Is the transporter on Star Trek a nifty sci-fi transportation mechanism? Or is it a sinister murder machine, killing the person who steps on the platform and spitting out a duplicate on the other end?

Start watching for the geeky fanwankery, stay for the meaty speculation about an astounding philosophical problem: The problem of consciousness. Everybody has consciousness, but nobody knows what consciousness is. You can’t prove that anybody other than you is conscious, and you can’t prove to anybody else that you’re conscious.

This is another in a series of wonderful CGP Grey video.

1 thought on “The trouble with transporters on Star Trek (and elsewhere)

  1. coyoty

    It depends on whether you’re a physical object or a data construct in a data-based universe (like in Jack L. Chalker’s Well of Souls series). If you’re a data construct, then a transporter can just move your pointer from one place to another. Or maybe it’s “Photoshopping” you from one place to another. You’re still the same consciousness and body, with no destruction done. A data-based universe doesn’t necessarily have to be artificial, either. A physical universe may be a naturally occuring data construct, like a quantum neural net organizing itself into matter, and someone smart enough or having some natural connection to the net could hack it so transporters can work by readdessing your pointer.


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