It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


... and you would be?

page: 1

log in


posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 10:12 AM
Hello, as some of you may know I am a fan of Blade Runner and it is with the philosophical questions that arise in that wonderful film in mind that I considered the following when it was raised in a BBC programme, Visions of the Future presented by Michio Kaku. There was a conversation with Prof. Anton Zeilinger over teleportation at the Institute for Experimental Physics, University of Vienna discussing the teleportation of Photons. (I would love to could go into a lengthy and explanation over the exact details of quantum entanglement here but I feel that the dual concerns over (a) such an exhaustingly detailed piece being potentially off putting to some, and (b) my utter lack of understanding of the subject to any worthwhile degree, prevents it.)

Anyway, moving on quickly, the salient point here is that Prof. Zeilinger induces quantum entanglement, where when change is affected upon one photon that exact change is visited upon the other instantaneously. Here lies the fun; the photon itself isn’t teleported, just the information contained:

What we really teleport in quantum teleportation is the information contained within a system. This information is teleported over to another system which assumes exactly that information, therefore it becomes identical with the original. The original loses its properties and the new one is made up of different matter, not the same matter as the original.
... If we dream about teleportation of humans then all kinds of questions arise, like ‘What does it mean to be me?’ When someone teleports me and I know that what’s being teleported is information and not matter, not the stuff I am made of... who is it that ends up over there?

This is what put me in mind of a question that I’ve discussed with friends before (yes, I am that exciting to know in r/l) and I’m sure one that many reading this have considered before.

What makes me, me?

Upon considering this I thought one interesting way of approaching this might be to see if there was a situation when the ‘I’ that existed would no longer be ‘me’.

I imagined a clone scenario. If an exact biological duplicate of me were created instantaneously am I right to assert that I am me more than the clone? Is it simply a case of ‘I was here first’?

Then I imagined a scenario where the complete human body was available in replacement parts. A record is kept and, if needed, identical biological copies of any damaged body part can be created instantly by busy little nanobots possessing the ability to manipulate matter. Being a somewhat reckless daredevil I find myself requiring varying parts. As they are all organic, exact replicas, am I always me even if I need complete brain replacement? I am a shiny, new Jak, butter blond and beautiful! but am I me?

What about if science had not advanced quite so far and although perfectly functioning artificial body parts were available they were more mechanical in their nature? Again I am accident prone and gradually all parts of my body need replacement, ending up with my head. Here, all the information contained within my brain (stop laughing at the back) can be instantly downloaded and put into a drive which is then inserted into my new head without any problem; all my life’s experiences along with any predispositions my genetic makeup may have granted me, everything that goes to make up my present personality is completely transferable. I am mecha-man, it’s great! but is it me?

If it is not, then is there a point of the gradual replacement of body parts that I become no longer me? At what point? Is it when a percentage has been replaced, say as soon as we move past 50%? Is it when a particular part has been replaced; the heart, the head?

I can see that from a particularly scientific perspective the argument can be offered that there is no ‘essence of me’ to be concerned about and it is a point I don’t have a particular problem with. If that is the case though let’s look at it another way, not just from a spiritual perspective: When would an agreeable time for someone to morn my passing? If the above scientific stance is taken when would be comfortable in walking away from a loved one who found themselves completely rebuilt? At what point are you agreeable to informing them that they are not your brother or sister etc. and you have no feelings for them over and above that which you have for any other human?

Quantum teleporter or the bus?

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 10:34 AM
reply to post by JAK

And you would be....a Philip K. Dick fan??
He wrote bladerunner and was a pretty trippy guy.
Sorry but the embed thing messes me up so here is a link.

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 11:24 AM
Ah, the Ship of Theseus et al. Paradox. What constitutes the Self? A big question indeed.

One of my personal favorite sci fi series, the Riverworld books, addresses this same question. You die, you're resurrected somewhere else on the planet. Or at least, something is, which has all your memories. Sir Richard Francis Burton (the explorer) finds this out after using a series of deaths/resurrections to move around on the planet. Most disconcerting.

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 11:25 AM
There is more to it than simply the replacement of parts.

Your soul is your essence and why it moves on when we pass on.

What really makes us who we are is our soul. Each of our individual souls has also has it's very own unique frequency.

By replacing your head and replacing all of your "data" as long as your soul hadn't departed, from your body it would still be you.

Our soul is the battery so to speak of our existence.

This seques into those who have had out of body experiences(OOBE).
The body, being on the threshold of death, the soul leaves, but because in the spiritual realm, time and space do not exist. The present and future are one in the same, it is decided as to whether it is your time or not.
If it is not, the soul rejoins the body and hence the explanation we read about today pertaining to OOBE.

Your Soul is your essence and your life energy or battery.

It's somewhat analogous to computers, which are comprised of hardware and software.

You could have two identical computers built from the same parts, Case, power supply, motherboard, CPU, RAM, Video Card, HDrive etc. but if they are running different software OS for example one running Linux and the other Windows, they would be entirely different.
Different in look, appearance and behaviour.

It's somewhat like that....somewhat.

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 11:38 AM
reply to post by JAK

Interesting thoughts JAK .

We do replace our `parts` over the course of our lives as we age ..... there is but the faintest resemblance of the child i once was, my appearance is gradually changing as i grow older and the process of copying cells etc. accumulate errors. As far as personality goes , i am different also than i was as a child or even 5 years ago.

Perhaps in an effort to maintain the narrative of our lives .....we ignore the fact that we constantly changing .

[edit on 26-8-2010 by UmbraSumus]

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 11:44 AM
I think it is memory, more than any other function or quality of being which makes us "us". Experience becomes imbedded as memory and acts like programming, if you will, to our awareness and sense of self.

We are not the sum of our physical parts, intellectually, but we are the sum of our experiences.

So, therefore, no matter how much your body is manipulated, as long as you retain your memories then you will continue to be "you"

Now if you get into losing half a brain, that gets more complicated.

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 12:52 PM
reply to post by JAK

Ok you hurtez my brains with your big words and for that I can never forgive, but I will go on anyway.

Realistically I think the idea of being able to replace parts where needed would be awesome or transporter travel rocks as well,
I could go to France with the wife for lunch and we could meet up in Kalifornia for dinner.
We could transport food to every region in the world when needed.
There are many advantages I could see to technology like this.
Now for the humanity issue as far as us not being us...
Are we not just the sum of all of our personal data?
Sure we have the DNA thing at the developing stage in the womb but, we are basically baby blanks then much like a storage media we are filled with info that makes each of us different.
If a person had a problem with this it is simple, Just don't participate with any of it medical, food, transport, Etc.

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 01:47 PM
your use of quantum entanglement and replaceable body parts suggests that you have only considered the BOTTOM -> UP (reductionist) perspective.

the self, particularly in terms of the EGO, is more intuitively understood from a TOP -> DOWN (collectivist) perspective.

new topics

top topics


log in