The ethics of teleportation

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HenryS
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Postby HenryS » Fri May 25, 2007 12:42 am UTC

fatduck wrote:
HenryS wrote:Your perception of reality ends at least once a day when you go to sleep. Why are you so scared of it?


You've written this a few times and it's just wrong. Your brain doesn't shut off when you go to sleep, and if you've ever had lucid dreams you don't even necessarily lose consciousness.
My point stands as long as you lose consciousness at some point during the night. And I bet you do.

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Postby fatduck » Fri May 25, 2007 12:46 am UTC

HenryS wrote:
fatduck wrote:
HenryS wrote:Your perception of reality ends at least once a day when you go to sleep. Why are you so scared of it?


You've written this a few times and it's just wrong. Your brain doesn't shut off when you go to sleep, and if you've ever had lucid dreams you don't even necessarily lose consciousness.
My point stands as long as you lose consciousness at some point during the night. And I bet you do.


First of all, your point requires a ridiculous definition of personal identity. If you're going to make the argument that the "you" when you go to sleep isn't the same as the "you" when you wake up, you may as well just accept that you only think there's a "you" as a consequence of thinking (read: consciousness) at all.

But even if you accept this definition of identity, you haven't really made a point. Are you ever conscious of being unconscious? No. You experience losing consciousness, followed immediately by regaining consciousness on your own subjective timeline. There's no discontinuity at all.

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Postby HenryS » Fri May 25, 2007 2:04 am UTC

fatduck wrote:First of all, your point requires a ridiculous definition of personal identity. If you're going to make the argument that the "you" when you go to sleep isn't the same as the "you" when you wake up, you may as well just accept that you only think there's a "you" as a consequence of thinking (read: consciousness) at all.
Well, maybe that's right. There's only a me being conscious when I'm conscious. When I'm asleep then yes, there is a physical body there, but there's no feeling of 'I' there, because nothing is feeling it.

But yes, you're right, this is an extreme position - that the person who will wake up tomorrow is not the same person that is writing this post. I think however, that it's pretty clear that one is not the same person as "this body, 20 years earlier" (different preferences, interests, ways of thinking about things etc etc, I can't even remember what it was like to be that person), and there is no clear place to say that "X days ago I was not the same person as I am now, but X-1 days ago I was".

fatduck wrote:But even if you accept this definition of identity, you haven't really made a point. Are you ever conscious of being unconscious? No. You experience losing consciousness, followed immediately by regaining consciousness on your own subjective timeline. There's no discontinuity at all.
In that sense, yeah I think I'd agree with you about it seeming continuous (although this I think assumes that consciousness is a discrete, on/off thing, and I don't think that it is). But on the more objective timeline (GMT etc) then of course there is a discontinuity.

If you're happy that in your version of "continuity of consciousness" you can be turned off for a few hours then turned on again, then presumably you'd have no trouble getting teleported in the meantime?

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Postby fatduck » Fri May 25, 2007 2:25 am UTC

HenryS wrote:
fatduck wrote:First of all, your point requires a ridiculous definition of personal identity. If you're going to make the argument that the "you" when you go to sleep isn't the same as the "you" when you wake up, you may as well just accept that you only think there's a "you" as a consequence of thinking (read: consciousness) at all.
Well, maybe that's right. There's only a me being conscious when I'm conscious. When I'm asleep then yes, there is a physical body there, but there's no feeling of 'I' there, because nothing is feeling it.

But yes, you're right, this is an extreme position - that the person who will wake up tomorrow is not the same person that is writing this post. I think however, that it's pretty clear that one is not the same person as "this body, 20 years earlier" (different preferences, interests, ways of thinking about things etc etc, I can't even remember what it was like to be that person), and there is no clear place to say that "X days ago I was not the same person as I am now, but X-1 days ago I was".

fatduck wrote:But even if you accept this definition of identity, you haven't really made a point. Are you ever conscious of being unconscious? No. You experience losing consciousness, followed immediately by regaining consciousness on your own subjective timeline. There's no discontinuity at all.
In that sense, yeah I think I'd agree with you about it seeming continuous (although this I think assumes that consciousness is a discrete, on/off thing, and I don't think that it is). But on the more objective timeline (GMT etc) then of course there is a discontinuity.

If you're happy that in your version of "continuity of consciousness" you can be turned off for a few hours then turned on again, then presumably you'd have no trouble getting teleported in the meantime?


No no I think you misunderstood me. My point was you never actually "lose consciousness." You're never conscious of being unconscious. You consciously experience "losing consciousness" and then the next instant you consciously experience "regaining consciousness." That's why there's no loss of continuity.

I personally believe that the self is the consequence of thought, and not vice versa.

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Postby Chrono285 » Fri May 25, 2007 4:21 am UTC

I agree with HenryS here. Going to sleep at night is at least as scary as dying. It's letting go of the stream of conciousness. The only reason you can sleep is because you're fairly sure you'll pick it back up in the morning.

The thing is, you have no way of knowing if your stream of conciousness will permanently end tonight when you sleep, and another conciousness will awake in the morning with the impression it is the same that went to sleep.

To put it another way, can you prove that the world wasn't created last night, with all your memories planted inside to make it seem like you've been alive all your life?

Would you rather die in your sleep or have your entire memory wiped in your sleep? Is there any difference at all?
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Postby fatduck » Fri May 25, 2007 11:55 am UTC

Chrono285 wrote:I agree with HenryS here. Going to sleep at night is at least as scary as dying. It's letting go of the stream of conciousness. The only reason you can sleep is because you're fairly sure you'll pick it back up in the morning.

The thing is, you have no way of knowing if your stream of conciousness will permanently end tonight when you sleep, and another conciousness will awake in the morning with the impression it is the same that went to sleep.

To put it another way, can you prove that the world wasn't created last night, with all your memories planted inside to make it seem like you've been alive all your life?

Would you rather die in your sleep or have your entire memory wiped in your sleep? Is there any difference at all?


This is why I regularly practice lucid dreaming :D

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Postby SecondTalon » Fri May 25, 2007 11:58 am UTC

More to the point, why are we arguing technology that we will in all likelihood never see in our lives?


The same reason we argue about ships and axes that have had their component pieces replaced with new ones - it's fun to be all thinky 'n' stuff.

Back to the point, if you want to define existence and identity one way, every moment that passes sees you destroyed, replaced by a you that has all your memories, plus memories of what just happened... that's immediately replaced by a new you, with even newer memories.

Or, you can define identity in such a way as to say that you came into existence the exact moment the sperm fertilized the egg, and you've remained the same throughout.
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Postby charlesfahringer » Fri May 25, 2007 12:36 pm UTC

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Postby Terminus » Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:17 am UTC

[/unlurk]

Hi there!
I'd just like to share an article that was important in shaping my views on this subject, it contains several interesting thought experiments that (to me) prove that replacement of parts or all of your brain or transfer of the medium your mind resides in shouldn't destroy 'you'.
http://www.leaderu.com/truth/2truth05.html

The way i think of this like several of you have been discussing is that your mind is more like a pattern impressed on materials in the universe. The pattern now is different to the one ten years ago but is still mostly similar, like a whirlwind on a beach it may not be exactly the same moment to moment but at least changes in a particular way unique to this whirlwind.
This means an important part of this pattern is also how the pattern changes over time as outside stimuli affect it; you could say that this change over time is what we percieve as our consciousness, chugging along determining what i should type next in this text box.

If you consider it this way it shouldnt really matter on what medium your pattern is impressed, if it's that chunk of carbon or this. Or even if it is transferred onto a computer as the article discusses. You can also expand this like in a New Scientist article i have read, that you are perhaps the 'highest resolution' pattern labelled 'you' in the universe right now. But there are also many other lower resolution copies, like in the mirror a temporary pattern resembling you exists, not you; but maybe some percentage you. Other lower resolution copies of your pattern also reside in other peoples memories, of the way they think you look and act. You would even have a lower resolution copy in your own mind of how you think you appear and respond to the world.

So back to the original question, if you are copied to pluto and the original is not destroyed then maybe the best way to think of it is that there is still only one you, one pattern merely existing in two places. Therefore if you destroyed one, nothing has really been lost.
Ethically though this is a tough call, i dont know if its possible to think this way with enough conviction to peacefully step into the suicide booth . . .

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Postby mosc » Wed Jun 13, 2007 6:47 pm UTC

hey all, interesting subject.

I struggled with this issue a lot when I was younger and trying to deal with a fear of death (and being a star trek fan). My final conclusion was that you do die, and then a new you is created. The new you has all your memories and consciousness so it keeps right on going as if nothing happened. The old you dies. This scared me as well until I analyzed the situation more.

Every moment of our lives we are kept running by trillions of atoms semi-randomly interacting with each other. I think our "consciousness" itself is just a continuing progression of random mental states. We essentially die and are reborn every moment anyway. Your body, your brain, and your thoughts are all transient. Unless you believe strongly in a metaphysical soul, life is just a bio-mechanical machine and your consciousness is just a pointer on a continually running program. Set up an exact clone of you with the same pointer and it'd be just as 'you' as you are.


The outer limits episode with the raptors actually had the guy actively KILL the original person which was much more dramatic of the point. I enjoyed the episode but I think the real strength was the ending where the operator was shown as completely numb to living people. He had been forced to view them as just bio-mechanical machines and his spark seemed to just be gone. I loved this, as I find the mystery of one's understanding of life and the divine a key factor in keeping us all from accepting our possible automaton nature. The mystery keeps us interested, if you will. The dark truth seems to point to that if one truly feels they have no soul, nothing that makes them more than the sum of their parts, then they actually seem to loose that undefinable spark in themselves.


The prestige was a complex movie with over the top twists but I think if you believe he was cloning himself, you missed the point of the movie. I quote, "Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it because you're not really looking. You don't really want to know the secret... You want to be fooled.". The Simple truth is that there was no tesla magic involved. That was a story, the trick. The actual truth was he was simply killing impostors. If you look at the end moment of the movie, you see the face inside the glass tank is not the same. The movie wasn't about this issue as it was about the passion for the secret taken to the extremes and it's effects on the magicians, more than just ruining their own lives.


The star trek transporter has a few other elements that make the morality easier to deal with. First, the pattern degrades quickly. Also, it's a tremendous amount of data which means it can't really be copied. Third, they have to take you apart in order to GET the data. Effectively this means one in, one out.

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Postby Princess Marzipan » Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:19 am UTC

mosc wrote:The star trek transporter has a few other elements that make the morality easier to deal with. First, the pattern degrades quickly. Also, it's a tremendous amount of data which means it can't really be copied. Third, they have to take you apart in order to GET the data. Effectively this means one in, one out.



If we're talking Star Trek...I apologize for what I am about to do, but I feel that I truly must.

ST: TNG - Second Chances wrote:In 2361, the then-Lt. William T. Riker was helping evacuate the planet Nervala IV. When he beamed up to the USS Potemkin through a distortion field, an unusual type of transporter malfunction duplicated him and sent one copy to the ship and left the other copy on the planet.

In 2369 Riker had become a Commander and was serving on the USS Enterprise-D when it found and rescued the duplicate, who took the name Thomas Riker, using Riker's middle name. Thomas Riker went on to serve aboard the USS Gandhi. The episode revolves around Cmdr Riker and Lt. Riker trying to come to terms with the transporter accident. Lt. Riker still has romantic feelings towards Troi. There is also a plot arc involving returning to the planet surface, which is only accessible every few years due to storms which prevent transporter and shuttlecraft travel. Tom Riker later appears in DS9.


You can't just use Star Trek to say HIHO. (Human in human out)
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Postby mosc » Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:07 pm UTC

yep, there's also scotty getting around pattern degradation by continually beaming himself which makes equally little sense.

Star Trek has had too many writers to 100% follow anything in their fiction.

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Postby Ghona » Mon Jun 18, 2007 5:29 pm UTC

The whole debate reminds me of this comic:

http://www.dragon-tails.com/archive.php?date=2007-04-29
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Postby Recce » Tue Jun 19, 2007 12:30 am UTC

Your cells all slowly replace themselves.

Do you still consider yourself 5 years in the past as "you?"

Do you still consider youself 5 years in the future as "you?"

If you answered yes, then functionally, replacing every single one of your atoms with another atom of the same element instantaneously will still reproduce a "you."

Now, the idea that you are killing a clone of this person is a little more complicated for me. If I were to teleport myself, but my current self was still "assembled" then I would have two exact replicas of myself. However, at the very second that these two people exist simultaneously, simply by being in a different location and experiencing different things, they are now two different people. In this case, killing one of them and keeping one alive would, in my eyes, be murder.

However, if I am disassembled before or at the same time I am reassembled in another location, I have been killed and then "resurrected" which has somewhat of a "murder" involved in it, but I would say that the resurrection part makes up for it.

In short, I believe that if we had a teleportation machine that was able to dissasemble me and then recreate me exactly, down to the very atom, in another location...
It would be wrong to teleport me before I was dissasembled, because that would create two different human beings and killing one of them would be murder and therefore unethical. However, if I was dissasembled than then reassembled in another location, I would consider that ethical, because they would be killing me and then bringing me back to life somewhere else.

Wow, I hope that you all can follow that. I'm not even sure I can. Oh well, that's my opinion on this matter. Also, I would never go into one of these teleportation machines if they exist - the idea is kind of scary to me actually.

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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby Sweeney_Todd » Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:07 pm UTC

If human consciousness is just the arrangement of your atoms, then who's to say that an exact clone of oneself wouldn't just be a "hive mind?"

4 year old necro for nothing more than this? Everyone else ought to let this one die again unless they have something incredibly enlightening to add.

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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby Praevalere » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:15 pm UTC

Hey I was diggin this thread :P
the big question, the one that truly keeps me up at night wondering about death and existence and the meaning of it all, and all that BS, is a simple thought; If there is a perfect replica of your brain, do 'you' experience its consciousness? Do its experiences mean anything to the constantly recording stimuli you've received since you can remember (think about that one for a sec) or is it just a really convincing copy? a perfectly convincing copy.

I think that the only reason I care about anything is due to chemical interactions in my skull. Looking at it that way... seems pretty inherently meaningless, huh?

Couldn't stand to think about a clone of me running around, not sharing its experiences. It isn't me. Its my person.

sometimes I REALLY HATE BEING AN ANIMAL

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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby Hedonic Treader » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:43 pm UTC

A related, very well-done cartoon elaboration: John Weldon's "To Be"

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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby A_pathetic_lizardmnan » Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:06 pm UTC

Praevalere wrote:Hey I was diggin this thread :P
the big question, the one that truly keeps me up at night wondering about death and existence and the meaning of it all, and all that BS, is a simple thought; If there is a perfect replica of your brain, do 'you' experience its consciousness? Do its experiences mean anything to the constantly recording stimuli you've received since you can remember (think about that one for a sec) or is it just a really convincing copy? a perfectly convincing copy.

I think that the only reason I care about anything is due to chemical interactions in my skull. Looking at it that way... seems pretty inherently meaningless, huh?

Couldn't stand to think about a clone of me running around, not sharing its experiences. It isn't me. Its my person.

sometimes I REALLY HATE BEING AN ANIMAL

If there is a perfect replica of your brain, it is your brain. It is you, and not a copy of you. There are now two "you"s, both with the same continuous memory. They immediately begin to diverge, because they don't have any connectedness between them. Consciousness is a process, not a property (think about it: is the "you" from 5 seconds ago dead? If you answered no, why not? Experience says "because I have a continuous memory from then to now." With teleportation you would too.) If you travel to the place you teleported to by car, you're the same person. It doesn't matter how you got from point a to point b, identical bodies are identical in all properties, which would include consciousness.

In other words, if it were possible, there would be no problem. You are not, fundamentally, made up of little billiard balls that are labelled "hydrogen atom #849371384756575184740635212720" or such, there is no way, at all of distinguishing one from another because they are both blobs of amplitude in the same space, not fundamental entities. Yes, this makes my brain hurt too.

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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby setzer777 » Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:46 am UTC

So, with regards to "destroying matter and creating an identical copy at the other end": I don't know if there is truly consciousnes as some sort of unique continuously existing substance (I think it's more likely a process carried out by matter). But supposing that it is just a process, I think it immediately becomes problematic to destroy the "original" after the information has been sent. As soon as the original has a single experience that isn't being sent through the teleporter, you are destroying a unique being whose total experience will not be preserved. Rendering it completely unconcious before the transfer would actually make things more ethically simple, as arbitrary a distinction as it seems at first glance.
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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby A_pathetic_lizardmnan » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:44 am UTC

Is it even possible to create an exact copy while leaving the original intact? If so, yes, you would be killing one of the two "you"s that briefly existed. However, I was not under the impression that that was how teleportation worked. Then again, it probably doesn't work to store the positions and energy states of every particle and then transmit them, then (for some reason) destroy the original, then create a new version at the receiving location. I think the difference is that i'm talking about the equivalent of very fast FedEx and you are thinking of a fax machine/shredder. I don't know which (if either) is an accurate representation.

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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby Praevalere » Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:22 am UTC

A_pathetic_lizardmnan wrote:It doesn't matter how you got from point a to point b, identical bodies are identical in all properties, which would include consciousness.


So... there is an identical pattern of my 'self' in the point B brain... point A brain and pattern won't see the continuation. It will be dispersed to atoms.

I may have actually larsoned this from this very thread but its too good to pass up http://www.leaderu.com/truth/2truth05.html

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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby CCL_Gamer » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:46 pm UTC

When matter is transformed into energy all atomic and molecular structures are destroyed, and that is death to any organism. It makes no difference whether it is that same energy or new energy that is used to recreate the once living organism that had its molecular structures destroyed. The recreation of that organism, is a copy of the one that was destroyed and incinerated, or if you like transformed into energy and broken down into photons.

Notice, in this explanation, I don't even touch upon on whether humans have a soul. I simply state the obvious, that when living tissue is broken down into photon energy, it ceases to exist. It is irrelevant what energy source you then use to recreate it. If you kill (sever all molecular structures) a person and recreate it, it will still be another person even when only using the biological material from the original person.

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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:13 pm UTC

A_pathetic_lizardmnan wrote:Is it even possible to create an exact copy while leaving the original intact? If so, yes, you would be killing one of the two "you"s that briefly existed. However, I was not under the impression that that was how teleportation worked. Then again, it probably doesn't work to store the positions and energy states of every particle and then transmit them, then (for some reason) destroy the original, then create a new version at the receiving location. I think the difference is that i'm talking about the equivalent of very fast FedEx and you are thinking of a fax machine/shredder. I don't know which (if either) is an accurate representation.


At a minimum, once the information is collected, there is no reason to believe it can't be used to make multiple copies(see, just about every use of data we have now), so that's a reasonable hypothesis even if the original must be destroyed for some reason.

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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby speising » Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:21 pm UTC

CCL_Gamer wrote:When matter is transformed into energy all atomic and molecular structures are destroyed, and that is death to any organism. It makes no difference whether it is that same energy or new energy that is used to recreate the once living organism that had its molecular structures destroyed. The recreation of that organism, is a copy of the one that was destroyed and incinerated, or if you like transformed into energy and broken down into photons.

Notice, in this explanation, I don't even touch upon on whether humans have a soul. I simply state the obvious, that when living tissue is broken down into photon energy, it ceases to exist. It is irrelevant what energy source you then use to recreate it. If you kill (sever all molecular structures) a person and recreate it, it will still be another person even when only using the biological material from the original person.

if you kill a person, say, with an electric shock, and then use another shock to revive the person, is that another person? if someone dies on the OP, gets his heart removed and reinserted, and gets revived by the doctors, is that another person? one could argue that molecular de-/reconstruction is just more of the same.

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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby mosc » Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:51 pm UTC

speising wrote:if you kill a person, say, with an electric shock, and then use another shock to revive the person, is that another person? if someone dies on the OP, gets his heart removed and reinserted, and gets revived by the doctors, is that another person? one could argue that molecular de-/reconstruction is just more of the same.

I argue you "Die" in this sense every moment to the next. The human perception of time is an illusion of or memory. We remember previous moments and they affect us as we make decisions but we are not directly observing the past or the future. As beings, we exist in a moment but have memories of past moments, real or fake, not an observation of time.
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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby setzer777 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:21 pm UTC

The weird thing about that is that since we don't think at the speed of light, even our "present" is multiple moments. A single moment in time is not enough to have a single thought or perception, let alone the complex process that is consciousness or calling up memories.

In that sense I don't think it's quite right to think of us as "existing in a moment" - even a subjective "instant" of observation is actually many moments stitched together.
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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby KrytenKoro » Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:02 pm UTC

Not sure if this has already been brought up, but technology that would allow a perfect copy (teleportation) would, by necessity, mean that your mind can also be digitized ("Transcendence" wooo spooky ghost noises), so it's really the same ethical issue -- is it acceptable to discard your meat shell?

I think it is.

Assuming souls exist:
*I find it hard to believe that the gods would be treat your soul as where your consciousness is -- after all, most treatments of the afterlife are along the lines of "your soul leaves your body" (...maybe Heaven is a server that your consciousness is automatically uploaded to at the instant of your death?) It would be tremendously inconsistent for them to start getting pissed because a technology they gave us the wisdom to develop, which could be used for so much compassion (and for the quiverful gods out there, just so, SO much reproduction) would be verboten just because it treats the soul as they've already taught us to treat it.

Assuming souls don't exist:
*The main concern is that you're killing a separate being, who only coincidentally happens to have a similar consciousness to you.
**If a person goes into the teleportation booth with the full intention of being vaporized, does it really even matter if they were copied on the other end? Voluntary euthanasia, especially if a digital backup of you is made so that you can be brought back to life should your estate/digital consciousness ever decide it's a good idea should not be an ethical quandary.
**Technically, there's no need to vaporize the first person, excluding resource/population concerns. Maybe install a five-minute timer before vaporization? "Are you satisfied with your teleportation Yes/No? Do you want to be vaporized, or classified as a DBP (Dual-Bodied Person)?"

...

Anyway, this is why I greatly prefer wormholes instead of teleportation, because even your most pedantic, unpleasable gods can't really find fault with it. If we do have to use teleportation, I prefer it to be after we develop customizable nanobot-bodies with transcended minds.
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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby setzer777 » Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:12 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:Anyway, this is why I greatly prefer wormholes instead of teleportation, because even your most pedantic, unpleasable gods can't really find fault with it.


I dunno, didn't one god get pissed at humanity for constructing a really tall building?
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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby KrytenKoro » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:39 am UTC

setzer777 wrote:
KrytenKoro wrote:Anyway, this is why I greatly prefer wormholes instead of teleportation, because even your most pedantic, unpleasable gods can't really find fault with it.


I dunno, didn't one god get pissed at humanity for constructing a really tall building?

Well, he gives the claim that they were doing it with the express, spoken goal of dethroning God, so it seems it wouldn't have changed anything if all they built was a 1 ft podium.

Eh. Just don't tell anyone you're building the Nexus in order to dickslap any gods, I would think.

EDIT: Clarified first paragraph (mattered > changed anything)
Last edited by KrytenKoro on Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:25 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby mosc » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:03 pm UTC

"Well, I guess God was a lot more demonstrative
Back when he flamboyantly parted the sea
Now everybody's praying
Don't pray on me"

Don't Pray on me - Bad Religion, last lines
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Re:

Postby hppavilion1 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:40 am UTC

Belial wrote:Suppose I put you into a state of suspended animation, cut you into 6 pieces (four limbs, torso, and head), essentially killing but preserving you, then put you on a truck to your destination, where you were reassembled and revitalized.

I don't really see a problem with that. The teleportation you're describing is pretty much the same situation, at least in the first part.

This doesn't quite hit the biggest issue, which is the brain:
In your situation, the brain remains completely intact. There is no real difference, it's just that you were in different parts.
Now, what if I were to cut up the person's brain as well? I do the same thing, but I remove the brain and divide it in various ways.
THe first way is no change: The brain is removed, but untouched. No problem
The second is hemispheres: Left and right are divided and reconnected later
The third is regions: All the regions of the brain are separated
The fourth is smaller pieces: The individual regions are in fifths
The fifth and final is disintegration: Every neuron is separated and reconnected at the end.
Is there a jump anywhere between restructuring the brain and irrevocably destroying it?

Also, to the OP:
Are you the same person today as you were yesterday? You feel like you're the same, but when you think about it you aren't, that you died yesterday. You know that you are some later version of them, but you aren't the same. You will never be them again, because now you are you and tomorrow you will be someone new. So what is the difference if you are completely destroyed and killed, then reassembled? There is nothing irreplaceable in the old version.

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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby ucim » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:29 pm UTC

hppavilion1 wrote:Is there a jump anywhere between restructuring the brain and irrevocably destroying it?
The "irrevocably destroying" part. If you can put it back together, it's not irrevocably destroyed.

And in any case, what makes you "you" isn't the actual atoms you are made of, but the connections between them. If, taking the same atoms, you rearranged them into somebody else's pattern, you'd be somebody else. And if you took brand new atoms and arranged them in your pattern, that would be you.

(yes, this magical technology would allow for identical copies - it's here for illustration, not for patenting.)

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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby KrytenKoro » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:33 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
hppavilion1 wrote:Is there a jump anywhere between restructuring the brain and irrevocably destroying it?
The "irrevocably destroying" part. If you can put it back together, it's not irrevocably destroyed.

And in any case, what makes you "you" isn't the actual atoms you are made of, but the connections between them. If, taking the same atoms, you rearranged them into somebody else's pattern, you'd be somebody else. And if you took brand new atoms and arranged them in your pattern, that would be you.

(yes, this magical technology would allow for identical copies - it's here for illustration, not for patenting.)

Jose

Just as a matter of curiosity, what does this mean for how your brain changes state every instant in response to its inputs?
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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby ucim » Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:40 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:Just as a matter of curiosity, what does this mean for how your brain changes state every instant in response to its inputs?
The atoms' relationship to each other changes state every instant...

If this doesn't answer the question, then I don't understand the question.

Jose
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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby setzer777 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:48 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
KrytenKoro wrote:Just as a matter of curiosity, what does this mean for how your brain changes state every instant in response to its inputs?
The atoms' relationship to each other changes state every instant...

If this doesn't answer the question, then I don't understand the question.

Jose


I think the question is whether under your model of identity it truly makes sense to say that you are the same person as the "you" your memories are about.

Taken to an extreme, it would imply that "you" are incapable of doing anything, because even the most basic mental functions require an absurd number of different states (existing in causal relation to each other) to exist.

In some ways the notion of a persistent "self" seems more like a useful fiction than part of substantive reality.
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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby ucim » Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:20 am UTC

setzer777 wrote:I think the question is whether under your model of identity it truly makes sense to say that you are the same person as the "you" your memories are about.
There are many ways the concept of "you" breaks down. You're illustrating "you can't step into the same river twice". I've expounded on another in the free will thread. The usefulness of the concept of "you" is context dependent, and as you say later, merely a convenient fiction.

Be mindful that you aren't merely playing with words while you imagine you are playing with concepts.

I'd say the ethics question comes into play if copying were possible. But with basic star-trek teleportation (except for that episode), it's a red herring. Anything else would lead my banker to refuse to let me withdraw from my bank account, because "I'm not the same person who deposited the money".

Jose
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Re: The ethics of teleportation

Postby setzer777 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:26 am UTC

Yeah, I think the traditional dilemma is often framed in terms of the first you "experiencing" death. The notion being: "even though to the world you continue existing, your train of subjective experiences runs into nonexistence, the afterlife, etc."

I do think it's at least partially based on discredited notions of the soul.
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