Home > Science, Star Trek > Ars Technica interviewed me on STAR TREK transporters

Ars Technica interviewed me on STAR TREK transporters

You may recall that last year, Xaq Rzetelny of the science site Ars Technica interviewed me about Star Trek temporal physics. Well, Xaq recently came across my 2011 post “On quantum teleportation and continuity of self,” and sought my input for an article tackling the same basic question for Star Trek transporters — whether or not the person who comes out of the transporter is the same one who went in. It’s a detailed and well-researched piece that also contains comments from folks like Michael Okuda and Lawrence Krauss, and you can read it here:

Is beaming down in Star Trek a death sentence?

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  1. Physics
    September 23, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Second Chances – Thomas Riker

    A copy is the same by this episode up to the point where they diverged. Their separate environments led to differences from that point on. I liked the article by Ars. Congrats on the source credit.

  2. Saiko
    September 25, 2017 at 11:03 am

    IMO the entire premise is silly. Of course you’re the same person. All the cells in any human aren’t the same ones that were there 2-3 years prior. Does anyone think they died and became a new person because the cells they had then all died and were replaced? Of course not. An organism in the information that manifests it.

    • Saiko
      September 25, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Typo. That was meant to be “An organism is the information that manifests it.”

    • September 25, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Not really silly, because what if there are two copies of the same information? If someone scanned you and created a separate, exact copy without affecting the original, your perception would not suddenly jump into that body; it would remain in your own, and you’d perceive the copy as a separate being. So it follows that if the copy is created after your original body is destroyed, you’d just be dead and the copy would lead its own separate life. It would think it was you, but your own perception of yourself would’ve ceased. That’s why the key question is how/whether there can be continuity of consciousness from one copy to another.

      • Physics
        September 25, 2017 at 1:28 pm

        In Second Chances, Riker had this happen. Not only were there two Rikers from that point on (when the transporter malfunctioned), but arguably the original was left at the deteriorating base and a copy had lived in his place with no knowledge that the other Riker existed.

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