you" survives no matter what happens to one of the individual Bobs, since all of them share those same thoughts and memories from before the fork.  However, from the perspective of one single Bob, this concept means ****-all from a practical standpoint, since his death would result in the permanent loss of the thoughts and memories he's acquired since the fork took place.  To him, the whole concept doesn't represent any degree of immortality at all, because his own individual self can die just as easily as any normal human can, with the same results.

I don't know if this accomplishes anything, but maybe if everyone realizes that everyone seems to understand everyone else, we won't have so many headaches. :p

 

Offline Ford Prefect

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
And no, you don't die constantly. Your perception of self, your life , your point of view - they are constant untill you die.
Disturbing though it may be, this claim has no epistemological foothold whatsoever. Imagine that the universe has just sprung into existence, in its present configuration, only a split second ago. You would remember a life that hadn't actually "happened," but what would it matter? All your memories up to any given moment are no more and no less than your physical configuration at that moment. Your sense of the past is entirely a product of your state in an infinitely minute present, and thus the existence of a causal connection between you and your remembered self is pure conjecture.
 
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Offline karajorma

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
And Battuta/karajorma, I think (or at least hope) that everyone gets the idea of the fork concept by now, but TrashMan raises a completely valid point himself.  In the general sense, the concept of "you" survives no matter what happens to one of the individual Bobs, since all of them share those same thoughts and memories from before the fork.  However, from the perspective of one single Bob, this concept means ****-all from a practical standpoint, since his death would result in the permanent loss of the thoughts and memories he's acquired since the fork took place.  To him, the whole concept doesn't represent any degree of immortality at all, because his own individual self can die just as easily as any normal human can, with the same results.

I fully understand the point Trashman is failing to make but his original argument was predicated on the fact that the copy would know it's a copy.

Which has already been proved to be bollocks about a dozen times in this thread.
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Offline TrashMan

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Okay, this is a Sci-fi board so let's try a sci-fi example. In the Star Trek TNG episode Second Chances Riker finds out that a transporter accident caused a duplicate to end up stranded on a planet for 8 years.

Now let's suppose that instead this error had caused two Rikers to appear in the transporter room. Which one is the real Riker? There isn't one, they are both the real Riker.

People keep arguing as if we're dealing with a situation where one of the two is real and one is the copy. But in this situation both are Riker prime.

Actually, the original Riker is dead. Vaporized by the transporter. Both Rikers are copies.


And the copy might now it's a copy. By simple deduction. It depends on how the copy is made in the first place. If  the last memory before you wake up is you lying on a cloning table and you wake up in a copy tube..well, it doesn't take a genius to figure it out.
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Which of these two narratives is what really happens from your point of view?

Quote
I walk in to the office. I sit down in the chair. They put the helmet on my head. The scan is over in the time it takes me to blink. I get up and walk outside. A car screeches down the pavement and hits me. I fade away into nothingness.

Quote
I walk in to the office. I sit down in the chair. They put the helmet on my head. I blink. When I wake up, I am in a different room. "What happened?" I ask. "Did it work?" They tell me that it worked flawlessly, but that my other fork was killed shortly after the scan. "Shucks!" I say. "I waste all that money and one of my copies gets himself run over?"

Then go ahead and read this.

And yeah, Kara's correct with the transporter example. You tried to dodge it by saying that 'the original is dead', but by that argument, you're dead - you're not made of the same matter you were a year ago.

I really do understand where you're coming from - your issue is that no individual fork can guarantee prospective immortality, and that's true, even though any given fork is guaranteed retrospective immortality - but the resolution to your dilemma simply lies in the fact that the two forks are utterly interchangeable and therefore you can't tell one from the other.

You continue to 'ride the rails' of one fork, insisting that it's the original. But you have no meaningful way of telling which one is the original and which one is the copy, which makes your argument irrelevant.

Let's be done with this debate, I don't want to spend another whole day thinking about it, and all your points have already been covered in great depth.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 05:16:59 am by General Battuta »

 

Offline Kosh

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Quote
Let's be done with this debate, I don't want to spend another whole day thinking about it.


This was easily the most enlightening debate I've had in a long time.


Out of curiousity how do you know so much about this stuff?

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I've gotta go to sleep....

You know if your brain was nanoaugmented you might not need to sleep. :p
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Probably! Though sleeping is another one of those points against TrashMan. You don't assume you're a copy when you wake up in the morning - even though, neurally, you've actually been trimmed quite a bit.

TrashMan has yet to answer the two-brain-in-one-skull question either, which suggests he probably cannot.

Ironically, TrashMan already employs the system he is so afraid of: his brainstate is copied from moment to moment via causal coupling, and the previous state is destroyed instantaneously.

He believes he's still the same person. His argument is, however, that if the previous brainstate were instead to fork off in a different direction, then only one would still be 'the real him', the man holding the mental TrashMan camera.

Ironically, his current system, the one he's using right now, is indistinguishable from the Riker transporter example above. There is no meaningful difference, except that in his current reality, one of the duplicates (doesn't matter which one!) sputters out of existence - overwritten by the new one.

I really do understand where he's coming from, though. I almost talked myself around to his position yesterday. If you start at a time before the scan and trace your finger forward along the path of your consciousness, it seems like there's no possible way that your consciousness will ever magically jump over to another body. By necessity, you must remain in the original, since your brain does not causally care that it has been copied. When you die, you're out, no matter how many backups you made.

And that's totally true.

And yet, starting from the other fork's happily immortal endpoint, and tracing back...there's no discontinuity either. Perfect smoothness all the way back to birth.

That's why I posted this a little while back -

HOLD THE PRESSES.

I have figured out a way into the TrashMan/Scotty/Kosh argument that makes me agree with it in part and moves my understanding of the entire idea closer to a synthesis of the two perspectives. It makes me think we've been arguing the same thing from two different directions and that some of Ghostavo and Scotty's points have actually been more valid than I thought.

I will wait until one of them posts again to see if it's necessary, though.

TrashMan is deceived by the fact that there are two forks. If the 'original' (silly term) were vaporized at the moment of transfer, and cognition resumed at just that very instant in the new brain, that would not be significantly different from the way your brain changes between one moment and the next. So long as you accept that you are the same person now you were a minute ago, you must accept that this is true immortality.

Your family can move to a different house, but it's still the same family. So long as one brainstate is causally connected to the previous one: immortality.

Now, TrashMan is even now thinking - albeit quite correctly - that this remains pure philosophy. The fact is that the brain does not care that it's been copied. It will keep on ticking along until death, which will proceed just like a normal death, with no magical salvation.

Sure. 100% correct.

And yet you will also be alive in the other fork. And there is no reason to privilege one fork over the other.

This strategy for immortality does not minimize death. Rather, it produces at least one (possibly more) forks in which the fork consciousness can look backwards and say 'I have never died' at arbitrary time, even though each individual fork is nonetheless doomed (but in a way which is not meaningfully different from the way in which your current brainstate is doomed!)

Bizarre, huh?
« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 05:32:39 am by General Battuta »

 

Offline swashmebuckle

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Ok well it's been 8 pages of the same forking arguments so who's down for playing a little Pseudo-Immortality Good Idea/Bad Idea?  I'm gonna say bad idea from a practical standpoint--there's just too much that seems destined to go wrong with it:

1) How do you decide who gets to fork?  Obviously if everyone can fork indefinitely you'll run out of resources sooner or later (assuming new people continue to be created), so that's not really an option.  Maybe you can transfer your pattern into another, more efficient container like a super cool man-made computer that everyone and their Dad can inhabit but good luck getting people to give up sex.  I mean what's the point if it's just you and your immortal life partner going "0010101110 mmmmmm UUUUuuuuuuh" on a bit of RAM somewhere?

2) Think about all the crap that goes down presently because people think they can go on to everlasting life.  Imagine if it actually worked!  Revolving door suicide bombers, man.  Also isn't it a relief knowing that Dick Cheney will one day cease to exist?  You know he'd be second in line to fork it up indefinitely.

3) When you do have the inevitable duplication errors, what do you do when Riker1 and Riker2 both want to go back to their quarters and fork Troi (assuming Rikers and Troi wouldn't be totally into this)?

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Okay, this is a Sci-fi board so let's try a sci-fi example. In the Star Trek TNG episode Second Chances Riker finds out that a transporter accident caused a duplicate to end up stranded on a planet for 8 years.

Now let's suppose that instead this error had caused two Rikers to appear in the transporter room. Which one is the real Riker? There isn't one, they are both the real Riker.

People keep arguing as if we're dealing with a situation where one of the two is real and one is the copy. But in this situation both are Riker prime.

Actually, the original Riker is dead. Vaporized by the transporter. Both Rikers are copies.

In which case you've completely undermined your own argument. If the transporter kills the original and replaces it with a copy I presume that you would never ever use one and anyone in the Trek universe who had the same issue with it as you wouldn't use one either.

Quote
And the copy might now it's a copy. By simple deduction. It depends on how the copy is made in the first place. If  the last memory before you wake up is you lying on a cloning table and you wake up in a copy tube..well, it doesn't take a genius to figure it out.

People keep arguing as if we're dealing with a situation where one of the two is real and one is the copy. But in this situation both are Riker prime.

I really couldn't have said it any more clearly. :rolleyes:
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Offline TrashMan

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Which of these two narratives is what really happens from your point of view?

That depends on which of the two me's I was. I can only be one entity.


Quote
And yeah, Kara's correct with the transporter example. You tried to dodge it by saying that 'the original is dead', but by that argument, you're dead - you're not made of the same matter you were a year ago.

I really do understand where you're coming from - your issue is that no individual fork can guarantee prospective immortality, and that's true, even though any given fork is guaranteed retrospective immortality - but the resolution to your dilemma simply lies in the fact that the two forks are utterly interchangeable and therefore you can't tell one from the other.

That someone can't tell them for eachother is irrelevant. They can tell eachoter apart. They are distinct individuals. the fact that m cells replace themselves doesn't break the continuity and awerness of my self. I don't die as my cells age and are replaced. I don't experience death. My existance continues.


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You continue to 'ride the rails' of one fork, insisting that it's the original. But you have no meaningful way of telling which one is the original and which one is the copy, which makes your argument irrelevant.

No, it doesn't matter which one is the origial. What matters is that each one has it's own sense of self - and that sense of self dies with him. Which makes all of YOUR points moot.

« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 06:08:15 am by TrashMan »
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Offline TrashMan

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Quote
Actually, the original Riker is dead. Vaporized by the transporter. Both Rikers are copies.

In which case you've completely undermined your own argument. If the transporter kills the original and replaces it with a copy I presume that you would never ever use one and anyone in the Trek universe who had the same issue with it as you wouldn't use one either.

Undermined how? I wouldn't use a transporter, no.
Please don't tell me you're trying to use the behaviour/belief on characters in a fictional universe as proof of anything.


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People keep arguing as if we're dealing with a situation where one of the two is real and one is the copy. But in this situation both are Riker prime.

I really couldn't have said it any more clearly. :rolleyes:

Irrelevant. They can both be real. Doesn't change the fact that each is a separete entity.

Basic logic. If it's two, then it can't be one. 1+1=2, not 1.
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Offline Kosh

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Quote
Bizarre, huh?


Interesting but it doesn't totally answer my question. How do you know this stuff? I'm curious about your sources so I can learn more.....
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Which of these two narratives is what really happens from your point of view?

That depends on which of the two me's I was. I can only be one entity.

That's right (as is everything in that post). Nothing you said in those two recent posts you made was wrong. You're just arguing a point that's been accepted and explored for pages now.

After the fork, you are two separate entities, both of them equally you. If one dies, he's dead.

No, it doesn't matter which one is the origial. What matters is that each one has it's own sense of self - and that sense of self dies with him. Which makes all of YOUR points moot.

I've already explained to you why this happens. Go back and reread the earlier posts.

Using this forking method, you can now extend retrospective existence indefinitely.

You're right. We've been telling you that you're right. But you're also equally wrong. I think you're finally beginning to ken what we're saying, though.

Copying creates more yous.

The fact that you've now admitted that you can't tell copy from original, but that the copies themselves can, is precisely the point. Would you be worried about your own death if your identical twin died? No.

So long as any given fork lives, you can think of it as your twins dying, but the original living. And I don't think that you, TrashMan, would be freaking out over your copies dying (you might be sad, but it's not you dying.)

Thus, you are immortal.

Your problem is that you want an immortality strategy that minimizes deaths of all possible forks of you. Such a strategy is a trivial reduction of the forking strategy. One example would be moving your brain to a new, young body every so often.

But if you accept this as an immortality strategy that does not involve self-death (which you will), then you must also accept that the forking strategy is logically identical, only with the addition of some duplicates of yourself as 'waste products'. The only thing is that any given duplicate will see all the others as those waste products.

You are multiplying yourself. And yes, if any one of those selves dies, it is dead. Nobody has contested that.

You can indeed die in this system; immortality by forking does not prevent you from dying. But it nonetheless satisfies these constraints:

Quote
A system whereby my consciousness can continue indefinitely, without fear of permanent extinction, and without any interruption more significant than normal sleep or unconsciousness, and in which all my memories, both implicit and explicit (thereby including skills, cognitive structures) are preserved, along with my neural structure and embodied cognitive elements.

What you're hung up on is divergence after the fork. As Kara has demonstrated, you have to explicitly state which point of view you are now working from, just as in relativity you must specify a reference frame for anything to make sense. And as you've stated, you are now two different people after the fork.

The issue is that the system does not appear to be time-asymmetric. If you follow your point of view forward through a fork, you see no divergence: you sit down in a chair, get scanned, get up, leave, die.

But if you follow your point of view backwards from either of the two forks, you also meet no divergence. As the artificial fork, you remember sitting down in the chair and then waking up in a white room.

Making the leap to understanding this requires a tremendous effort and no little insight, like Ford Prefect said. It requires you to realize that you are not the same person you were five years ago in any physical sense, and that as long as two brainstates are directly causally coupled, they must be meaningfully considered the same person (how else are we to say that we continue?)

Again, Trash, ponder this thought experiment: You have two brains in your head, held perfectly in synchrony by a link. Which one of them do you live in? What happens if one of them is killed? Do you notice anything?

On the broader level, consider: how is death different from simple unconsciousness? In what way are they meaningfully different? If the mind can be rebooted from pure wetware after a state of zero neural activity, then what is the mind aside from meat? (Nothing!)

All in all, I find it ironic that you're getting so worked up about this, when I imagine you would be completely fine with a live-update backup system with no divergence (a la Cylon resurrection.) Would you be okay with resurrecting Cylon-style?

Quote
Bizarre, huh?
Interesting but it doesn't totally answer my question. How do you know this stuff? I'm curious about your sources so I can learn more.....

Uh, honestly, I've mostly just thought this out from first principles. Most of it (including the mind-boggling paradoxes that are tripping up Trash and even myself) can be constructed from physicalism and a purely physicalist answer to the mind/body problem. However, Kara might've read something good on the topic. I think Daniel Dennett is a physicalist philosopher.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 10:08:30 am by General Battuta »

 

Offline TrashMan

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
And in that sense, your whole concpet of immortality is flawed. You equate yourself with your memories and patterns, nothing more. It's like the POV and sense of self don't matter. They do.

And this is all without even brining into question the very posiblity of making perfect copies OR the issue of souls.
Frankly, me ****ing out a new universe has a greater chance of happning that that. But, since we're keeping things theoretical, I'll gloss over that.

But if we're throwing around theories and "what if's", how about this one - the uncertanty principle (or some other universal law) makes making perfect copies impossible. What then?
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
And in that sense, your whole concpet of immortality is flawed. You equate yourself with your memories and patterns, nothing more. It's like the POV and sense of self don't matter. They do.

Ah, but the POV and sense of self are preserved, just as much as they are lost! Each fork is a full 'me', complete with totally preserved POV and sense of self.

I edited the previous post a bit. Go back and read it over if you like. All expansions or clarifications.

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But if we're throwing around theories and "what if's", how about this one - the uncertanty principle (or some other universal law) makes making perfect copies impossible. What then?

Then you have to settle for fuzzy copies - which, ironically, is the very mechanism you use to copy yourself from moment to moment.

If you accept that you are the same person you were ten minutes ago, you must accept the reality of copying. Both situations create a new brainstate that is causally coupled to the previous one by physical law.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
To make it easier, think about the fork this way:

At the moment of copying, your mind expands and then splits in twain, into two identical copies. (We've actually observed this in real people, to a degree, in certain lesion and lobotomy cases.) One of the cases is then plucked out and moves over to the new body. The other remains in your skull.

Your problem is your rigid assumption that your POV remains in your original skull. But your POV, too, has been duplicated, and flies over to the new brain. It's just as valid to call what you left behind the copy or the detritus - thus, the use of the fair term 'fork'.

And yes, from this point on, you're moving forward as two separate people. But if you accept that everything essential about you has migrated, then the copying process is exactly the same as the tick forward from one brainstate to the next within your own skull. And if you accept that you were the same person you were a second ago, then you must accept that you remain the same person in a new body.

You've also remained the same person in your old body (unless you elected to vaporize or freeze it, which is a process no more significant than consigning your previous brainstates to memory except in that the old body has the potential to diverge, which previous brainstates do not except, partially, in patients who've had their corpus callosum cut.)

The key is to specify your reference frame.

 

Online Mongoose

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Heh, so much for a 4AM post accomplishing anything.  I should really know better.

Also, I feel like swashmebuckle asked some of the most pertinent yet overlooked questions in this entire thread. :p

 

Offline Bobboau

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
I have not been keeping up with this discussion, but I just skimmed the last page and I had a thought.
what if forks were made by temporally freezing you, splitting your body lengthwise and atom by atom reconstructing the other half? which one is the 'original' then?
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
I have not been keeping up with this discussion, but I just skimmed the last page and I had a thought.
what if forks were made by temporally freezing you, splitting your body lengthwise and atom by atom reconstructing the other half? which one is the 'original' then?

That is indeed the question we've been harping on - we've played with that thought experiment a bit. They're both the 'original' and both the 'copy'. I don't see any other sensible resolution.

Another formulation is this:

You are blindfolded, drugged, and spun about until very dizzy. You are then led into a room, where there are two chairs. One chair contains a clone body awaiting a brain scan from you, and you are placed in the other. Because you are dizzy, you have no idea which chair you were placed in or where in the room you are.

The scan is performed, and your blindfold is removed. How do you know whether you are still in your original body, or in a new one?

(You can also perform this experiment by simply rendering the hypothetical scan-ee unconscious.)