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The Transporter Problem

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Without the usage of entanglement, the technology will never exist for people to be "disassembled" and "reassembled" because it would be impossible to know, even in principle, the locations and momentum of every particle that makes him up, let alone create a "pattern" and reconstruct him from it. Entanglement get's around that problem, because we never would have to know all the specifics (which are literally impossible to know due to the uncertainty principle) for the entangled particles to create the new person.

I'm saying this because DonAthos said above that he's certain in the future this technology will be possible as he's described it, and I'm saying I'm certain, with zero doubt, that is impossible due to the uncertainty principle, no cloning principle, etc. Again, the only loophole that solves every issue being debated in this thread is entanglement. I'm not guessing.

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4 hours ago, EC said:

Without the usage of entanglement, the technology will never exist for people to be "disassembled" and "reassembled" because it would be impossible to know, even in principle, the locations and momentum of every particle that makes him up, let alone create a "pattern" and reconstruct him from it. Entanglement get's around that problem, because we never would have to know all the specifics (which are literally impossible to know due to the uncertainty principle) for the entangled particles to create the new person.

I'm saying this because DonAthos said above that he's certain in the future this technology will be possible as he's described it, and I'm saying I'm certain, with zero doubt, that is impossible due to the uncertainty principle, no cloning principle, etc. Again, the only loophole that solves every issue being debated in this thread is entanglement. I'm not guessing.

I do not believe the position of DonAthos depends on the details of transporter as long as there is disassembly and reconstruction even if the reconstruction succeeds in a perfect copy.

The pop science you read about “transporting” particles via entanglement is a fanciful way, post Star Trek, to denote the nonlocal correlation of quantum states on collapse/measurement of the entangled pair of particles.  Coordination or “remote correlation” would have been better terms and likely would have been used but for the pop culture and physicists’ apparent embrace of it.

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I do not believe the position of DonAthos depends on the details of transporter as long as there is disassembly and reconstruction even if the reconstruction succeeds in a perfect copy.

Except that what has been discussed in terms of creating a copy is not what transportation is, so...

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51 minutes ago, Devil's Advocate said:

Except that what has been discussed in terms of creating a copy is not what transportation is, so...

Except?  I said as long as there is disassembly and reconstruction ... which means creating a copy ... and which also is not what merely transportation is.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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Transportation by definition is merely moving an object (the same object) from one location to another.  If that object is disassembled, transported and reassembled, it remains the same object by the law of identity because a thing is what it is regardless of how it arrived to its present location. If I toss an apple to you, you can't see it for a moment, and then it arrives in your hand, is it a different apple?

Suppose you and I forced the original D.A. through a transporter against his will, and when he emerged somewhere else he claimed, "You bastards, you killed me!"  Is there any objective court of law that would accept his claim?

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12 hours ago, DonAthos said:

is as mystical-sounding as the proposed hive mind.

I think it got buried and you probably missed it. I wasn't thinking of a hive mind when I said a parallel mind. I was thinking of something like this, from this show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3Bu2DOM66g

Parallel, like parallel processes in a computer.

If we are only talking about reassembly and disassembly, this doesn't really apply. For reassembly, what Devils Advocate wrote is plenty I think (and if entanglement is required for this, fine, doesn't change anything). Most of what I wrote is if we disassemble the person and then assemble them at a new location with new materials. 

The parallel mind bit is only to address your concern if you want to talk about assembling with new material without any disassembly on the original end. It would be weird, you just might need to come up with ways to differentiate which parallel process of me you want to refer to. It's not much different than being put under for brain surgery, and your brain is split in half. The brain hemispheres of split brain patients basically act independently (although the brain naturally figures out how to adapt). They are different, and it's even arguable that both hemispheres have a first-person perspective. I won't really go over the research, but you could show a split brain patient a picture of an item to retrieve only to the left eye. If you tell them to retrieve that item with their right hand, they won't be able to, and they probably won't be able to verbalize the item they saw (usually the left side of the brain takes care of language, but the left side of the brain doesn't control the left side of the body). There are many examples of this from research. But you still refer to all of this as "you", despite your ability to distinguish between right Don and left Don.

Edited by Eiuol

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10 hours ago, EC said:

Without the usage of entanglement, the technology will never exist for people to be "disassembled" and "reassembled" because it would be impossible to know, even in principle, the locations and momentum of every particle that makes him up, let alone create a "pattern" and reconstruct him from it.

I respect the fact that you consider yourself confident of this, but I'm not going to bet that this technology "will never exist." Perhaps modern science is correct in assigning itself certain limits, ruling things out, but then it's my understanding* that the observations that have led to quantum mechanics itself would have been ruled out as scientifically impossible, once upon a not-so-distant time.

(* "My understanding" of these things is admittedly limited; my degree was in history, not physics.)

As I've said, our modern science, fantastic though it is, has all occurred within a very small slice of time, relatively speaking. If humanity survives long enough to add another thousand or ten of scientific progress, I would be loathe to bet that there is some manipulation of matter that we will always be unable to accomplish.

Or maybe I'm wrong about this. Can we "square the circle"? No; there are admittedly some "hard" rule-outs like that. But can we disassemble something and put it back together on a very low/fundamental level? That sounds like exactly the sort of thing that man will eventually be able to accomplish, given sufficient time and interest. Beyond that, I don't know how competent I am, in 2018, of predicting the technology of 12,018 or 120,180 AD. Again: if we were to wager -- if there was any way in which I could hope to collect -- I would bet that the technology of 120,180 (or 1,201,800) will appear as to violate several things we currently call "scientific law."

Regardless, it's a bit of a tangent as to whether or not this technology will ever exist, as such, let alone on a "quantum" level. In a manner that directly pertains to the central topic, I don't know that we've satisfied the question as to what's required to either preserve one's current FPE -- or what would be required for those who assert that a given FPE could be reawakened, or resurrected, in some newly minted body, or even in an "artificial" simulacrum, like an android or avatar. It has been observed that any given man's quantum state, and atomic or molecular composition, changes from moment to moment (let alone over the course of years). So is there one particular arrangement that is required for "transportation," or is there a range, or..?

What is required for the continuity (or transportation/transference, if possible) of FPE? In a recent post, SL raised a number of thought-provoking questions; and Eiuol also raised what I consider an interesting matter with his supposition of a "prosthetic hippocampus." We may imagine a man's brain being replaced in this manner, one part at a time, and what I regard a relatively uninteresting/Scholastic question of "sameness," with respect to the Ship of Theseus, becomes something much more compelling, imo, when we think about the FPE. What's the special sauce? What's the thing we replace, or make "artificial," in ourselves, that is a step too far -- and causes our FPE to extinguish (if anything? or is our consciousness/FPE infinitely malleable in this respect? akin to the wave-pattern that SL described, insensitive to the material composition of the wave itself)? And could we ever detect or recognize such an event?

I'm more questions than answers at this point, I'm afraid.

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48 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

I'm more questions than answers at this point, I'm afraid.

It's the questions that make life interesting, at least for me.

I think in all cases an individual's FPE becomes a memory, and that is the determining element in your secret sauce. From what I've read thus far, person A moves from one location to another as the same person, meaning there's no residue left by A in the prior location, therefore A remains A. Whether or not A is obliterated and ressurected can't be evaluated because those two states would contradict each other, i.e. there has to be something to resurrect from. So what arrives in the new location is the same thing unless some thing is left behind to contest it.

Provided a transported individual retains credible memories from prior to transportation, that person's FPE is continuous, not interrupted or reset. Ship of Theseus is a distraction because an individual is the sum of their parts and those parts change every moment, but that person's memory ties it all together and validates their wholeness by self-evidence. Would you try to convince them otherwise?

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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28 minutes ago, Devil's Advocate said:

It's the questions that make life interesting, at least for me.

I think in all cases an individual's FPE becomes a memory, and that is the determining element in your secret sauce. From what I've read thus far, person A moves from one location to another as the same person, meaning there's no residue left by A in the prior location, therefore A remains A. Whether or not A is obliterated and ressurected can't be evaluated because those two states would contradict each other, i.e. there has to be something to resurrect from. So what arrives in the new location is the same thing unless some thing is left behind to contest it.

Provided a transported individual retains credible memories from prior to transportation, that person's FPE is continuous, not interrupted or reset. Ship of Theseus is a distraction because an individual is the sum of their parts and those parts change every moment, but that person's memory ties it all together and validates their wholeness by self-evidence. Would you try to convince them otherwise?

Perhaps I will try to address your posts more substantively in the future, but for now and without much time available to me, let me suggest: you seem to be looking at this from the point of view of the person who emerges from the transporter. I would ask you to consider, instead, the point of view of the person who enters the transporter.

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8 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I do not believe the position of DonAthos depends on the details of transporter as long as there is disassembly and reconstruction even if the reconstruction succeeds in a perfect copy.

The pop science you read about “transporting” particles via entanglement is a fanciful way, post Star Trek, to denote the nonlocal correlation of quantum states on collapse/measurement of the entangled pair of particles.  Coordination or “remote correlation” would have been better terms and likely would have been used but for the pop culture and physicists’ apparent embrace of it.

It absolutely does. I'm saying that via the process he is suggesting I would agree with him that the original FPE dies, but I'm also stating that way of going about this technology would also be impossible, rendering the whole discussion moot. The proposed teleportation model here assumes classical (non-quantum) behavior implicitly, but this regime has been proven countless times to ever increasing degrees of accuracy to be quantum mechanical. Quantum entanglement one of the most important processes/phenomena at the heart of quantum mechanics, and is nearly solely responsible for the "weird" label, since at it's heart it involves non-locality.

This isn't "pop-science"; it's hard science science that has been proven to be true with very little room for doubt. Also, I never said anything about "transporting particles via entanglement" nor implied it. I said the particles first need to be entangled, such that every new particle is in the same quantum state with it's old twin, and then essentially "transported" or beamed conventionally (the same way with any particle beam that exists today at speeds approaching c to the destination for "reassembly" using some future tech.

The entanglement process for one would just allow us to create an exact "pattern" of the original without having to do the (impossible, due to the uncertainty principle) direct observations. Our new set of "copy" particles would each be directly and perfectly correlated with the "original" set of particles, and once they arrive via conventional travel to the destination our futuristic tech will then cause them to "reassemble". 

I like that Eiuol used the words "parallel processing" for the linked minds of the original's to the copy's (although he is not describing how this could be possible, I am). This is exactly what I'm thinking of for the split-second both exist together before the original is "destroyed", and what will allow for the FPE transfer via strong entanglement between the now two existing minds in a non-local process. This is exactly how quantum computing works for what it's worth. One thing that QM forbids though is the transfer of information via entanglement because information it would allow information to travel faster than the speed of light, which is impossible. 

The reason why I don't think the above would forbid a temporary mind linkage to transfer FPE from the original to the copy is because no information is being transferred, the same information exists at the about to be destroyed original person's mind and the newly created copy's mind. But for that split-second that they both exist the minds run together in parallel, so the FPE transfers smoothly with no discontinuous period that would otherwise equal death of the original. 

Edited by EC

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To be 100% exact, only exactly two things are transferred via entanglement in this example in a non-local way. The exact quantum state of the living being is perfectly "shared" with it's new distant "copy" due to the fact that the particles of both were placed in superposition with each other prior to "transport", and for a split-second (this would need to be exactly one Planck Time) the original mind runs in parallel win the copy mind, so that the same FPE exists, for that instant at both minds to allow for non-discontinuous transfer. The "trick"  for this to work is, and the reason I'm suggesting this has to be a hyperfast Plank Time, is that for this to work there has to be zero information transfer between the two minds, just a simple brief "awareness" or the "FPE" you guys are discussing. The two brains have to run literally in parallel, non-locally, for the FPE to exist as the same FPE for the briefest possible moment, and it would literally have to be the briefest possible moment to guarantee that zero information travels between the parallel minds before the original is destroyed. If this non-local parallel entanglement of the two minds lasted long enough for new information to travel instantly than this would be impossible, since fundamentally what is forbidden from traveling at FTL speeds is information.

Edited by EC

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2 hours ago, EC said:

It absolutely does. I'm saying that via the process he is suggesting I would agree with him that the original FPE dies, but I'm also stating that way of going about this technology would also be impossible, rendering the whole discussion moot. The proposed teleportation model here assumes classical (non-quantum) behavior implicitly, but this regime has been proven countless times to ever increasing degrees of accuracy to be quantum mechanical. Quantum entanglement one of the most important processes/phenomena at the heart of quantum mechanics, and is nearly solely responsible for the "weird" label, since at it's heart it involves non-locality.

This isn't "pop-science"; it's hard science science that has been proven to be true with very little room for doubt. Also, I never said anything about "transporting particles via entanglement" nor implied it. I said the particles first need to be entangled, such that every new particle is in the same quantum state with it's old twin, and then essentially "transported" or beamed conventionally (the same way with any particle beam that exists today at speeds approaching c to the destination for "reassembly" using some future tech.

The entanglement process for one would just allow us to create an exact "pattern" of the original without having to do the (impossible, due to the uncertainty principle) direct observations. Our new set of "copy" particles would each be directly and perfectly correlated with the "original" set of particles, and once they arrive via conventional travel to the destination our futuristic tech will then cause them to "reassemble". 

I like that Eiuol used the words "parallel processing" for the linked minds of the original's to the copy's (although he is not describing how this could be possible, I am). This is exactly what I'm thinking of for the split-second both exist together before the original is "destroyed", and what will allow for the FPE transfer via strong entanglement between the now two existing minds in a non-local process. This is exactly how quantum computing works for what it's worth. One thing that QM forbids though is the transfer of information via entanglement because information it would allow information to travel faster than the speed of light, which is impossible. 

The reason why I don't think the above would forbid a temporary mind linkage to transfer FPE from the original to the copy is because no information is being transferred, the same information exists at the about to be destroyed original person's mind and the newly created copy's mind. But for that split-second that they both exist the minds run together in parallel, so the FPE transfers smoothly with no discontinuous period that would otherwise equal death of the original. 

How do you propose to entangle an external particle (used for the purpose of making an entangled pair) with an "integral" particle from a living human being (which you wish to copy exactly) without affecting the quantum state of the "integral" particle in any way whatever?... and how do you intend to "transfer" that external particle without affecting its state or causing a premature "measurement" or "collapse" of the entangled state?  And how can you "transfer" or "entangle" the entire POSITION state (in Hilbert space) of a first particle in a second particle which you then MOVE?

Also how do you propose to entangle any one of the integral particles such that the entire QM state of that particle,  position and momentum and spin etc. all of it can be copied exactly simultaneously without entanglements on any one property affecting any other property (at least until all of it is copied)?

If you don't want to answer me, you can post your theories on www.physicsforums.com and get back to us...

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

How do you propose to entangle an external particle (used for the purpose of making an entangled pair) with an "integral" particle from a living human being (which you wish to copy exactly) without affecting the quantum state of the "integral" particle in any way whatever?... and how do you intend to "transfer" that external particle without affecting its state or causing a premature "measurement" or "collapse" of the entangled state?  And how can you "transfer" or "entangle" the entire POSITION state (in Hilbert space) of a first particle in a second particle which you then MOVE?

Also how do you propose to entangle any one of the integral particles such that the entire QM state of that particle,  position and momentum and spin etc. all of it can be copied exactly simultaneously without entanglements on any one property affecting any other property (at least until all of it is copied)?

These are all things I've thought about, and are all "problems" I have no answer for. These things and the issues I mentioned are all reasons why I earlier said I give this type of technology even being possible, let alone created, a 50/50 chance at best. I offer zero advice or knowledge on making any of this practical (nor ever claimed to), if there's a way around all these things. Since it's a thought experiment being discussed, all I can say is "future tech" could make it possible.

I mean entangled pairs are created together, and these couldn't be as one half already exists. If somehow someone got around that and could entangle the particles, we'd need to hope that it held all the needed information without us ever being able to know any of it. I couldn't see any way around at least partial wave function "collapse" during beaming. We'd probably have to accept minimal signal loss as a fact.

Another huge problem would be "reassembly" of the random gas configuration of all these various types particles that just arrived at the destination. Again, using the black box of future tech for this, but imagine the amount of energy you would have to add to the system (which would also cause decoherence and also ruin our plans) just to catalyze and/or fuse this gas into a solid state.

Anyways, the point is I think all of this is likely always to be impossible, and we share the same issues as to why. That said, without knowing exactly how any future technology could ever overcome all these issues *if* it was created and these issues were overcome, the technology would have to be based on quantum principles especially entanglement.  Without that, the idea of teleportation goes from potentially plausible to certainly impossible.

Edited by EC

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9 hours ago, DonAthos said:

Perhaps I will try to address your posts more substantively in the future, but for now and without much time available to me, let me suggest: you seem to be looking at this from the point of view of the person who emerges from the transporter. I would ask you to consider, instead, the point of view of the person who enters the transporter.

I consider them to be the same person in any case, not a copy.  That being said, as a Trekker I remain optimistic that the solution to your problem is suggested by your inability to refer to the individual stepping off the transporter pad as anyone but, "you".  Your FPE, before and after transportation, is the only relevant measure of who you are, and that remains self evident until the time you actually die (please note my restraint in not suggesting otherwise by trying to cheat death, you will die).

The POV of the person entering the transporter will shape their outcome.  If they feel DOA, they probably will be but that will be contradicted by their own complaint of the experience, and so some therapy will be in order.  Essentially this is no different than considering someone's phobia of flying or crossing the street.  When the fear rises to the level that it drives the experience, that person becomes a changed person, but again because of what is going on in their head, not because they have transported from A to B.

The bottom line is, your FPE is yours because self-evidence cannot be transferred to another being, period.  If it can (and this is the only choice that matters), you might as well be discussing the, "Everyone but me is a Zombie scenario", i.e., you either accept the premise that you have a mind that is distinguishable from other minds, or Alice's rabbit hole becomes a bottomless pit filled with turtles all the way down.

Anyway, thanks for sharing this topic.

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@Eiuol

The statement from me that you've quoted from me doesn't imply that the mind and thinking are made up of fundamental constituents. They're not.  I have tried to explain this before.  I have not been defining "you" as a particular body.  I have repeatedly stated that I am defining "you" as an entity that undergoes continuous, self-generated, self-sustained action.  This is a definition of your identity and it encompasses BOTH the mind and body of you as an individual. 

Quote

Of course you partially consist of an entity that undergoes continuous, self generated action - except that can occur in any kind of body.

Not partially, completely.  There's no "you" without your functioning body.  I don't think you understood what I was arguing for the continuity of.  I was not arguing for the required continuity of your body, I was arguing for the required continuity of your mind AND your body.  And what that means is, I was arguing for the necessary continuity of your functioning body.  And this doesn't mean that I'm arguing that your body's functions or actions are fundamental constituents.  And it doesn't mean that I'm saying that "you" are your body. If either your body's functioning or your body ceases to exist, there won't be a "you" anymore, certainly not if you construct another functioning body somewhere away from where the individual entity in question was.  I think Ayn Rand would agree as well because she argued that man is an "integration of mind AND body," with the two being metaphysically inseparable, just like you can't separate a functioning entity from its function or its body without killing the individual entity in question.  That's why "your first person awareness" won't just be "interrupted," it will permanently disappear.

And more often than not, the issue of whether the continuity of a particular entity undergoing continuous self-generated, self-sustained action is satisfied or not is a scientific one, like the prosthetics example you brought up.  But what I can say is that the preservation of a particular functioning entity's structural integrity (body) AND overall functioning (mind) is going to be the key.  You have to preserve both if you want that entity (that individual) to keep existing.

Additionally, the split-brain example you've brought up is another bad example. 

Quote

The brain hemispheres of split brain patients basically act independently (although the brain naturally figures out how to adapt). They are different, and it's even arguable that both hemispheres have a first-person perspective.

You are implying a contradiction here.  If they "basically act independently," then how can the brain "naturally figure out how to adapt?"  I'll tell you how.  Split-brain illnesses are not evidence or examples for "multiple first person experiences."  And the explanation for why not is more a scientific one than a philosophical one but it ultimately reduces to philosophy (as pretty much everything does).  The primary link, and the keyword is "primary," that links the left and right hemispheres of the brain is severed in split-brain patients.  But there are still other links (I think 4 others if I'm not mistaken) that are intact and ARE ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING in the split-brain patient's overall first person awareness.  The split-brain example is no more meaningful than if I closed one of my eyes and claimed that since I closed one of my eyes, only one of my two brain hemispheres is involved in generating/sustaining my first person awareness and the other half now has its own first person awareness.  That would be a false claim.  There aren't two separate brains, which is what you are implying. Instead what's happening is there is still one brain but the continuous self-generated, self-sustained action has been harmed, but it is not gone, and that's what makes it possible for the brain to learn "how to adapt."  As long as you are alive, you have your first person experience as one whole integrated individual entity that continuously undergoes self-sustained, self-generated action.

Since everyone is proposing some examples to support their arguments let me propose one.  If you and I were to independently buy a car of the same make, model, color, everything the same but two separate cars, let's say for example two blue 2019 Toyota Camrys.  I'm arguing that my car is one individual car and your car is another individual car despite the fact that they are perfect copies of each other.  They are perfect copies and that's it, not one individual car.  And if you turned your car on, it would function JUST LIKE mine, the functioning would be the same.  This is just like the functioning body that enters the transporter and the OTHER functioning body that exits the transporter.  Even though the cars look and function the same, I don't own your car, you own your car.  Your car is another car, a separate existent that is not my car.  If what you're arguing is true, then I can take you to an objective court of law and tell a judge that I should own your car because your car is my car.  As you put it, it "walks like a duck, talks like a duck..." so your car must be my car.  So, according to you, if our cars are both on and functioning, I have a right to take your car because I own it.  This is what I've been arguing against.

Quote

But that's how you defined psychological processes.

" What you call the "psychological processes" are just healthy biological processes of a certain intensity."

That's right, the "certain intensity" portion of my definition is what I think is necessary but not sufficient and that's the part I had a problem with if that's all there was to it. But the "healthy biological processes" portion of my definition is what I was hoping would have been elaborated on in terms of the "specific actions" that "are done to generate/sustain consciousness."  All I was trying to say here is that I am ok with complexity and intensity being a part of it, but I was expecting some discussion of what specifically the functioning body does to generate/sustain consciousness, which "healthy biological processes" is a placeholder for in my definition that you quoted.  So in my definition I have included both what specifically is done and the intensity/complexity.

Edited by ReasonFirst

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On 11/18/2018 at 7:10 PM, DonAthos said:

In Star Trek, people routinely utilize this technology; however (granting that this would someday be feasible; a separate consideration), I would not use such a thing, because I believe that it would be fatal.

Here's some additional insider perspective to consider: https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/13437/in-star-trek-does-the-original-die-in-teleportation

Apparently much depends on what the definition of "copy" is.

"Based solely on onscreen evidence, it's more accurate to say that the original is recycled. " (from link)

Edited by Devil's Advocate
addition

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5 hours ago, ReasonFirst said:

This is a definition of your identity and it encompasses BOTH the mind and body of you as an individual. 

That's fine, but this is exactly why the whole bit about fundamental constituents doesn't make sense. It's not consistent, it doesn't fit in with the argument you're going for.

5 hours ago, ReasonFirst said:

I was arguing for the required continuity of your mind AND your body.

You assert this, yet I was asking you why I should define a self in this way. I'm asking why continuity of body is important. I mean, it's fine to say that the mind must be continuously embodied in order to exist, I'm just not getting the importance of a specific and exactly precise body. The rest of what you say follows from your premise, so I'm not disputing what you say as a consequence of this premise. But I question your premise in the first place.

5 hours ago, ReasonFirst said:

If they "basically act independently," then how can the brain "naturally figure out how to adapt?" 

 

5 hours ago, ReasonFirst said:

The split-brain example is no more meaningful than if I closed one of my eyes and claimed that since I closed one of my eyes, only one of my two brain hemispheres is involved in generating/sustaining my first person awareness and the other half now has its own first person awareness. 

Okay, I don't think I explained as much as I needed to. When I said adapt, I meant it can appear that someone behaves as if their brain was never split. They take advantage of cues instead of relying on the same information as they use to. To figure out what the left side of your body is doing, you would just have to use your left eye. You would probably have a difficult time naming what you want to interact with, but you could use many other cues to figure it out. With enough practice, this is second nature. Normally, this is no problem. But experimentally, we can manipulate this. I can show one image to each eye. Say I show a horse to your right eye, and a pencil to your left eye. If I ask you what's on the left side of your body, you wouldn't be able to tell me. You would have no idea. But if I ask you to demonstrate how to use the thing I show to your left eye, you would be able to do it. You won't be able to verbalize it, but you can do it. The right side of your brain could process that sort of information, like tool use, but since it doesn't really process communication, if you have a split brain, you won't be able to verbalize what only your left side perceives. I don't think I described the experiment perfectly, but there are examples where scientists experimentally control your perception so that they create dichotomous behaviors. I don't know if we can say these are separate experiences, but if you require absolute continuity of everything, something is being violated here.

5 hours ago, ReasonFirst said:

So, according to you, if our cars are both on and functioning, I have a right to take your car because I own it.  This is what I've been arguing against.

Yes and no.

It depends on what level of specificity of sameness we are talking about. If we care about absolute physical continuity, as applies to physical property and we want to figure out which ones are physically distinct so that they can be used, they are different. This is like figuring out how to determine what to call my new body. But if we want to go more general, we would talk about intellectual property. I'd be asking if your car is the same kind of car, and if you produced it with my particular method of making cars. If you use the same method and patterns, yes, it would actually be my car in this case. Or at least, that specific physical instantiation is not mine, but I can dictate to you how you may or may not reproduce such a car. My argument about the mind is supposed to parallel the point here about intellectual property. It depends on the specificity we want. For the transporter, I'm not convinced that we should care about the specificity of an exact specific physical instantiation of a mind.

Interestingly enough, I went over a big thought experiment with that with DonAthos several years ago. This whole transporter argument I don't think is much different than the argument over if intellectual property is valid.

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5 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Interestingly enough, I went over a big thought experiment with that with DonAthos several years ago. This whole transporter argument I don't think is much different than the argument over if intellectual property is valid.

I recall being part of that discussion too, and agree to the similarities.  There's an aspect to the claim of ownership and what may or may not be a morally permissible action in the protection of that claim.  In this discussion, I think the focus has shifted from what we make for ourselves to what we make of ourselves.

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22 hours ago, EC said:

I'm saying that via the process he is suggesting I would agree with him that the original FPE dies, but I'm also stating that way of going about this technology would also be impossible, rendering the whole discussion moot.

This thread is not meant to be about the feasibility of constructing a transporter, or whether it would rely on quantum mechanics, or whether quantum mechanics is sound science; if your conclusion is that transporter technology is inherently impossible, though I disagree, that doesn't make "the whole discussion moot," because the discussion is not meant to produce a transporter, or to assess the likelihood of doing so -- it is meant to explore underlying philosophical issues.

(Or, at least, that is my interest in it. In a similar way, perhaps, I trust that Rand did not raise the issue of an immortal robot because she thought that one day there would exist an immortal robot, or was interested in whether quantum theory or Newtonian mechanics or something else were likelier to produce such an outcome. She raised the robot, I believe, so that she could explore "life" and its relationship to moral reasoning.)

Those underlying issues I mean to explore here -- and specifically what we've been calling the "first-person experience," and its metaphysics -- can be explored from more than one angle. Eiuol raised the idea of a prosthetic hippocampus, for instance, which I think might also be a rewarding avenue of exploration. Now, I'm as expert in biotechnology and neuroscience as I am in quantum physics (which is to say, not at all), and maybe you have some expertise in that field and some better idea than I as to whether or not such a thing is feasible based on current science -- but again, it isn't the point.

I'm not trying to dissuade you from discussing your thoughts about the science, though I consider them tangential, or even quantum mechanics to an extent (though I think that mostly belongs in another thread; no one here, so far as I can tell, is arguing against QM), but I do think you're wrong to suggest that the discussion is moot because you disagree with the science of my approach to designing a transporter as seen on Star Trek (though other than attempting to deal with the transporter as presented there, I don't think I've offered any opinion as to the nature of the science of designing such a thing in reality; nor have I said that QM would play no role in it; I am optimistic that we can one day design a transporter and that is all -- and if QM is the science that will allow for such a thing, so be it).

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The reason why I don't think the above would forbid a temporary mind linkage to transfer FPE from the original to the copy is because no information is being transferred, the same information exists at the about to be destroyed original person's mind and the newly created copy's mind. But for that split-second that they both exist the minds run together in parallel, so the FPE transfers smoothly with no discontinuous period that would otherwise equal death of the original. 

I don't know with precision what "information" means in this sense, nor what a "mind linkage" would consist of, especially if no "information" was shared between those minds. If they do not share information, generally speaking, then in what sense are they linked? (And conversely, isn't any "link" sensibly called that because information is shared?) And if we allow this linkage to happen for a "split-second," then are we violating this dictum against FTL you've invoked for the duration of that split-second?

It is still unclear to me what this means for the first-person experience, or how it gets around the problems we've raised, generally. I don't know why the copy you've created through quantum means wouldn't have its own first-person experience. If I have it correctly, the process you've described argues that you 1) create a copy at a distance, then 2) destroy the original. You say that the FPE would "transfer" between the two, albeit no "information" would. I don't understand the meaning of that, or how the FPE is meant to transfer, or what that would mean in reality, but I believe it describes your claim.

It is also, perhaps, a touch interesting in that I believe that this represents something of a departure from what you had described earlier (though please correct me if I'm mistaken):

On 11/19/2018 at 7:29 PM, EC said:

...Moon you now materializes on the moon, but in this instance since every particle in your original Earth mind is quantum mechanically entangled with your new Moon you copy, assuming somehow we had the technology to avoid decoherence of macroscopic wave functions, you would now be able to experience life on earth and life on the moon simultaneously in one consciousness (I imagine this would be extremely weird if possible lol).

Weirdness aside, being able to experience, both places at once, or maybe even one or the other depending on your choosing, you would eventually come to realize that you are, in this case at least, the same conscious volitional entity regardless of the body you choose. And choosing to eliminate one over the other would simply be a choice based on present need, and whichever one you choose you will always continue to live without a break in conscious continuity nor death.

Perhaps you are not comfortable with my term of "hive mind" to describe this scenario (though I yet consider it apt -- and yes, Eiuol, I have read your post about "parallel processing" :) ), but I don't know how this comports with your current description: how there is no transfer of "information," how it takes place in a "split-second," etc.

The key behind this original presentation was that "you would now be able to experience life on earth and life on the moon simultaneously in one consciousness." That's key to this discussion, because it speaks to the idea that FPE might in some real sense be shared beyond one's own body -- and suggesting such a possibility implicitly speaks to the metaphysics we ascribe to the FPE. So hopefully you see that I'm not trying to question whether quantum mechanics allows for a real possibility of transportation technology -- I don't honestly care whether it does or not -- but I am interested in this treatment of the FPE, and how that works.

You write (across two posts):

22 hours ago, EC said:

This is exactly what I'm thinking of for the split-second both exist together before the original is "destroyed", and what will allow for the FPE transfer via strong entanglement between the now two existing minds in a non-local process. This is exactly how quantum computing works for what it's worth. One thing that QM forbids though is the transfer of information via entanglement because information it would allow information to travel faster than the speed of light, which is impossible.

[...]

If this non-local parallel entanglement of the two minds lasted long enough for new information to travel instantly than this would be impossible, since fundamentally what is forbidden from traveling at FTL speeds is information.

So this does seem markedly different to me than the conscious being you'd described who experiences life on the moon and Earth simultaneously with time enough to come to terms with its rather strange disposition ("eventually").

It is a bit of surmise on my part, perhaps, but I suspect that you may have altered this scenario in order to accommodate restrictions against information traveling faster than light (do I have that right? I may easily be mistaking here). Taking then this second presentation on its face, I wonder... could we forego from destroying the original? And if we did, what would this mean for the consciousness/FPE of these two (I would argue) separate individuals, if they are thereafter unable to share information?

Edited by DonAthos

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On 11/25/2018 at 7:51 AM, Devil's Advocate said:

Perhaps there are no atheists in a transporter room, D.A. (the original), for the same reason there supposedly aren't any in a foxhole; everyone wants to survive the experience, first person or otherwise.  I suspect that if transportation were possible, you'd retain your fear of death and yet find some reason to experience what could not be attained by any other means.  Bones, who knew the chances for survival better than the Red Shirts, did it every time a shuttle craft wasn't available.

Thank you for your patience, DA (nouveau). I can't promise that my reply will reward that patience, exactly, but I will do what I can...

***

I don't plan on being in a foxhole anytime soon, but if I ever were, I can guarantee that there would be (at least) one atheist in a foxhole. I would otherwise avoid the transporter room just like I do the foxhole, and for largely the same reasons.

And while I respect Dr. McCoy for all sorts of reasons, I think his instinct on this subject was better than his considered decision.

On 11/25/2018 at 7:51 AM, Devil's Advocate said:

Transportation represents a closed system for all intents and purposes.  Individual "A" enters one end and exits the other as Individual "A".  Reality isn't violated by the process because A is A and never in the same place at the same time.  Supposing that Individual "A" passes through the system and emerges fully intact and self-aware, what evidence would there be to dispute A's claim to identity?

This is adjacent to my claim, but does not meet it head on.

Forget "transportation" for a moment, but regard it as "simple" cloning. If we could simply make a copy of a person (which is also the most part of what "transportation" is, imo) -- James Kirk, to use my initial example -- then we would have two beings each claiming to be James Kirk. This would not "violate reality" (nothing can) and A would still be A. I would not doubt either Kirk's "claim to identity," as such, and each would have good reason for believing himself to be Kirk (or, in this case, "a Kirk").

Yet these would be two separate beings, in fact, A and B. And speaking more directly to the central matter, they would each have a separate consciousness, a separate experience of reality -- which is to say, a distinct FPE (unless we subscribe to the "hive mind" or "parallel processing" hypothesis, which at present, I do not). And if you were to then disintegrate one of those two Kirks (the other main feature of "transportation" technology), I'd say that you have killed him.

On 11/25/2018 at 7:51 AM, Devil's Advocate said:

Sci-Fi is rich with examples of individuals boldly going where no one has been because that's the game for humans: Overcoming your fear of death in order to live.

I agree with your sentiment to a great extent, here, but I would not advocate literal suicide as a means of overcoming one's fear of death. ;)

On 11/26/2018 at 6:31 AM, Devil's Advocate said:

It doesn't matter because throughout of the process of transportation, the experience remains first person.  If you're going to use the transporter as an example, you can't change its purpose in order to create a problem.  It wasn't designed to kill people in order to create clones in some other place, it was designed to transport the same person from one place to another.

I agree with you about the intent of the design. And if we wish to allow it some magical or fantastical property, to suit some fictional purpose, then so be it -- it can simply transport by fiat.

But if the mechanism purports to disassemble a person and then reassemble (or as I would argue is more strictly true, "assemble") a person at a distance, then I do have questions about the nature of the result, whether we call it "transportation" or something else. I don't doubt that the person who steps off of the transporter has a first person experience; but I question whether it is the exact same first person experience as that of the person who'd initially entered the transporter.

I think these questions can be raised in a manner not only consistent with what we're shown as a matter of course in Star Trek, but also with the curious matter I've raised before of Thomas Riker. Whether the transporter was designed "to kill people in order to create clones in some other place" or not, I take this as evidence that it does this very thing, apart from the arguments I have made more generally.

On 11/27/2018 at 7:47 AM, Devil's Advocate said:

Transportation by definition is merely moving an object (the same object) from one location to another.  If that object is disassembled, transported and reassembled, it remains the same object by the law of identity because a thing is what it is regardless of how it arrived to its present location. If I toss an apple to you, you can't see it for a moment, and then it arrives in your hand, is it a different apple?

I agree with you. And to the extent that we might be given to disagree, it doesn't much matter to me. Same apple? Different apple? Who cares. The apple (so far as I am aware) is not conscious and will not complain, and wouldn't have grounds for complaint if it could.

But it is part and parcel to my argument that humanity (or conscious creatures) is uniquely endangered by this sort of process on account of our first person experience. Or if we are not so endangered -- if we may be disassembled on some molecular level, later reassembled, and survive it (meaning: with the very same FPE intact) -- then I suspect we have some... intriguing and even more difficult questions before us, as to the nature of the FPE (or at that point, I think we may as well call it a soul).

On 11/27/2018 at 7:47 AM, Devil's Advocate said:

Suppose you and I forced the original D.A. through a transporter against his will, and when he emerged somewhere else he claimed, "You bastards, you killed me!"  Is there any objective court of law that would accept his claim?

Well, it's interesting. That DA would not say "you killed me," but "you killed him." And I believe he would be right (insofar as that DA would exist, but the guy you're talking to right now would not). Could it be proven in a court of law? Not unless they subscribed to my views on the matter; it could not be proven through third person test or analysis, at least, because what we are talking about is nothing more and nothing less than first person experience itself.

On 11/27/2018 at 10:35 AM, Devil's Advocate said:

It's the questions that make life interesting, at least for me.

I like questions plenty. I like answers, too, and I often like them together (when I can get 'em). They're like pb&j.

On 11/27/2018 at 10:35 AM, Devil's Advocate said:

Provided a transported individual retains credible memories from prior to transportation, that person's FPE is continuous, not interrupted or reset.

I agree that the transported individual, post-transportation, may have credible memories of a continuous FPE extending from before the transportation; but this is not sufficient to establish that the person who entered the transporter has survived the process.

16 hours ago, Devil's Advocate said:

That being said, as a Trekker...

I've always regarded "Trekker" as a concession that there was something wrong with "Trekkie" -- a concession I'm unwilling to make. What's your take on it?

16 hours ago, Devil's Advocate said:

The POV of the person entering the transporter will shape their outcome.  If they feel DOA, they probably will be but that will be contradicted by their own complaint of the experience, and so some therapy will be in order.

The person who emerges from the transporter is unquestionably alive and unquestionably himself, not dead in any sense. But should he look to beam back to the ship... it may be a different story.

16 hours ago, Devil's Advocate said:

The bottom line is, your FPE is yours because self-evidence cannot be transferred to another being, period.

That's what I suspect, as well.

16 hours ago, Devil's Advocate said:

Anyway, thanks for sharing this topic.

You're welcome!

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2 hours ago, DonAthos said:

So this does seem markedly different to me than the conscious being you'd described who experiences life on the moon and Earth simultaneously with time enough to come to terms with its rather strange disposition ("eventually").

It is a bit of surmise on my part, perhaps, but I suspect that you may have altered this scenario in order to accommodate restrictions against information traveling faster than light (do I have that right? I may easily be mistaking here). Taking then this second presentation on its face, I wonder... could we forego from destroying the original? And if we did, what would this mean for the consciousness/FPE of these two (I would argue) separate individuals, if they are thereafter unable to share information?

A single mind cannot be of two minds.

An earth mind seeing and experiencing earthly things and a moon mind seeing and experiencing moonly things are not the same mind... 

The tech can either:

1. attempt to coordinate the minds, by rigidly causing them to coincide, but that would require one mind to trump the other, and one of the moon or the earth sights and experiences would be lost... this would require blocking all perception of one "copy" so that nothing from the dropped environment would contaminate the "one mind who are two"... this does not result in two simultaneous experiences.

2. attempt to "add" the minds by mashing the different minds into one... but placing two inputs where there is only one, activating two optical images.. requires now two sets of perceptual apparatus... and experiencing the two environments requires two upper brains to process what these two perceptual apparatus provide... no less than two actual minds would be required... for them to coordinated they would need to be exact copies of each other ... i.e. both minds would need to be in both places...  this likely would no longer be a human or even a brain capable of any coherent experience... it would be a living dichotomy and would not be able to function.

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10 hours ago, DonAthos said:

But it is part and parcel to my argument that humanity (or conscious creatures) is uniquely endangered by this sort of process on account of our first person experience. Or if we are not so endangered -- if we may be disassembled on some molecular level, later reassembled, and survive it (meaning: with the very same FPE intact) -- then I suspect we have some... intriguing and even more difficult questions before us, as to the nature of the FPE (or at that point, I think we may as well call it a soul).

And this is the exact conclusion I draw.  I probably shouldn't be the one to "go there" in this discussion, so I'll leave it to you to flesh it out.  But as the saying goes, "When you eliminate all the other possibilities, what ever remains, however unlikely, must be the truth."

10 hours ago, DonAthos said:

I agree that the transported individual, post-transportation, may have credible memories of a continuous FPE extending from before the transportation; but this is not sufficient to establish that the person who entered the transporter has survived the process.

I believe it is the only evidence that matters. Since I'm not inclined to consider any form of travel that executes the commuter as a viable means of getting where you want to go on a daily basis, I believe a more plausible means would be to pass the whole package from point A to point B.  The only evidence sufficient to validate who arrives on the other side would necessarily be self-evident, along with the lack of anyone else to dispute the claim.  I can live with that.

10 hours ago, DonAthos said:

I've always regarded "Trekker" as a concession that there was something wrong with "Trekkie" -- a concession I'm unwilling to make. What's your take on it?

A mere preference perhaps.  I've read that Roddenbury expressed a preference for "Trekkie", but I prefer "Trekker" because of being a more direct reference to the journey of discovery, which is what I find most appealing about these stories.  Besides, a "Trekkie" sounds like a squeaky toy to me.

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@Eiuol

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23 hours ago, ReasonFirst said:

This is a definition of your identity and it encompasses BOTH the mind and body of you as an individual. 

That's fine, but this is exactly why the whole bit about fundamental constituents doesn't make sense. It's not consistent, it doesn't fit in with the argument you're going for

What is not consistent about it?  What does not fit in with the argument that I am going for?

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I don't think I described the experiment perfectly, but there are examples where scientists experimentally control your perception so that they create dichotomous behaviors. I don't know if we can say these are separate experiences, but if you require absolute continuity of everything, something is being violated here.

You've probably described it accurately enough.  It's not a separate experience.  This is probably best left to scientists to explain rather than me but I'll try to explain it like this.  What this shows is that when it comes to actions that an entity can do but doesn't have to do (such as tell you what it sees or demonstrate how to use what it sees), certain portions of the one whole integrated individual entity undergoing continuous self-generated, self-sustained action contribute to the abilities to execute certain actions but not others.  There is no more a violation in this case than the fact that my stomach stores the food that I eat but not my brain (in a simple sense, of course).  My legs are used for walking but my hands are not.  I use my hand to write but not my hips.  This is just a case of certain pieces of a human all contributing their part to the overall integration and the integration has been damaged, but it's not gone.

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It depends on what level of specificity of sameness we are talking about. If we care about absolute physical continuity, as applies to physical property and we want to figure out which ones are physically distinct so that they can be used, they are different.

And this is the difference that I'm identifying as something that should be considered when considering whether or not the individual exiting the transporter is the individual who entered.

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For the transporter, I'm not convinced that we should care about the specificity of an exact specific physical instantiation of a mind. 

Interestingly enough, I went over a big thought experiment with that with DonAthos several years ago. This whole transporter argument I don't think is much different than the argument over if intellectual property is valid

We should.  And I don't know much about intellectual property.  I do have some doubts about whether it is valid or not.  And there may be some parallels between the transporter topic and the intellectual property topic. However, I think even if it is valid, that its validity would be consistent with my argument, especially because it has to do with a lot of stuff that doesn't exist as an entity, such as laws or ideas.

I remember I read once what I believe is an Ayn Rand quote in which she states that the mind and body are one and that we distinguish them only conceptually.  I was trying to look up that quote but I can't find it anywhere now.  I can't state for sure that was what her statement was because I don't remember.  Have you ever read or heard a quote like the one I've described about the body and mind of an individual being one?

Edited by ReasonFirst

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17 hours ago, ReasonFirst said:

What is not consistent about it?  What does not fit in with the argument that I am going for?

I mean, if you don't think the mind is or has fundamental constituent(s), there's no reason to bring it up. 

17 hours ago, ReasonFirst said:

It's not a separate experience. 

Separate experience or not, it shows that you don't need absolute continuity. The whole integration you describe is no different than me saying the mind must be embodied. You can lose access to mental faculties with the split brain but still act in a way as if you never lost those mental faculties. And if you effectively quarantine the hemispheres, there is a complete inability to integrate any information from the other side. It isn't that they are quarantined, but there are *portions* of processing that become completely inaccessible and not integrated. But if you identify an individual there, an individual personality and thinker, you are including a piece of consciousness that is coming from and unique to a body part.

There is not an absolute continuity here, portions of your experience have been torn apart. Control and awareness that you normally have goes away, but behaviors still occur. Continuity is wildly disrupted. At the very least, you acknowledge some information can be reintegrated in a very roundabout way, but I don't think this would be much different than reintegrating everything at the end of the transporter. I don't think I would change your mind completely with this, I just think it would make you consider more about how continuity can be gained in one way, but lost in another, at the same time. If we want a complete and utterly continuous body, we can't lose portions of continuity then gain them again.

17 hours ago, ReasonFirst said:

Have you ever read or heard a quote like the one I've described about the body and mind of an individual being one?

I don't recall that exact wording, but it sounds like something she would say. It's something I would say too - I do think the mind and body are one. But it leaves open whether there has to be *a* body, or a *specific* body. It's safe to say a specific mind though, since the whole point talking about relating mind and body is whether a mind exist completely independently from a body. We aren't trying to explore whether a body can exist independently from my mind.

17 hours ago, ReasonFirst said:

However, I think even if it is valid, that its validity would be consistent with my argument, especially because it has to do with a lot of stuff that doesn't exist as an entity, such as laws or ideas.

The mind doesn't exist as an entity either (which you agreed with earlier).
 

Edited by Eiuol

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

Separate experience or not, it shows that you don't need absolute continuity. The whole integration you describe is no different than me saying the mind must be embodied. You can lose access to mental faculties with the split brain but still act in a way as if you never lost those mental faculties. And if you effectively quarantine the hemispheres, there is a complete inability to integrate any information from the other side. It isn't that they are quarantined, but there are *portions* of processing that become completely inaccessible and not integrated. But if you identify an individual there, an individual personality and thinker, you are including a piece of consciousness that is coming from and unique to a body part.

I agree, but a mind-body dichotomy doesn't necessarily apply in this case, since whatever is being disassembled entirely (mind included), is transferred entirely (mind included), and then reassembled entirely (mind included). Would you say an artificial intelligence loses portions of continuity during a reboot and becomes a duplicate (or different) intelligence afterwards?

I think it might be clearer to represent transportation as the projection of an individual of finite continuous length that begins in one location (like a train) and arrives in a new location. Since none of the train (and intelligences aboard) is left behind at the point of origin we don't morn the loss of those commuters and treat those who arrive as clones.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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