Star Trek Transporter Quandary: Take the Risk?

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In summary, the conversation revolves around the concept of the transporter in Star Trek and the dilemma of whether a person's consciousness is truly transferred through the process or if it is a mere replica. Some argue that the technology is simply science fiction and others question the scientific feasibility and efficiency of such a method. Overall, the conversation highlights the moral and philosophical implications of teleportation and the uncertainty surrounding it.

Do you step up on the transporter pad?

  • I step up.

    Votes: 7 41.2%
  • I refuse.

    Votes: 10 58.8%

  • Total voters
  • #1
Gold Member
Stolen shamelessly - and then subjected to the indignities of paraphrasing - I'm taknig a thread from Whitestar and re-organizing it as a poll:

"The transporter in Star Trek is one of the most fascinating theoretical technologies on board the starship Enterprise...

The transporter works by disassembling crew members at the atomic level and converting them into energy. Once the energy arrives at the appointed destination, the process is reversed...

The problem is there no way to actually account for the first person point-of-view, or know if the person would survive the procedure, unless you or I decide to undergo it. Still, it's rather chancy, but I would think that the individual who first underwent this form of teleportation has ceased to exist and replaced with a replica, who would have all your memories and experiences.

What does everybody else think?"


You awake to find yourself suddenly and miraculously aboard the Enterprise. After much shock and a little looksie around, you are told you will be sent back home. They're going to send by way of the transporter.

You've seen every show and read every book on the subject, and have debated with yourself about the "Am I still me?" quandary. You know that everyone around you has taken the transporter at least once. They will look and act exactly the same as before. But are they the same? You ask yourself just how positive you are that a] there is no such thing as a soul, or b] there is, and it goes with you.

The crew is waiting expectantly. What do you do?

(See poll above.)
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  • #2
I had this question once where they had carefully set up the parameters so you were illogical if you said no. I said no anyway. And I still do. I just don't believe that transporter jive; I am going to die as step one of the process. No way do I step up.
  • #3
I think that your body is made from the energy of your soul, so when the energy is sent, your soul is sent with it and reassembled along with the body. Of course, preliminary experiments with an actual transoprter created replicas of apples in the second machine. the original apple was still in the first.
  • #4
The body you have now does not have a single cell of the body you had 7 years ago. In fact your skin falls off and is totally replaced every few weeks. So as you are already a replicate of your former self why should the idea that a transporter creates a replica unduly alarm anyone?
  • #5
I hold something of the same mindset as selfAdjoint: I'd rather be taken back on a space transporter than a quantum teleporter. Unless there were extensive studies and technical papers written which I could review and form a better opinion on the matter, I wouldn't especially trust being disassembled and reassembled. With the ability to further review what the technology entails, however, my opinion would possibly be subject to change. (Although, if it were absolutely necesasry in a way that it's a choice between the teleporter or harm [death, etc], then I would possibly be more inclined to choose the teleporter, having in mind a possibility of escaping).
  • #6
If I am still me when I get to where I am going, then there is no harm. If I cease to exsit and then get reassembled, that if no one else is me, than that is who I am regardless of my reassembled energy.
  • #7
Gene Roddenberry once said "It's called a *transporter*, not a disintegrating Xerox machine. I don't understand why people keep asking this question. Transporters do not disintegrate people at one end and then make a copy of them at the other end. If they did, would *you* use one?"

Gene said this much more than a quarter century ago, he repeated it ad nausium for decades, and yet, people STILL go on about this idea as if they've come up with something new.

"Transporters" **MOVE** matter, by turning it into energy, "beaming" the energy to a new location, and then turning that same energy back into the SAME matter that went into it on the other end.

How do they do that?
By using "Heisenberg compensators", "pattern buffers", and "annular confinement beams", i.e. they rely strongly on the fiction half of the term science fiction.
  • #8
Isn't that... the same thing?
  • #9
MonstersFromTheId said:
"Transporters" **MOVE** matter, by turning it into energy, "beaming" the energy to a new location, and then turning that same energy back into the SAME matter that went into it on the other end.

Seems to me that the first thing that happens when one turns matter into energy, one produces a nuclear bomb. Completely converting the matter of a normal size person to energy would produce a really big explosion. Oh, maybe I am wrong, matter that exists 2000 years from now might not be the same as matter today, sorry.
  • #10
MonstersFromTheId said:
they rely strongly on the fiction half of the term science fiction.


Gene Roddenberry also mentioned that the cost of producing special effects of shuttle crafts all the time to carry people around was far too expensive for a TV series in the 60's, so he decided to use transporters instead. Also the fact that you can have them move from point A to point B in two seconds left more time for a story line. Just because he has a term for it doesn't make it reality.

That's why they call it Science FICTION.
  • #11

Converting matter into energy, beaming it to a remote location and then converting it back into matter is extremely inefficient. It violates the laws of thermodynamics. You would have to insert more energy at each step. How would this inserted energy be assembled? And how would you retain the information about the original matter after you converted it into energy?

You would be better off believing in subspace and dilithium.

The question is not "how did they do it". The better question would be "how would we do it".

In order to obtain the information about the matter down to a quantom level, you would need to do a destructive scan.
  • #12
jdlech said:
Converting matter into energy, beaming it to a remote location and then converting it back into matter is extremely inefficient.
Of course it is! If it were about energy efficiency they'd skip the whole warp drive thing in the first place, preferring to travel at sublight speeds in a minimum fuel trajectory.
  • #13
Converting matter into energy

Isn't matter condensed energy?
  • #14
Using a very loose definition of the word "condensed", sure. But the conversion process isn't simple (think H-bomb).
  • #15
What I meant was how do you "convert" it when matter is condensed energy?
  • #16
it woud be like hotel california by eagles.
why go? i would live with those people/whatever and learn science. i would be still in contact with u all as info can be sent and received by the technology which can send even people; and then i would boast about my knowledge.

Related to Star Trek Transporter Quandary: Take the Risk?

1. How does the Star Trek transporter work?

The Star Trek transporter works by converting matter into energy, beaming it to a target location, and then reconstructing it back into matter. It uses a combination of quantum mechanics and advanced technology to achieve this process.

2. Is it safe to use the Star Trek transporter?

There is always a risk involved when using any form of transportation, including the Star Trek transporter. However, the technology has been extensively tested and deemed safe for use. In rare cases, malfunctions or interference can occur, but these are usually quickly resolved by the transporter operator.

3. Can the Star Trek transporter transport living beings?

Yes, the Star Trek transporter is able to transport living beings. It is commonly used to transport crew members to and from the ship, as well as for away missions. However, there are certain limitations and risks involved, such as the possibility of a transporter malfunction or the loss of consciousness during transport.

4. Can the Star Trek transporter transport objects over long distances?

Yes, the Star Trek transporter is capable of transporting objects over long distances, even across galaxies. However, this requires a significant amount of energy and precise calculations, so it is not often used for long-distance transport unless it is necessary.

5. Are there any ethical concerns with using the Star Trek transporter?

The use of the Star Trek transporter raises ethical concerns related to the concept of "transporter psychosis," where a person's personality and memories could be altered during the transport process. Additionally, there are debates about whether the transporter essentially "kills" the original person and creates a clone at the destination. These are important considerations, but they are still largely theoretical and have not been fully explored in the Star Trek universe.

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