Immortality via robot doesn’t work

I, robot? Rich Russian reveals wish to live forever as a machine

So, load yourself into an AI and live forever.

Yes, but, the personality that isn’t uploaded still dies, doesn’t it?

59 thoughts on “Immortality via robot doesn’t work”

  1. Indeed. It’s still a copy. There is no such thing as moving data, it’s all copy and delete the original.

    ^Off you go, nitpickers.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    Well the obvious thing to do is to program the robot so it doesn’t know the difference. Then it won’t matter.

    A la Arthur Dent of course.

  3. It will to the person who, having “uploaded”, is sat there realising they’re still going to die.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “It will to the person who, having “uploaded”, is sat there realising they’re still going to die.”

    Not if we tell them that they won’t. Or they are a Star Trek fan.

    We just say, “watch the screen” and then blow them away before they know what is happening.

    Obligatory SF reference: Larry Niven’s A World Out of Time

    Up-market SF reference: Never Let Me Go. Which is, of course, written by a Foreigner of some description. A wise man from the Orient. So it can’t be trash.

  5. Philip Scott Thomas

    To paraphrase Woody Allen: I don’t want to achieve immortality through uploading myself; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the cloud; I want to live on in my apartment.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    If they manage this, the richest will be able to do it first. Which has a downside actually. Having the Stones tour for the next 1000 years is one thing. But waiting to see whether Jesus makes it back for the Second Coming before Kate Bush’s next album would be terrible.

  7. It simply can’t be done.

    Anyway, so long as the Back To The Caves Mob don’t stop it happening, we’ll have biological immortality soon enough, and then living in a robot becomes moot.

    I just wish I was going to see it. Nobody else does though, understandably.

  8. We already have a method of achieving a sort of immortality. It’s called being a parent.

    And after you’ve changed your ten thousandth soiled nappy in the middle of the night for a screaming infant, the thought of going to your eternal rest is no longer quite as scary.

  9. It’s not the being dead thing, it’s the getting old, ill and dying thing. My mum died an appalling death from cancer, my dad is now slipping into dementia. It makes all the previous being alive and doing shit stuff seem kind of pointless.

    Life is like being a clairvoyant on the Titanic, knowing that however nice the cruise is, it’s not going to end well.

  10. Ian B – Cancer terrifies me too. I’d rather be mauled to death by Scottish wildcats or chased off a cliff by excited Page 3 girls.

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “It simply can’t be done.”

    Probably it is the least plausible of options. Larry Niven’s approach depended on the science of the time that assumed memory was transmitted by RNA – because of experiments done by James V. McConnell that involved chopping flat worms up and feeding them to other flat worms. Hard to believe it but the Unabomber tried to kill him. Now it turns out that is not true so it is pointless to put your brain through a blender and inject a brain wiped body with your RNA.

    I am pretty sure you would be dead if you did it either way.

    Never Let Me Go and parts of Lois Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga involves growing a clone body and transferring the brain or some larger set of parts.

    That might work. If we allowed it. If the brain is transferred I would guess you would still be alive.

    The other example I can think of is Star Trek where every transporter destroys you, and then re-assembles something like you on the surface of the planet. Yep. Every time Captain Kirk dies and is reborn. I expect they did this just to annoy the religious. But I tend to think you would die. Not that it is remotely possible.

    Any number of people do the “recorded download and brought back as a robot” story line. Not sure I am convinced. I think someone who is dead is dead. But it works for authors as diverse as Neal Asher and Ian Banks.

    “Anyway, so long as the Back To The Caves Mob don’t stop it happening, we’ll have biological immortality soon enough, and then living in a robot becomes moot.”

    I am unconvinced. Of course in 100 years we will be in perpetual civil war followed by Islamic autocracy leading to a Stone Age. But even if we weren’t, I think this problem might be harder than people think.

    Ian B – “It makes all the previous being alive and doing shit stuff seem kind of pointless. Life is like being a clairvoyant on the Titanic, knowing that however nice the cruise is, it’s not going to end well.”

    Well it got to Keith Emerson. In the end.

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    Steve – “Cancer terrifies me too. I’d rather be mauled to death by Scottish wildcats or chased off a cliff by excited Page 3 girls.”

    Cancer doesn’t terrify me much. Did in my old man. But he got some years of suffering to make his peace generally with the world.

    Death is one of those odd things. It is an utterly criminal, pointless, cruel, unfair, waste of talent and individuality. But there is nothing we can do about it. So we either accept it or we go about our business pretending it doesn’t exist. If this was something we were doing to ourselves, or to others, we would agree it was the greatest crime against humanity. Which is is, really, but there is nothing we can do about it.

  13. I wouldn’t want to be a robot anyway. Unless I was a 200 foot high atomic death robot with laser beam eyes. That would be cool.

    This Russian sad sack is paying out a fortune and will probably get a glorified Roomba running a buggy javascript simulation of his spergy personality for his investment.

    What an idiot. If I was a multi millionaire I’d be drunk on a yacht.

  14. Every time Captain Kirk dies and is reborn. I expect they did this just to annoy the religious.

    Doubt it. I remember back in the days of Usenet discussing this, on a group with a mixture from atheists to fundamentalists. Some of the atheists were trying to insist that TOS is secular humanist, but I and others pointed out that it was a show made in the 1960s, in an assumed Judaeo-Christian context for viewers. Hence for instance when in Who Mourns For Adonai?, Apollo says he will be their god, and Kirk replies that they “find the one quite sufficient”, or the overtly religious ending of Bread And Circuses, when Uhura realises that the slaves aren’t worshipping “The Sun”, but “The Son”. Which was written by Roddenberry himself.

  15. SMFS-

    There’s no reason to think we can’t do anything about death. It’s a difficult engineering problem, but it is an engineering problem, so is eventually solvable.

  16. SMFS – it’s the pain that scares me. I can put up with just about anything except pain.

    I wouldn’t mind dying so much, but I’d hate to let my wife and kids and cats down. If I didn’t have them depending on me I’d probably have drank myself silly (sillier?) and be well on the way to a liver-failure-induced early checkout by now.

    Those life insurance adverts where Ghost Dad smiles at the camera because his family are taken care of know what they’re doing.

  17. I’ve had quite a few friends and colleagues die young, in their early to late twenties/early thirties. I do sometimes wonder if they were not the lucky ones – going very suddenly in the absolute prime of their lives. There are pros and cons. I think the best we can hope for is to die quickly and painlessly with our affairs in order, our loved ones knowing we loved them.

  18. Adrian Tchaikovsky did a reasonable job with Avrana Kern in his novel Children of Time. But it’s still a fantasy.

  19. I thought the reason Roddenberry invented the transpporter was to avoid having to do the special effects for a shuttle every time they wanted the chaps to go somewhere.

  20. What about the “Last Ship From Salamis” idea?

    The story goes that them old-time Greigs preserved the last warship left that fought (on their side) at Salamis.

    Over the decades time and souvenir-hunting Greek gits began to wear the ship out. So one plank was replaced and then another. Over time the ship still existed but not one part of it was original. The philosophical argument them kicked off : was it the actual same ship etc. Ancient warships do not have a consciousness of course–as far as we know.

    Now human beings are largely replaced over time. The old wives tale that all your body’s cells are replaced every 7 years is not true but a huge number of cells are replaced every day never mind across a lifetime.

    What if each single neuron /synapse could be replaced by an indestructible electronic equivalent one at a time. A long job. But at what point would you cease to be you? 10%, 20%–100%?. After all you would have a continuity of consciousness all the way thro (This is assuming IanB’s miserablist materialism hypothesis is correct ).

    That would seem one way it might be done.

  21. If you want indestructible, you’re better of going with biology, since it can repair and maintain itself. Electronics is going to wear out. Human cells constantly rebuild themselves at the molecular level; when a cat jumps in the air, a slightly different cat lands.

    What happens is that gradually they get gunked up with waste products that can’t be gotten rid of, and the trick is modifying the engineering so the detritus both within and between the cells can be gotten rid of.

    Which also nicely solves the problem of staying young when you’re immortal; a very good example being the gradual failure of the collagen producing machinery in skin, which causes it to age. Just fix that one problem and you’ll be a hero to the women of the world. And destroy most of the cosmetics industry, at least that part predicated on “smear this grease all over to convince yourself you’re not a wrinkled old bag” products.

    The body is like the government; however good it starts, it ends up accumulating so much crap that it can’t do anything and just becomes a burden on everyone.

  22. I also don’t know what’s so miserablist about materialism. Even Christianity promises the resurrection of the flesh, remember. You can’t do much without a body to do things in.

  23. “Life is like being a clairvoyant on the Titanic, knowing that however nice the cruise is, it’s not going to end well.”

    Cheerful?

  24. You finally work it out, upload yourself…and an hour later the cleaner pulls the plug to allow her to use the hoover.

  25. Assuming you can solve all the problems you then have another problem to solve; that the solar system has a predicted finite life. Your only hope is to find a way out of these dimensions.

  26. On the other hand the atoms you are made from will most likely last forever. Its only your sense of self that won’t.

  27. “Yes, but, the personality that isn’t uploaded still dies, doesn’t it?”

    Sure.

    But it does that anyway. Every day. Every single atom in your body has been replaced, multiple times, over the years – are you still you?

    The you that existed when you were 3 is long dead and buried – the only thing that remains of that child are a handful of very hazy memories and none of that personality.

    If you create a completely identical copy of software – is it not the same software? I give you two disks of Windows 10 – what’s the difference between them?

  28. “Ian B
    March 14, 2016 at 9:17 am

    It will to the person who, having “uploaded”, is sat there realising they’re still going to die.”

    Rich Russian isn’t going to care about that guy – that guy? He’s a loser and he’s going to fie. Me? *I’m* a winner.

  29. If you create a completely identical copy of software – is it not the same software? I give you two disks of Windows 10 – what’s the difference between them?

    Software doesn’t have a sense of identity. It doesn’t have a sense of anything. It’s just stuff.

    Two identical things are not the same thing. So far as we know, any two electrons are absolutely identical. But they aren’t the same electron.

  30. “Ian B
    March 14, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    If you want indestructible, you’re better of going with biology, since it can repair and maintain itself. Electronics is going to wear out. ”

    The difference between ‘biology’ and ‘machine’ is ill-defined and very, very blurry.

    You are a *molecular machine* RIGHT NOW. Every cell in your body is and contains nanomachines.

    How much is ‘biology’ and how much is ‘machine’ gets even weirder when you start incorporating sapphire and diamond phase carbon into cells, start moving away from wet-protein chemistry, add computational and networking abilities to each cell, etc.

    Then you end up with people with their minds distributed throughout their ‘bodies’ – which are composed of utility fog.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utility_fog

  31. Ian B
    March 14, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    “Software doesn’t have a sense of identity. It doesn’t have a sense of anything. It’s just stuff.

    Two identical things are not the same thing. So far as we know, any two electrons are absolutely identical. But they aren’t the same electron.”

    But two pages filled with the same data are filled with *identical data*. As such, I don’t see why a *sense of identity* is even relevant to the question of whether or not something is identical.

    And how do you know that software doesn’t have a sense of identity? How do you know that I do? What is a sense of identity? What is identity?

  32. I don’t want to be utility fog, it sounds unpleasant.

    Aggy-

    A sense of identity is relevant because humans think of “I” as themself. That somebody else might be the same in every respect doesn’t make them “I”, it makes them “someone else who is just like me”.

    The Greek Ship or the Broom Paradox (five new handles, four new heads) aren’t really paradoxes; they demonstrate that humans think in terms of continuity. The London Philharmonic Orchestra contains none of its original members but is still the LPO because it is contiguous (or continuous, pendant assitance please) with the original LPO.

    This can of course cause problems of its own, when a pop group splits in two and they end up in court arguing who are the real Bucks Fizz.

    But there you go, like nations and peoples, the definition is continuity. Not similarity.

  33. But a sense of identity is irrelevant with regard to the question of whether or not you’re identical.

    I could *think* I’m identical to Tim or completely different – that has no bearing on the *reality* of the situation.

    Stick me in a transporter and spit out two me’s at the end – is one the original (and if so, which one) or are they both copies?

    And in either case, if one or both strenuously assert they are the original and the other is the copy – does that assertion matter?

  34. “And how do you know that software doesn’t have a sense of identity? How do you know that I do? What is a sense of identity? What is identity?”

    This copy of Windows 10 has a sense of identity. It identifies as a fucking unreliable idiot

  35. @Agammamon

    It’s an interesting thought experiment, for sure.

    I’d come down on the side of the copy being a separate entity, with rights and essentially being a different person.

    Why? Probably because it would act as it’s own agent, independently of the original and indefinitely, given a lack of interference from anyone else.

    That it would be genetically identical, and have the same memories as someone else means squat ( I used to go to gigs with identical twins who stood together all the way through- didn’t make one of them redundant)

  36. “Stick me in a transporter and spit out two me’s at the end – is one the original (and if so, which one) or are they both copies?”

    Does one of them have a mysterious goatee beard, is appearing to wear mascara, and is behaving strangely?

  37. Aggy,

    It’s you that seems to be fascinated with being identical, not me. I don’t know what point you’re making. I repeat, that if B is in every way identical to A, that does not mean that B is A.

    Igor uploads his consciousness into the infernal machine. Now he sits there on his stool, still Igor, contemplating a copy of his mind inside the infernal machine. He isn’t in there. He’s still outside.

  38. Igor goes to sleep, beside his infernal transference machine.

    At 7am, the alarm clock goes off, triggering the machine to transfer Igor into his infernal repository, which is designed to provide the illusion of body+senses to its ‘occupant’.

    At 7.30, Igor awakes normally. he sees he’s in bed, at home and all is well with the world.

    At 7.25, the dustbin men have come and removed the cooling corpse from the bed, of course.

  39. IanB

    “Two identical things are not the same thing. So far as we know, any two electrons are absolutely identical. But they aren’t the same electron.”

    I agree with most of what you say in this thread. However, if two things share all the same properties/predicates (including relational ones), then they are the same thing (ie the identity of indiscernibles). Two very similar electrons will have different positions and different histories, so they will be separate entities and not identical. Similarly, with Aggy’s software discs.

  40. I can’t see the appeal of eternal human life. After a couple of centuries, it would become boring. Janacek made this point in his opera The Makropoulos Affair, based on a play by Karel Capek. Elina extends her life by 300 years with an elixir, but refuses another dose and another 300 years of life, because she is bored and lonely and so wants to die. By contrast, religion offers an eternal transformed life, a metamorphosis – not more of the same.

  41. IanB: “It simply can’t be done.”

    As yet.. It actually isn’t that hard to set up organic-type neural structures in silicon, either as PLU’s or as emulation. Quite effectively as well, if you understand the underlying parameters, and.. well .. Stuff.
    Fortunately, as far as one can tell from publicly available publications, and actual prototypal tech, most people in the “field” haven’t. Because, bluntly put, as a species we’re not ready for that kind of shit happening.

    Besides purely technological issues, there’s also the matter of input/output, and the way the human psyche reacts *without* loads of it. And power supply. The “immortality” that this man is looking for may well be a greater hell than all his fears could conjure up.

  42. The other example I can think of is Star Trek where every transporter destroys you, and then re-assembles something like you on the surface of the planet. Yep. Every time Captain Kirk dies and is reborn. I expect they did this just to annoy the religious. But I tend to think you would die. Not that it is remotely possible.

    I mentioned this to some Star Trek fans and they were adamant that Kirk is not killed, it is canon that he is transformed into some kind of stream of matter. The Prestige was more realistic.

  43. How about if you replace a bit of your brain, or your consciousness, at a time?

    DS9: Life Support episode.

    Do it in small bits, but with the rump organic bits connected to the new synthetic, until at the end all the organic is replaced.

  44. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “I remember back in the days of Usenet discussing this”

    You oldie, you.

    “but I and others pointed out that it was a show made in the 1960s, in an assumed Judaeo-Christian context for viewers.”

    Sure. They had to write for a still-Christian America. But that doesn’t mean they were Christians. American TV was mostly written by Marxists and/or Jews by this point. So they have to pander a little to the audiences they had nothing but contempt for. GR himself, for instance, clearly supported inter-racial sex. Eventually he got his way. But it took him a while to convince the studio.

    Ian B – “There’s no reason to think we can’t do anything about death. It’s a difficult engineering problem, but it is an engineering problem, so is eventually solvable.”

    Some problems in science are possible. Some are not. Some are possible but not on a human scale. The Traveling salesman is possible, but it is hard. No good solution has been found last I heard and it is unlikely to be so. Chess is even harder. Theoretically it is possible, but it would take longer than the heat death of the universe without something radically new like a quantum computer.

    You assume that immortality is possible. I am not sure but let’s agree it is. Is it possible for us to find some solution to it that is feasible? I am not sure that is true. Certainly any sort of biological solution will be infinitely less complex than any sort of silicon solution. We can’t even cure depression. How are we going to copy a personality?

  45. Bloke in Costa Rica

    “Two very similar electrons will have different positions and different histories, so they will be separate entities and not identical.”

    Electrons, and all other subatomic particles, are indistinguishable. Like the Uncertainty Principle, this isn’t a limitation of our measurement capability but a fundamental feature of the way the universe works. If you put two electrons in a box, close the lid, then open it again, it is impossible even in principle to tell which is which.

    In the modern Quantum Field Theory formulation, electrons-as-particles are excitations of the electron field. Leaving aside indistinguishability, they don’t even have identity in any meaningful sense. If an electron goes bimbling along and Compton scatters off a photon, it’s a moot point whether the electron you see coming out the other side is the same one. You can do the book-keeping: spin-half particle with -1 charge, lepton number 1 interacts with spin-1 neutral boson, and spin-half particle with -1 charge, lepton number 1 and less momentum comes out the other side, but that’s it.

  46. So Much For Subtlety

    Agammamon – “But two pages filled with the same data are filled with *identical data*. As such, I don’t see why a *sense of identity* is even relevant to the question of whether or not something is identical.”

    Sure but are people just pages of data? We have a spectrum of possibilities here – one is the religious end that asserts there is something unique and unchanging about each and every one of us. A soul. Really is a shame we cannot see it or measure it. The other end is the engineering solution that says humans are just switches and bits and bytes.

    Neither of these seems particularly convincing to me.

    “And how do you know that software doesn’t have a sense of identity? How do you know that I do? What is a sense of identity? What is identity?”

    When computers are smart enough to complain about being kept as slaves we will know they have a sense of identity.

    Agammamon – “I could *think* I’m identical to Tim or completely different – that has no bearing on the *reality* of the situation.”

    No but if you were physically identical to Tim that would pose a problem whether you thought you were identical to Tim or not.

    “Stick me in a transporter and spit out two me’s at the end – is one the original (and if so, which one) or are they both copies?”

    The Startrek canon would argue both are copies. But we would need some way to tell. After all, which one is married to your wife? Which one is responsible for the bloody remains of your line manager you just left behind before stepping into the transporter? In California, twins have argued that the other one was responsible. Seems like reasonable doubt to me.

  47. So Much For Subtlety

    Kevin B – “I thought the reason Roddenberry invented the transpporter was to avoid having to do the special effects for a shuttle every time they wanted the chaps to go somewhere.”

    As with Blake’s 7 I assume – except every time they beamed down it was some dismal quarry in Wolverhampton. Same with Doctor Who come to think of it. My theory would be that SF is good in inverse proportion to the budgets or more likely that the only cheap shows we remember are those that had interesting plots. If they weren’t good, we would forget them quickly.

    There are various ways you could theorise a transporter. It could create a mini-worm-hole bubble and physically move your entire body down to the surface. You could even disassemble all the particles on your body and reassemble them on the surface. But Star Trek did not go either way. They decided to physically destroy Kirk’s body and build another one that looked exactly the same. I suppose it solves what I might call “The Fly” problem.

  48. So Much For Subtlety

    Agammamon – “Stick me in a transporter and spit out two me’s at the end – is one the original (and if so, which one) or are they both copies?”

    So we have the Stepford Wife solution. If a company promised you that if you persuaded your wife to step into their booth, you would be presented with an improved wife, only younger, pert-er, and more obedient, would you do it? If you did it, would the new improved version actually be your wife? A few tweaks here or there. Could have an entirely new outlook on your marriage.

    If we accept that a copy is a copy is a copy – and that as individuals we are all changing all the time – then I can see an argument that the new improved version *is* still your wife. And hence there is nothing morally wrong about doing this. Assuming that the original copy does not turn up and start complaining.

    Myself, I would simply copy Donald Sutherland and point and scream.

  49. SMFS: “You assume that immortality is possible. I am not sure but let’s agree it is. Is it possible for us to find some solution to it that is feasible? I am not sure that is true. Certainly any sort of biological solution will be infinitely less complex than any sort of silicon solution. We can’t even cure depression. How are we going to copy a personality?”

    Funny that.. “Tales of Gnosis College”, an intarwebs comic, has a number of episodes asking that (very set of) question(s). In the most specific case (volume 8, episode 8) , a woman elects to be rebuilt into a musical instrument, and the story is told from her perspective.

    Fair warning, ToGC is … NSFW.. at all…
    It would most definitely fall into the category of Bad! Evil! Things! the current British Nanny-ists would like to have banned/firewalled, and scrubbed from existence.
    It’s also one of the few examples of rule 34 that’s actually intelligent and well-written. It is, as the front page warns, Erotic Mad Science, but with the Mad Science done really, really well.

    But definitely not for the easily offended, or easily..disturbed.

  50. “Two identical things are not the same thing. So far as we know, any two electrons are absolutely identical. But they aren’t the same electron.”

    Actually, they’re a wave-like disturbance in the electron field, according to quantum field theory, and not only are they indistinguishable (to the extent that distinguishability is even a meaningful concept), it’s not even very clear that there’s a fixed and definite number of them.

    Have you ever played with a Newton’s cradle? Lift one ball and let it swing back. One ball will shoot out from the other end. Lift two balls and let them drop; two balls will shoot out from the other end. The number is preserved, but it’s not the same balls at the end.

    Set a single wave peak moving across a pond, and exactly one wave peak will arrive at the other side. But it’s not the same water in it. One bit of water jostles the next bit and so on, but the water itself never moves far. Likewise the field that electrons are waves in doesn’t move, but the disturbances in it do.

    A moving electron – examined at a sufficiently microscopic level – doesn’t act like a billiard ball. It dissolves into a cloud of possibilities, represented by Feynman diagrams, turning into lots of different particles and combinations, before these all recombine at the other end to yield an electron. Two electrons dissolve together into a network of mutating particles before everything cancels out and two electrons emerge at the other end. (Or if there’s enough energy in them, sometimes as something else – that’s how particle accelerators create new particles). There’s no defined trajectory from one end to the other. Quantum numbers like the energy, momentum, and charge are preserved in each intermediate step, so like the balls of Newton’s cradle the number is preserved, but the electrons are not the same. They’ve been photons and W’s and Z’s and pions and all sorts of other stuff along the way. The idea that there are definite particles with a fixed identity moving around in space is an illusion, an impression gained by looking at it from a great distance. They’re the consequences of those conservation laws, that in requiring the mush to have the same overall quantum numbers later as it does earlier, makes it act as if it were a single particle with a fixed identity.

    Particles copy and reproduce themselves endlessly, every 10^-43 seconds. You’re not the same from one yoctosecond to the next. It’s like you’re continually being “transported” in place, copied from second to second.

    And indeed, it’s a standard result of philosophy – that you have no way of telling if the you of one second before is the same you now. All you have to go on are your memories. But if ‘souls’ were to be exchanged while memories remained, how could you ever know? Maybe there’s only one soul in the universe, endlessly flitting from body to body, experiencing every life simultaneously, but experiencing the illusion of many continuous individual identities because the memories it experiences stay with the body.

    So be nice to people, because they might be you too.

  51. Alastair – On the other hand the atoms you are made from will most likely last forever.

    I hate to be a Private Frazer, but apparently that’s not true.

    Proton decay, heat death of the universe, and all that jazz.

    Dunno if it’s also connected to gravity. So all particles with mass emit gravitational energy, right? Or so I gather. That means every bit of stuff in existence is continuously losing energy. Which can’t go on forever due to the conservation of energy.

    Though I probably have that bit completely wrong, because it’s based on a hazy memory of watching Horizon once.

  52. @Steve Ummm no.. Particles with mass distort the gravitational field. For the purpose of simplicity: Mass concentrates the gravitic field. More or less the same ways as a magnetic material distorts the magnetic field.
    Mass in and of itself does not emit “gravitational energy”, in the same way as a piece of iron does not emit “magnetism”.

    The law of conservation of energy simply states the total amount of energy stays the same. It does not state, in any way, the form in which that energy must exist.
    “Mass” , as proven by the Higgs Boson , is just a characteristic of “matter” ( a specific subset of the energy spectrum) that has varying levels of interaction with the Higgs field, depending on the particular composition of the individial particles within this “matter”.

    ( Note how things like this are perfectly logical, correct, and proveable with experiments ( provided someone gifts you a LHC for [seasonal festivity of choice] ) if expressed in proper Math-thingies, but sound like utter tinfoil-hat driven bollocks if you try to express it in a language that’s designed to impart the presence of the nearest bunch of bananas.)

  53. “So all particles with mass emit gravitational energy, right?”

    No. All particles that accelerate non-uniformly do so.

    But yes, nobody can live forever, because of entropy running down.

    But personally, I’d settle for the 10^(10^70) years until the last black holes evaporate. It would get a bit boring after that…

  54. Incidentally.. the existence of the Higgs field proves that the “4-is-not-enough” dimensional crowd is right.
    With the Higgs field more or less proven to exist, it means our universe is at least 5-dimensional.

    /nerd

  55. TOS was originally supposed to have the entire starship land on the planet. When the technical difficulties and costs proved too high the production team decided to use shuttles. The shuttles weren’t finished when filming started so the transporter was used to fill in the plot hole.

    As to uploading my conscience to a computer let me know when someone does it successfully with a fruit fly.

  56. *grin*
    LY, dunno if fruit flies have consciences, given that they’ve hardly got consciousness as we understand it at all..
    Nowadays their behaviour as based on their genetic programming can be, and quite often is, simulated though. Helps with the zapping of genes to test theories without going through endless hours of fiddling with tiny flies and bananana mush.. 😉

  57. Feynman himself would have been the first to point out that his diagrams were a method of calculation, not a description of underlying reality, which nobody as yet understands. He was thoroughly in the “Don’t speculate- calculate!” camp.

    And I just used particles as an example of something with no distinguishing characteristics at all, which still have separate existences. Even if they are only transient manifestations of something else. Any electron (which exists, or we imagine at least to exist) is in every way the same as another electron in this or a different calculation or observation. But we cannot from this say that all electrons are the same electron.

    If you like, I will prove this experimentally by switching on CRT televisions on opposite sides of the world and observing them simultaneously, while noting that one electron would not have time to get back and forth between the two TVs to do the “double duty” making the pictures appear, thanks to the speed of light limitation.

  58. I think Trek’s transporter was a fairly early decision. None of Jeffries’ designs for the Enterprise looked designed to land and, so far as I’m aware, nobody had even commissioned a shuttle when filming started.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *