Replicators and authenticity

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Replicators and authenticity

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-08-15 05:54am

In the Phillip K Dick novel, The Man in the High Castle, a couple characters have a discussion on authenticity and 'historicity' of objects.
Don’t you feel it?’ he kidded her. ‘The historicity?’

She said, ‘What is ‘historicity’?’

‘When a thing has history in it. Listen. One of those two Zippo lighters was in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s pocket when he was assassinated. And one wasn’t. One has historicity, a hell of a lot of it. As much as any object ever had. And one has nothing. Can you feel it?’ He nudged her. ‘You can’t. You can’t tell which is which. There’s no ‘mystical plasmic presence,’ no ‘aura’ around it.’

‘Gee,’ the girl said, awed. ‘Is that really true? That he had one of those on him that day?’

‘Sure. And I know which it is. You see my point. It’s all a big racket; they’re playing it on themselves. I mean, a gun goes through a famous battle, like the Meuse-Argonne, and it’s the same as if it hadn’t, unless you know. It’s in here.’ He tapped his head. ‘In the mind, not the gun.

‘I don’t believe either of those two lighters belonged to Franklin Roosevelt,’ the girl said.

Wyndam-Matson giggled. ‘That’s my point! I’d have to prove it to you with some sort of document. A paper of authenticity. And so it’s all a fake, a mass delusion. The paper proves its worth, not the object itself!
Now, when it comes to replicators, and the idea of antiques, how does such ideas work? If you can make an exact, perfect copy of the infamous item, does it take away that item's value? How do you verify that the item you display on your shelf is real and not a well replicated fake?

What does this mean for those who like antiques, and collect them? What does this mean for replicators and the variation of such items?

Do they have some sort of legal requirement to stamp, 'Replicated copy' on every knick knack that comes out of the device?

On another note, is this potentially why most people we see in the show have rather sparse homes, as most items, unless of sentimental value, or of valid use, are just recycled?

What does that mean for collectors like Kivas Fajo? How does he make sure he's not being swindled?

Discuss.
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Re: Replicators and authenticity

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-08-15 12:32pm

Doesn't ST (of the 24th century at least) have that quantum dating stuff that can tell when something was made, even if it's from the future? Presumably that or a similar tech could tell the difference between a replicated antique and a genuine one.
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Re: Replicators and authenticity

Post by B5B7 » 2018-08-15 12:47pm

Consider if you own a beautiful table. Do you value it because of who a previous owner was, or who created it, or do you value it for itself?
Would you rather own an extremely useful and beautiful table (even if it may be one of hundreds of copies) or an ugly rickety piece of crap that has a great providence? Usually the latter has value in monetary terms.
Of course there is more nuance to the situation. Items in a museum or statues or heritage properties have consensus cultural value or are of value to individuals. A seemingly worthless item (that can even be of mass manufacture), can with that particular example have sentimental value to its owner.
If the original and the copy are basically indistinguishable, then are they not the same essentially?
The great value of many pieces of art is an artifact of psychological and social processes.

To go off at a tangent, what value is your child - there are billions of others! But yours are special to you.

Authenticity of things has always been a grey area (claims of an item having belonged to a famous person for instance are often more a matter of faith), and with perfect replication it would be further devolved. It may not end up mattering.

To go on another tangent. Many books and scrolls created in ancient societies (Rome, Greece, Egypt, etc) no longer exist. Now if one could obtain copies of the texts of those items would it matter to you that they are not originals but only copies? Or is the value in what the original portrayed (in the case of books text and images)?
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Re: Replicators and authenticity

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-08-15 01:49pm

Authenticity has already been an issue; there have been forgers of fine furniture since the 19th century at the very least, if not earlier. Furniture makers around the turn of the 18th-19th were complaining about East Indiamen taking nice pieces to Asia and then bringing back cheaply made counterfeits en masse.

So for some objects at least, there are already well attested methods to prove authenticity-- furniture conservators capable of reading tool marks and layers of finish and whatnot, experts who assess the craftsmanship and details to discern the maker, and of course provenance as in "this piece belonged to this family for yea many years, who bought it from yea rich person who inherited it from their parents, who bought it from this dealer in this city, who bought it from Ye Olde Family..."

So would replicators be able of reproducing something to THIS level of authenticity? Would layers of shellac, wax, varnish and accumulated crud be distinguishable in the replicated product?

Even if they were-- the pieces would still lack attestation and provenance. Now they could certainly be passed off to casual buyers and the general public at lower prices ("here's this lovely 20th Century table from IKEA, a wonderful little piece, it would look so nice in your Federation standard issue housing unit..."), but people familiar with genuine antiques probably wouldn't be as easily taken in.

Of course, by the Trek era, *our* period is 'antique' as I noted. But the same rules will still apply, for people that care about such things.
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Re: Replicators and authenticity

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-08-15 07:09pm

We know as a canon fact that replicators cause single bit errors in things replicated, not enough to interfare with the function of the item but enough to be detectble to point that you at least narrow down if not outright indentify the race who made the replicator based on the pattern of those errors.

Sure your average UFP probably wouldn't have the tech to scan for those but specialist would.
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Re: Replicators and authenticity

Post by Q99 » 2018-08-18 10:14am

My impression is that, based on how the food is talked about, one of the problems is that replicated stuff is the exact same. There's none of the little variations that normally occur naturally. Picard's not just having tea, earl grey, hot, he's having literally the same cup of tea without variation. Which is great for many things, but not where you want variation.

Does this make it as good as the original one it was patterned off of? Sure. But you'll never run into one that's a little better or a little worse. Imagine if you went to another starbase and you sat at a wooden desk and it had the exact same wood pattern, and then you go to the next office, and ditto. They're all fine desks, great ones even, but a replicated item lacks novelty.

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Re: Replicators and authenticity

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-08-20 03:00pm

You could have slightly different patterns, slightly different versions of Earl Grey, or desks, or whatever, I suppose. Also, replicator glitches could occur.
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Re: Replicators and authenticity

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-08-20 03:56pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-08-20 03:00pm
You could have slightly different patterns, slightly different versions of Earl Grey, or desks, or whatever, I suppose. Also, replicator glitches could occur.
well as I stated before replicator glitches are canon and you even trace the race who made the replicator based on the pattern of those clitches, for the story of the episode a 100% perfect copy wouldn't work as it hinges on Data discovering the isolinear chips on Geordi's shuttle were replicated and not ones orginally installed in it.
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Re: Replicators and authenticity

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-08-20 07:05pm

Lord Revan wrote:
2018-08-20 03:56pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-08-20 03:00pm
You could have slightly different patterns, slightly different versions of Earl Grey, or desks, or whatever, I suppose. Also, replicator glitches could occur.
well as I stated before replicator glitches are canon and you even trace the race who made the replicator based on the pattern of those clitches, for the story of the episode a 100% perfect copy wouldn't work as it hinges on Data discovering the isolinear chips on Geordi's shuttle were replicated and not ones orginally installed in it.
Ghetto edit:the episode in question is "The Mind's Eye" and the replicated chips are a major clue that reveals that Geordi was kidnapped and did not go to Risa as he claimed.
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Re: Replicators and authenticity

Post by Q99 » 2018-08-24 11:29pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-08-20 03:00pm
You could have slightly different patterns, slightly different versions of Earl Grey, or desks, or whatever, I suppose. Also, replicator glitches could occur.
I wonder how much space replicator patterns store... there may be more focus on breadth rather than depth, especially when catering to large crews.


Having a bunch of patterns of one thing sounds good for a restaurant or a personal replicator at home (which may store only a few at a time), but a ship computer, even though it has the capacity, probably has storing thousands and thousands of options as a higher priority rather than going into depth on any of them- and one can imagine the fights of "why does this one have 6 patterns while my fav only has 2!".

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Re: Replicators and authenticity

Post by Imperial528 » 2018-08-24 11:35pm

Given what replicators are capable of, a meager sacrifice of convenience could go a long ways towards variety. Say, make the pattern of an object right before it's finished cooking, if possible, like how some breads keep cooking after being removed from the oven.

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Re: Replicators and authenticity

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-08-25 02:40pm

Q99 wrote:
2018-08-24 11:29pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-08-20 03:00pm
You could have slightly different patterns, slightly different versions of Earl Grey, or desks, or whatever, I suppose. Also, replicator glitches could occur.
I wonder how much space replicator patterns store... there may be more focus on breadth rather than depth, especially when catering to large crews.


Having a bunch of patterns of one thing sounds good for a restaurant or a personal replicator at home (which may store only a few at a time), but a ship computer, even though it has the capacity, probably has storing thousands and thousands of options as a higher priority rather than going into depth on any of them- and one can imagine the fights of "why does this one have 6 patterns while my fav only has 2!".
In an early episode of Voyager, tom Paris asks the replicator for "tomato soup" and is told there are (IIRC) 14 different varieties available, and that's on a small ship with limited resources and a small crew. I don't think different replicator patterns take up that much room - not like transporter patterns, where in a DS9 episode (Our Man Bashir) they needed the entire station's computer capacity to store 4 peoples transporter pattern long-term.
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Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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Re: Replicators and authenticity

Post by Q99 » 2018-08-28 05:06pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-08-25 02:40pm
In an early episode of Voyager, tom Paris asks the replicator for "tomato soup" and is told there are (IIRC) 14 different varieties available, and that's on a small ship with limited resources and a small crew. I don't think different replicator patterns take up that much room - not like transporter patterns, where in a DS9 episode (Our Man Bashir) they needed the entire station's computer capacity to store 4 peoples transporter pattern long-term.
Voyager has limited resources but two latest-gen Starfleet computer cores (Galaxies have 3, Sovereigns also, oddly, have 2 despite being a larger ship. I believe the Defiant has one)- and fourteen isn't a lot when you're talking "This is tomato basil. This is spicy tomato. This is cream of tomato. This is Gazpacho. This is tomato bread soup. This is tomato bisque." etc.. A quick google comes up with an article with 18 different recipes from a single source. Voyager has less than that single article.

Such a small number, indeed, tells me that they're almost certainly not going to have even four of each tomato soup, which also says they're not going to have a lot of variety of stuff less common than tomato soup.

Sure, a big station and such may have more, and it's still not near as much as transporter patterns, but that does suggest the 'breadth first,' approach and if you want a dozen patterns of the same thing, that's probably unusual outside of a major starbase or such. And on planet, I'm guessing they'd swap out patterns regularly rather than have the whole variety pre-loaded.

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Re: Replicators and authenticity

Post by EnterpriseSovereign » 2018-09-01 01:34pm

I believe there was an obscure DS9 novel that mentioned this in passing, that part of the selling point of a particular set of items in a shipping container was that they were not replicated. As a result, they had to be lugged around the old-fashioned way instead of by transporter.

The problem with the "Quantum dating" thing is that it makes no sense whatsoever, it's never explained how it's supposed to determine a particular item's time of origin.
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