The appeals of Nozick's transformation machine

Nozick's "transformation machine" is, to my mind, even more provocative than the experience machine.

Suppose the TM can, Matrix-style, upload the entire literature of a given field to your brain. Who among us would refuse?

To be sure, there's a certain pleasure in learning a discipline, but it is slow and often frustrating, and the opportunity costs are great. Imagine how much more rewarding one's reflections would be if one were not just well-read, but fully read.

Other cases are even easier. The process of learning a language is even less rewarding; the process of learning culinary knife skills is positively painful. Would we not infinitely prefer to have such knowledge as quickly as possible?

Nozick's concern is that the TM saps something vital about what it means to be like us. "[I]f the transformation machine could be used indefinitely often... there would remain no limits we need to strain against or try to transcend. Would there be anything left to do?" (44)

Certainly. Brains brimming with the sum of human knowledge doesn't mean there aren't new discoveries to make, or records to set, or inventions to invent. We are still limited by biology (he stipulates the TM can only transform us "compatible with our staying us") and this presents any number of boundaries to how much we can accomplish in a day or a lifetime.

All that the transformation machine offers is a means to avoid the messy process of getting there. And that has its appeals.