Daily Departures

Departing daily from the ordinary objects of my thoughts.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

They've almost done it

Anyone who has seen Star Trek knows what the transporter does: it dematerializes a person and then rematerializes them in a different location. Devices like these are the bread and butter of science fiction, but science-fiction-they-be no longer. Scientists have not only successfully transported single atoms, but now they have been able to transport an entire laser beam... that's a lot of photons! Not only can they transport the laser beam, but they are able to duplicate it.

The transporting scenarios bring up lots of philosophical puzzles, some serious and some not. I have one that is not that I'd like to share.

Suppose that we has a perfectly working transporter. This transporter can relocate nearly anything, including people. Now suppose that we are to transport you. However, things don't go exactly right and the result of the transport, there are two of you. The resulting people would be qualitatively identical. Both would have the same number of hairs, the same scars, the same beliefs, the same memories, the same strengths, and so on. None of your closest friends or family would be able to say one way or the other that one of these two people was you and that the other was not.

Now, imagine being in this situation. Given that you can only be one of these individuals, the question is this: What would you do with this person?

There are obviously many many answers, but if you are really not sure, then it might help to ask: would you get along with the other person? If not, then what would you fight about? If so, then what would you 'bond' over?

I want comments here. This time I don't want comments for the sake of comments, I am really curious about what people would do. Comment away!


  • At 2/22/2006 08:49:00 AM, Blogger miershpedankl said…

    I thought I saw you walking around town the other day. But I thought to myself, "self, Mark is in NY!" Now I KNOW I saw you!!

  • At 2/22/2006 01:28:00 PM, Blogger retank said…

    Not knowing anything about this, at all, I first wondered, does this mean they could teleport this laser and have it directed at a certain point.
    And also what is the time relationship involved?
    Interesting concept, would we be able to use this someway to generate power of some type at a given point and time of our choosing?

  • At 2/22/2006 06:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    retank - just like your blogspot - I am sure that these profundities will lead you no where. Give a stab at a resolution... somwhere.

  • At 2/22/2006 09:05:00 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Another one of me eh? hmmmm...
    I would have to say that I believe that we would clash. The weird thing about this question is that the other "me" is just as valid as me, and who would be able to tell...
    One solution that I thought of would be to attempt to duplicate one of everyone of my family members, so they could have a family to live with. Then send the whole family over to China or something, hahaha. This wouldnt work tho, cause we would have no idea who the originals are...
    Since I know that I am the original of me, I would probly fight the other me to the death! Think about it, it would be the ultimate fight, we would do the EXACT same things, exact moves and everything...a mirror match.

  • At 2/22/2006 10:54:00 PM, Blogger Brendan Ritchie said…

    being a twin, this would not be that unusual. Knowing myself, I think we would go to great lengths to bond and act as a team. As time progressed, and we grew differently as people (since all though we would be "starting out" the same, we would not remain so) I think we would go on and have our own lives. Prob get one of us to dye our hair, and use different parts of our name (one uses first name, other second name). Eventually, I would hope we could go on and become unique people.

  • At 2/23/2006 09:40:00 AM, Blogger SoulPastor said…

    Would it/I be a twin? Or a clone?
    Would my personality be altered?
    Would each 'body' have an unique characteristic? Or is it a mirror image?
    Is there any hope that each 'unit' would have any chance of individuality, thus make it unique?
    I have more questions than answers...but if there was another one of me...I would want to get rid of me! Two of 'me' in this world is simply too much of what I can handle! Seriously!


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