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Nov 7, 2003, 1:48:40 PM11/7/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

Hi,

----- Original Message -----

From: "David Kwinter" <da...@kwinter.ca>

> > I mean the absolutely exact same David Kwinter or Eric Cavalcanti as

> was the moment before.

I agree that a moment from now there will be a number of exactly

equal copies. Nevertheless, I am sure I will only experience being

one of them, so this is what I mean by ' me ' - the actual experiences

I will have. Maybe some copy of me will win the lottery every time

I play, but that does not give me reason to spend my money on it. I

still believe that the probability that 'I' win is 1/10^6, even if on a

multiverse sense, the probability that at least one copy of me wins is 1.

The same should be the case with death if we assume a materialistic

position.

> > What do you mean by *entirely equal*?

> >

> > ----- Original Message -----

> > From: "David Kwinter" <da...@kwinter.ca>

> > To: >

> > Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2003 5:19 AM

> > Subject: Re: Quantum accident survivor

> >

> >

> >> On Tuesday, November 4, 2003, at 10:47 AM, Eric Cavalcanti wrote:

> >>>

> >>> Let me stress this point: *I am, for all practical purposes,

> >>> one and only one specific configuration of atoms in a

> >>> specific universe. I could never say that ' I ' is ALL the

> >>> copies, since I NEVER experience what the other copies

> >>> experience. The other copies are just similar

> >>> configurations of atoms in other universes, which shared

> >>> the same history, prior to a given point in time.*

>>

>>

> >> I would consider these other copies entirely equal to myself IF AND

> >> ONLY IF they are succeeding RSSA observer-moments.

> >>

> >>

> >>

> >> Glossary references : )

> >>

> >> RSSA - The Relative Self-Sampling Assumption, which says that you

> >> should consider your next observer-moment to be randomly sampled

> >> from among all

> >> observer-moments which come immediately after your current

> >> observer-moment

> >> and belong to the same observer.

> >>

> > In a materialistic framework, ' I ' am a bunch of atoms. These atoms

> > happen to constitute a system that has self-referential qualities that

> > we call consciousness. If it happened that these atoms temporarily

> > (like in a coma or anesthesy) or permanently (death) lose this quality,

> > so will ' I '.

>

> I respectfully disagree - parallel universes are equally REAL- you will

> still be you! Quantum branches stem from the same exact atoms in the

> versions of us that die in tons of possible accidents everyday.

I believe that they do in fact exist, and that they do stem from the same

atoms. But they are not 'me', in the sense that I don't see through their

eyes. That's what matters when talking about Immortality. We want to

know if WE are immortal - i.e., if our first-person experience is eternal

- not if SOME copy of us will survive.

What QTI assumes is that ' I ' cannot be one of the dead copies - i.e.,

that the dead copies should be excluded from the sampling pool. But

that is a too strong assumption, which I haven't seen any justification for.

Surely my next observer-moment should be alive or it would not be an

observer. But what makes us believe that 'we' - our first-person

individuality - must necessarily have a next observer-moment in the first

place? That is the assumption that does not seem well-based.

If non-observing states are prohibited, then we should never expect to

be in a coma, or anesthesized, for instance. Whenever you would be

submitted to a surgery, you would see that the doctor somehow failed

to apply the anesthesy correctly, and you would have a *very* conscious

experience.

-Eric.

Nov 7, 2003, 2:30:45 PM11/7/03

to Eric Cavalcanti, everyth...@eskimo.com

I still think that's you, especially if you just died and they lived

on.. but now we're just beating a dead horse.

> That's what matters when talking about Immortality. We want to

> know if WE are immortal - i.e., if our first-person experience is

> eternal

> - not if SOME copy of us will survive.

> What QTI assumes is that ' I ' cannot be one of the dead copies - i.e.,

> that the dead copies should be excluded from the sampling pool. But

> that is a too strong assumption, which I haven't seen any

> justification for.

> Surely my next observer-moment should be alive or it would not be an

> observer. But what makes us believe that 'we' - our first-person

> individuality - must necessarily have a next observer-moment in the

> first

> place? That is the assumption that does not seem well-based.

>

> If non-observing states are prohibited, then we should never expect to

> be in a coma, or anesthesized, for instance. Whenever you would be

> submitted to a surgery, you would see that the doctor somehow failed

> to apply the anesthesy correctly, and you would have a *very* conscious

> experience.

>

> -Eric.

>

I think that in the case of anesthesia or any other unconscious state

the true or false outcome of whether we regain consciousness with the

passage of time dictates the sampling pool. The collective fates of the

parallel copies of me under anesthesia aren't stricken from the sample

because we must "necessarily have a next observer-moment" - however

this is a concept which I am uncertain about.

Nov 7, 2003, 2:36:17 PM11/7/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

Eric Cavalcanti wrote:

> From: "David Kwinter" <da...@kwinter.ca>

>

>

> > > I mean the absolutely exact same David Kwinter or Eric Cavalcanti as

> > was the moment before.

>

> I agree that a moment from now there will be a number of exactly

>equal copies. Nevertheless, I am sure I will only experience being

>one of them, so this is what I mean by ' me ' - the actual experiences

>I will have. Maybe some copy of me will win the lottery every time

>I play, but that does not give me reason to spend my money on it. I

>still believe that the probability that 'I' win is 1/10^6, even if on a

> multiverse sense, the probability that at least one copy of me wins is 1.

>The same should be the case with death if we assume a materialistic

>position.

But you should no more expect to end up in a branch where you died than in a

branch where you were never born in the first place. Consider, instead of a

branching multiverse, a Star-Trek-style transporter/duplicator in a single

universe, which can deconstruct you and reconstruct exact copies

atom-by-atom in distant locations (assuming the error introduced by the

uncertainty principle is too small to make a difference--if you don't want

to grant that, you could also assume this is all happening within a

deterministic computer simulation and that you are really an A.I.). To use

Bruno Marchal's example, suppose this duplicator recreates two identical

copies of you, one in Washington and one in Moscow. As you step into the

chamber, if you believe continuity of consciousness is "real" in some sense

and that it's meaningful to talk about the probabilities of different

possible next experiences, it would probably make sense to predict from a

first-person-point of view that you have about a 50% chance of finding

yourself in Moscow and a 50% chance of finding yourself in Washington.

On the other hand, suppose only a single reconstruction will be performed in

Washington--then by the same logic, you would probably predict the

probability of finding yourself in Washington is close to 100%, barring a

freak accident. OK, so now go back to the scenario where you're supposed to

be recreated in both Washington and Moscow, except assume that at the last

moment there's a power failure in Moscow and the recreator machine fails to

activate. Surely this is no different from the scenario where you were only

supposed to be recreated in Washington--the fact that they *intended* to

duplicate you in Moscow shouldn't make any difference, all that matters is

that they didn't. But now look at another variation on the scenario, where

the Moscow machine malfunctions and recreates your body missing the head. I

don't think it makes sense to say you have a 50% chance of being "killed" in

this scenario--your brain is where your consciousness comes from, and since

it wasn't duplicated this is really no different from the scenario where the

Moscow machine failed to activate entirely. In fact, any malfunction in the

Moscow machine which leads to a duplicate that permanently lacks

consciousness should be treated the same way as a scenario where I was only

supposed to be recreated in Washington, in terms of the subjective

probabilities. Extending this to the idea of natural duplication due to

different branches of a splitting multiverse, the probability should always

be 100% that my next experience is one of a universe where I have not been

killed.

The big assumption here, as I said earlier, is that there is some sort of

"objective" truth about continuity of consciousness and subjective

probabilities, that it's not just a bunch of isolated observer-moments who

just have an illusion of a consciousness which changes over time due to

memories and expectations. See my thread on "3 possible views of

'consciousness'" here:

http://www.escribe.com/science/theory/m2358.html

>If non-observing states are prohibited, then we should never expect to

>be in a coma, or anesthesized, for instance. Whenever you would be

>submitted to a surgery, you would see that the doctor somehow failed

>to apply the anesthesy correctly, and you would have a *very* conscious

>experience.

>

I don't see any justification for that. Why can't your "next"

observer-moment after the anesthesia begins to take effect be of waking up

hours later? That's a lot what waking up from dreamless unconsciousness

feels like, subjectively.

Jesse

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Nov 7, 2003, 3:22:25 PM11/7/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

Jesse Mazer writes:

> OK, so now go back to the scenario where you're supposed to

> be recreated in both Washington and Moscow, except assume that at the last

> moment there's a power failure in Moscow and the recreator machine fails to

> activate. Surely this is no different from the scenario where you were only

> supposed to be recreated in Washington--the fact that they *intended* to

> duplicate you in Moscow shouldn't make any difference, all that matters is

> that they didn't....> OK, so now go back to the scenario where you're supposed to

> be recreated in both Washington and Moscow, except assume that at the last

> moment there's a power failure in Moscow and the recreator machine fails to

> activate. Surely this is no different from the scenario where you were only

> supposed to be recreated in Washington--the fact that they *intended* to

> duplicate you in Moscow shouldn't make any difference, all that matters is

> Extending this to the idea of natural duplication due to

> different branches of a splitting multiverse, the probability should always

> be 100% that my next experience is one of a universe where I have not been

> killed.

I question this analogy. There is an important numerical distinction

between duplication by matter recreation and by quantum splitting. The

former increases your measure, while the latter does not.

In the case of successful duplication, your measure doubles. If the

duplication fails and you end up with only one copy, your measure stays

the same. But if you flip a quantum coin and end up in two branches,

your measure is constant. If you die in one of the branches, your

measure is halved.

Therefore I don't think you can take conclusions from the one case and

apply them to the other. You wouldn't say that failing to double your

money is the same as halving it.

Measure is important. It is what guides our life every day.

We constantly make decisions so as to maximize the measure of good

outcomes, as nearly as we can judge. I don't think we can neglect it

in these thought experiments.

Hal

Nov 7, 2003, 3:51:33 PM11/7/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

Hal Finney wrote:

What type of "measure" are you talking about? I had gotten the impression

reading this list that the measure on "everything", however it's

defined--all possible computations, for example--was an open question, and

that different TOEs might disagree. Are you talking about a type of measure

specific to the MWI of quantum mechanics? I thought there was supposed to be

a problem with this due to the "no preferred basis" problem.

In any case, if there is some sort of theory that would give objective

truths about first-person probabilities in splitting experiments (and I'm

not sure if you believe in continuity of consciousness or that such a theory

is out there waiting to be found), then if first-person probabilities

disagree with "measure", however it's defined, I think most people would

care more about maximizing the first-person probabilities of good outcomes

as opposed to measure. The main reason to care about measure would be for

altruistic reasons, that you don't want friends and families to have a high

probability of suffering because they see you die, but even this could be

stated in terms of maximizing the subjective probability of happy outcomes

for other people.

Jesse Mazer

_________________________________________________________________

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Nov 7, 2003, 5:38:58 PM11/7/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

Jesse Mazer wrote:

> Hal Finney wrote:

> >Measure is important. It is what guides our life every day.

> >We constantly make decisions so as to maximize the measure of good

> >outcomes, as nearly as we can judge. I don't think we can neglect it

> >in these thought experiments.

>

> What type of "measure" are you talking about? I had gotten the impression

> reading this list that the measure on "everything", however it's

> defined--all possible computations, for example--was an open question, and

> that different TOEs might disagree.

> Hal Finney wrote:

> >Measure is important. It is what guides our life every day.

> >We constantly make decisions so as to maximize the measure of good

> >outcomes, as nearly as we can judge. I don't think we can neglect it

> >in these thought experiments.

>

> What type of "measure" are you talking about? I had gotten the impression

> reading this list that the measure on "everything", however it's

> defined--all possible computations, for example--was an open question, and

> that different TOEs might disagree.

That's true, but the important point is to consider why we are searching

for a measure, or why we even think there might be a measure that is

relevant to our experience.

The reason is because our own existence is not chaotic, but ordered.

Presumably there are observers who see universes that are much more

chaotic than ours, universes where there are no natural laws but the

observers just manage to hang together somehow. Why do we see a lawful

universe?

And in our own universe, why do more probable things happen more often

than less probable ones? It's not tautological! Remember our discussion

of the magical universe where dice always come up "6" but everything

else works OK. Why don't we live in one of those universes?

The same thing happens in the MWI. If you send almost-vertically-

polarized photons through a vertical polarizer then 99 times out of 100

they go through. Each time, the universe splits into two branches.

After 100 photons, only one universe in 2^100 of them will see the

right statistics. By sheer numbers of universes, almost all of them

will see about 50% go through. Why aren't we in one of those universes?

The answer to all of these puzzles must be that fundamentally, some

universes are more likely to be experienced than others. This is the

concept which we refer to as measure. It is a weighting factor that

somehow must make some universes more important in the grand scheme

of things.

You are right that there are many different ideas about how measure works

and how it could apply, in both the MWI and in the larger multiverse.

But this uncertainty doesn't mean that we can reject or ignore the concept

of measure. Its reality is forced upon us by every observation we make.

> Are you talking about a type of measure

> specific to the MWI of quantum mechanics? I thought there was supposed to be

> a problem with this due to the "no preferred basis" problem.

The proper manner for incorporating measure into the MWI is indeed an

open question at this point. The simplest is to just introduce it ad

hoc and define the measure of a branch as the square of its amplitude.

Others claim that they can derive this from more elementary and/or

obvious assumptions. But it's got to be there.

> In any case, if there is some sort of theory that would give objective

> truths about first-person probabilities in splitting experiments (and I'm

> not sure if you believe in continuity of consciousness or that such a theory

> is out there waiting to be found),

Well, I do believe in continuity of consciousness, modulo the issues

of measure. That is, I think some continuations would be more likely to

be experienced than others. For example, if you started up 9 computers

each running one copy of me (all running the same program so they stay

in sync), and one computer running a different copy of me, my current

theory is that I would expect to experience the first version with 90%

probability.

However I don't see any way at this point to test this model.

> then if first-person probabilities

> disagree with "measure", however it's defined, I think most people would

> care more about maximizing the first-person probabilities of good outcomes

> as opposed to measure.

Our experiences every day prove that first person probabilities do

correspond to measure, but that is because we define measure to correspond

to what we experience. That is where the amplitude-squared formula for

probability came from in QM; it is there to make theory match experience.

> The main reason to care about measure would be for

> altruistic reasons, that you don't want friends and families to have a high

> probability of suffering because they see you die, but even this could be

> stated in terms of maximizing the subjective probability of happy outcomes

> for other people.

It seems that for QS to be an attractive option, you have to believe

that measure applies all the time, except when you die. What is the

justification for making an exception, when all the rest of the time

you act as if you believe in measure? You would take a good bet rather

than a bad bet, but if your death is involved you'll stop caring?

Hal

Nov 8, 2003, 9:51:33 AM11/8/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

At 14:36 07/11/03 -0800, Hal Finney wrote:

snip

>Well, I do believe in continuity of consciousness, modulo the issues

>of measure. That is, I think some continuations would be more likely to

>be experienced than others. For example, if you started up 9 computers

>each running one copy of me (all running the same program so they stay

>in sync), and one computer running a different copy of me, my current

>theory is that I would expect to experience the first version with 90%

>probability.

Almost OK, but perhaps false if you put *the measure* on the (infinite)

computations going through those states. I mean, if the 9 computers

running one copy of you just stop (in some absolute way I ask you to

conceive for

the benefit of the argument), and if the one computer running the

different copy, instead of stopping, is multiplied eventually into many

self-distinguishable copies of you, then putting the measure on the

histories should

make you expect to experience (and memorized) the second version more probably.

It is the idea I like to summarize in the following diagram:

\ / | |

\ / | |

\/ = | |

| | |

| | |

That is, it is like a "future" bifurcation enhances your present measure.

It is why I think comp confirms Deutsch idea that QM branching is really

QM differentiation. What do you think? I mean, do you conceive that the

measure could be put only on the "maximal" possible computations?

Bruno

Bruno

Nov 8, 2003, 12:40:55 PM11/8/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

My message 6/11 to Alberto Gómez seems not to have gone through.

I send it again. Apology for those who did receive it.

B.

At 09:24 06/11/03 +0100, Alberto Gómez wrote:

For me there is no bigger step between to wonder about how conscience

arises from a universe made by atoms in a Newtonian universe, particles

in a quantum universe, quarks in a quantum relativistic universe and

finally, superstring/n-branes in a 11 dimensional universe for one side

and, on the other side, to wonder about how SAS in a complex enough

mathematical structure can have a sense of conscience.

BM: I agree. It is a genuine point.

[SNIP]

AG:That must be true either in our "physical"

world or the world of a geometrical figure in a n-dimensional spacetime,

or in a computer simulation defined by a complex enough algorithm (These

three alternative ways of describing universes may be isomorphic, being

the first a particular case or not. The computability of our universe

doesn't matter for this question).

BM:I disagree, because if you take the comp. hyp. seriously enough

the physical should emerge as some precise modality from an

inside view of Arithmetical Truth. See UDA ref in Hal Finney's post.

AG:So the mathematical existence, when SAS are possible inside the

mathematical formulation, implies existence (the expression "physical

existence" may be a redundancy)

BM:Same remark. What you say is not only true, but with comp it is

quasi-constructively true so that you can extract the logic and probability

"physical rules" in computer science (even in computer's computer science).

making the comp. hyp. popper-falsifiable.

AG:But, for these mathematical descriptions to exist, it is necessary the

existence of being with a higher dimensionality and intelligence that

formulate these mathematical descriptions? That is: every mathematical

object does exist outside of any conscience? The issue is not to

question that "mathematical existence (with SAS) implies physical

existence", (according with the above arguments it is equivalent). The

question is the mathematical existence itself.

BM:Now, it is a fact, the failure of logicism, that you cannot define integers

without implicitely postulating them. So Arithmetical existence is a

quasi necessary departure reality. It is big and not unifiable by any

axiomatisable theory (by Godel).

(axiomatizable theory = theory such that you can verify algorithmically

the proofs of the theorems)

I refer often to Arithmetical Realism AR; and it constitutes 1/3 of

the computationalist hypothesis, alias the comp. hyp., alias COMP:

COMP = AR + CT + YD (Yes, more acronyms, sorry!)

AR = Arithmetical Realism (cf also the "Hardy post")

CT = Church Thesis

YD = (I propose) the "Yes Doctor", It is the belief that you can be

decomposed into part such that you don't experience anything when

those parts are substituted by functionnaly equivalent digital parts.

It makes possible to give sense saying yes to a surgeon who propose

you some artificial substitution of your body. With COMP you can justify

why this needs an irreductible act of faith (the consistency of

COMP entails the consistency of the negation of COMP, this is akin

to Godel's second incompleteness theorem.

It has nothing to do with the hypothesis that there is a physical universe

which would be either the running or the output of a computer program.

Hal, with COMP the "identity problem" is tackled by the venerable old

computer science/logic approach to self-reference (with the result by Godel,

Lob, Solovay, build on Kleene, Turing, Post etc...).

Bruno

I send it again. Apology for those who did receive it.

B.

At 09:24 06/11/03 +0100, Alberto Gómez wrote:

For me there is no bigger step between to wonder about how conscience

arises from a universe made by atoms in a Newtonian universe, particles

in a quantum universe, quarks in a quantum relativistic universe and

finally, superstring/n-branes in a 11 dimensional universe for one side

and, on the other side, to wonder about how SAS in a complex enough

mathematical structure can have a sense of conscience.

BM: I agree. It is a genuine point.

[SNIP]

AG:That must be true either in our "physical"

world or the world of a geometrical figure in a n-dimensional spacetime,

or in a computer simulation defined by a complex enough algorithm (These

three alternative ways of describing universes may be isomorphic, being

the first a particular case or not. The computability of our universe

doesn't matter for this question).

BM:I disagree, because if you take the comp. hyp. seriously enough

the physical should emerge as some precise modality from an

inside view of Arithmetical Truth. See UDA ref in Hal Finney's post.

AG:So the mathematical existence, when SAS are possible inside the

mathematical formulation, implies existence (the expression "physical

existence" may be a redundancy)

BM:Same remark. What you say is not only true, but with comp it is

quasi-constructively true so that you can extract the logic and probability

"physical rules" in computer science (even in computer's computer science).

making the comp. hyp. popper-falsifiable.

AG:But, for these mathematical descriptions to exist, it is necessary the

existence of being with a higher dimensionality and intelligence that

formulate these mathematical descriptions? That is: every mathematical

object does exist outside of any conscience? The issue is not to

question that "mathematical existence (with SAS) implies physical

existence", (according with the above arguments it is equivalent). The

question is the mathematical existence itself.

BM:Now, it is a fact, the failure of logicism, that you cannot define integers

without implicitely postulating them. So Arithmetical existence is a

quasi necessary departure reality. It is big and not unifiable by any

axiomatisable theory (by Godel).

(axiomatizable theory = theory such that you can verify algorithmically

the proofs of the theorems)

I refer often to Arithmetical Realism AR; and it constitutes 1/3 of

the computationalist hypothesis, alias the comp. hyp., alias COMP:

COMP = AR + CT + YD (Yes, more acronyms, sorry!)

AR = Arithmetical Realism (cf also the "Hardy post")

CT = Church Thesis

YD = (I propose) the "Yes Doctor", It is the belief that you can be

decomposed into part such that you don't experience anything when

those parts are substituted by functionnaly equivalent digital parts.

It makes possible to give sense saying yes to a surgeon who propose

you some artificial substitution of your body. With COMP you can justify

why this needs an irreductible act of faith (the consistency of

COMP entails the consistency of the negation of COMP, this is akin

to Godel's second incompleteness theorem.

It has nothing to do with the hypothesis that there is a physical universe

which would be either the running or the output of a computer program.

Hal, with COMP the "identity problem" is tackled by the venerable old

computer science/logic approach to self-reference (with the result by Godel,

Lob, Solovay, build on Kleene, Turing, Post etc...).

Bruno

Nov 8, 2003, 12:52:55 PM11/8/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

I don't quite agree with that argument, even though I was intrigued in the

first

read. The reason is similar to those exposed by Hal finney in his reply to

this

post. These copies are not copies made by the branching of MWI.

In fact, I believe that I will never experience being one of those copies.

Let me

see if I can support that:

Suppose you don't destroy the original, but merely make the copies (and this

also answers the later post from someone with the address

log...@adinet.com.uy). If a copy of me is made *in my own universe*, I

don't

expect to have the experiences of the copies. Suppose I sit on this copy

machine

in New York, and the information of the position and velocities (within

quantum uncertainty) of all particles in my body is copied. Suppose, for the

sake of the

argument, that the mere retrieval of this information should pose no problem

to

me. It should me harmless.

This information then travels by wire from the reader to the reproducer. An

almost

perfect copy of me is made in Paris. Should I, in that moment, expect to

have

the first-person 50% probability of suddenly seeing the eiffel tower? I

don't think

anyone would support that. And in that case, you shouldn't support the

notion that

you could ever be a copy of yourself, since you could always NOT destroy the

original in your example. Whenever you did, the original would have the

first-person experience of dying, i.e., it would never be conscious again.

This example is similar to that of the Schwarzenegger movie where he had a

clone of himself made. Of course the making of the clone has no implication

in the original person's experiences whatsoever. For instance, if the bad

guy in the movie

offered you the opportunity of being cloned and win 1 million dollars, but

killing the original (you), would you accept it? Why or why not? The answer

to this question is the only thing that matters to us when talking about

Immortality.

> The big assumption here, as I said earlier, is that there is some sort of

> "objective" truth about continuity of consciousness and subjective

> probabilities, that it's not just a bunch of isolated observer-moments who

> just have an illusion of a consciousness which changes over time due to

> memories and expectations. See my thread on "3 possible views of

> 'consciousness'" here:

>

> http://www.escribe.com/science/theory/m2358.html

>

> >If non-observing states are prohibited, then we should never expect to

> >be in a coma, or anesthesized, for instance. Whenever you would be

> >submitted to a surgery, you would see that the doctor somehow failed

> >to apply the anesthesy correctly, and you would have a *very* conscious

> >experience.

> >

>

> I don't see any justification for that. Why can't your "next"

> observer-moment after the anesthesia begins to take effect be of waking up

> hours later? That's a lot what waking up from dreamless unconsciousness

> feels like, subjectively.

What I was saying was that the usual QI argument seems to imply that there

is

an external consciousness which cannot be definitely unconscious. But if

unconsciousness was prohibited somehow, the most probable thing was that you

would never be unconscious, since there are always universes where you never

are. But this is a very loose argument, and does not matter to the main

discussion.

-Eric.

Nov 8, 2003, 1:27:50 PM11/8/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com, everyth...@eskimo.com

Readers of this list interested in issues of personal identity in the

face of replication

might enjoy the Sci-Fi novel "Kiln People" by David Brin.

face of replication

might enjoy the Sci-Fi novel "Kiln People" by David Brin.

In the novel, a technology

has been discovered that allows a person's "soul standing wave" (sic) to

be copied into

a kind of bio-engineered clay substance (molded into a shape like you

and animated

by some kind of enzyme-battery energy store that gives it about a day or

two of "life"

before expiry. ) These "ditto people" come in different qualities (more

expensive to

get a super-smart, super-sensitive version of yourself, cheap to get a

worker-droid

rough copy with fuzzy thinking capabilities and dulled senses.) The

novel, apart from

being a hard-boiled detective yarn in this world, explores issues of

identity,

and how social conventions and rights and responsibilities change with

the presence

of replication of personalities.

Brin's one of the "good writer" sci-fi writers.

Nov 9, 2003, 2:22:12 PM11/9/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

Eric Cavalcanti, <er...@fis.puc-rio.br>, writes:

> Suppose I sit on this copy machine in New York, and the information of the

> position and velocities (within quantum uncertainty) of all particles in

> my body is copied. Suppose, for the sake of the argument, that the mere

> retrieval of this information should pose no problem to me. It should

> me harmless. This information then travels by wire from the reader to

> the reproducer. An almost perfect copy of me is made in Paris. Should

> I, in that moment, expect to have the first-person 50% probability of

> suddenly seeing the eiffel tower? I don't think anyone would support that.

> Suppose I sit on this copy machine in New York, and the information of the

> position and velocities (within quantum uncertainty) of all particles in

> my body is copied. Suppose, for the sake of the argument, that the mere

> retrieval of this information should pose no problem to me. It should

> me harmless. This information then travels by wire from the reader to

> the reproducer. An almost perfect copy of me is made in Paris. Should

> I, in that moment, expect to have the first-person 50% probability of

> suddenly seeing the eiffel tower? I don't think anyone would support that.

I think your argument is valid, that this experiment is indeed the same

as stepping into a destructive duplication machine and having copies

made in two places.

The only place I think you're wrong is in the last sentence. In fact,

I think many people here would in fact "support that", i.e. they would

expect to face a 50% chance of being in the two places.

I have some subtle issues with this expectation which I will explain at

another time, but broadly speaking I would expect that if a copy were

made of me, and that copy were started up, I would in fact experience

a branching of my experience. If I were about to be copied and I knew

that the copy was going to be started up in Paris, I would expect to

experience the two futures equally.

Others who accept the destructive-double-copy experiment would presumably

agree with this basic analysis.

And for the record, my reservation is that it might be psychologically

different to have two different futures for certain than to have two

futures in two different branches of the multiverse. It seems to me that

this follows from the ASSA, which I provisionally accept at present.

It's hard to say what the perceptual difference will be, but it seems

like there ought to be one.

Hal

Nov 10, 2003, 2:41:41 AM11/10/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

I'm trying to define "identity"...

Let's write x~y if SAS's x and y (possibly in different universes) have

the same identity. I propose that this relation must be reflexive,

symmetric and transitive. This neatly partitions all SAS's into

equivalence classes, and we have no ambiguity working out whether any

two SAS's across the multi-verse have the same identity.

Consider an SAS x that splits into x1, x2 (in child universes under

MWI). We assume x~x1 and x~x2. By symmetry and transitivity we deduce

x1~x2. So this definition of identity is maintained across independent

child universes.

This is at odds with the following concept of identity...

> I am, for all practical purposes, one

> and only one specific configuration of atoms in a specific

> universe. I could never say that ' I ' is ALL the copies, since I

> NEVER experience what the other copies experience

It seems necessary to distinguish between a definition of identity and

the set of memories within an SAS at a given moment.

Is it possible that over long periods of time, the environment can

affect an SAS to such an extent that SAS's in different universe that

are suppose to have the same identity actually have very little in

common?

What happens if we "splice" two SAS's (including their memories)?

It seems to me that the concept of identity is not fundamental to

physics. It's useful for classification purposes as long as one doesn't

stretch it too far and expose its lack of precision.

This reminds me of the problem of defining the word "species". Although

a useful concept for zoologists it is not well defined. For example

there are cases where (animals in region) A can mate with B, B can mate

with C, but A can't mate with C.

- David

Nov 10, 2003, 6:06:45 AM11/10/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

Hi,

> > Suppose I sit on this copy machine in New York, and the information of

the

> > position and velocities (within quantum uncertainty) of all particles in

> > my body is copied. Suppose, for the sake of the argument, that the mere

> > retrieval of this information should pose no problem to me. It should

> > me harmless. This information then travels by wire from the reader to

> > the reproducer. An almost perfect copy of me is made in Paris. Should

> > I, in that moment, expect to have the first-person 50% probability of

> > suddenly seeing the eiffel tower? I don't think anyone would support

that.

>

> I think your argument is valid, that this experiment is indeed the same

> as stepping into a destructive duplication machine and having copies

> made in two places.

OK...

> The only place I think you're wrong is in the last sentence. In fact,

> I think many people here would in fact "support that", i.e. they would

> expect to face a 50% chance of being in the two places.

I wouldn't know. That seems too weird an expectation. But let me try to

think about that...

> I have some subtle issues with this expectation which I will explain at

> another time, but broadly speaking I would expect that if a copy were

> made of me, and that copy were started up, I would in fact experience

> a branching of my experience. If I were about to be copied and I knew

> that the copy was going to be started up in Paris, I would expect to

> experience the two futures equally.

>

> Others who accept the destructive-double-copy experiment would

> presumably agree with this basic analysis.

>

> And for the record, my reservation is that it might be psychologically

> different to have two different futures for certain than to have two

> futures in two different branches of the multiverse. It seems to me that

> this follows from the ASSA, which I provisionally accept at present.

> It's hard to say what the perceptual difference will be, but it seems

> like there ought to be one.

I think that would certainly be psychologically different, and that may be

an argument against that position (how should I call it? Is there a name?).

You already agreed that the non-destructive-copy experiment is equivalent

to the destructive-double-copy experiment, so let me argue using the first

one.

In the case of non-destructive-copy experiment, the copy is

made in a distinct place/time from the original. They could as well be done

100,000 years in the future and in the Andromeda galaxy, and you should

as well expect to have the subjective experience of being that copy with

the same probability as being the smooth continuation of yourself on Earth.

But in the multiverse, there are certainly infinite other perfect copies of

yourself which are not smooth continuations. We can imagine thousands of

ways how these copies could be made. In computer simulations, in a distant

"Earth" in the Tegmark plenitude, or elsewhere.

But suppose you just stepped outside the Paris duplicator. Unaware of the

experiment that is being made, your last memory is sitting in front of your

computer, reading this email. Suddenly, you see the Eiffel Tower. That

would surely be a psychological experience that we don't have too often.

And since there are infinite copies of yourself at any given moment, if you

should expect to be any of them at the next moment, you shouldn't expect

to ever feel the continuous experience you do.

Therefore, since I do actually have a continuous experience of myself,

then 'I am not my copies'.

-Eric.

Nov 10, 2003, 8:09:34 AM11/10/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

Hi,

I disagreed with some points in your argumentation...

----- Original Message -----

From: "David Barrett-Lennard" <d...@fractaltechnologies.com>

> I'm trying to define "identity"...

>

> Let's write x~y if SAS's x and y (possibly in different universes) have

> the same identity.

You did not yet 'define' identity. You just proposed a relation between

two entities which is supposed to mean that these two entities have the

same 'identity'.

> I propose that this relation must be reflexive,

> symmetric and transitive.

This is a proposal which seems self-evident, but let us keep in mind that

we have no reason to propose it yet, since we don't even know what

'identity' means. I believe, in fact, that this relation '~' is NOT

transitive!

Let me try to argue why later.

> This neatly partitions all SAS's into

> equivalence classes, and we have no ambiguity working out whether any

> two SAS's across the multi-verse have the same identity.

>

> Consider an SAS x that splits into x1, x2 (in child universes under

> MWI). We assume x~x1 and x~x2. By symmetry and transitivity we deduce

> x1~x2. So this definition of identity is maintained across independent

> child universes.

This is where the '~' relation shows that it cannot be transitive. I don't

know what your definition of identity is, but in other posts I have

argued that I am not the copies of me in other universes. Therefore,

since you have come to the conclusion that I am, it must be the case

that your assumption of the transitivity of '~' is wrong. To support your

definition of '~', you must give a better reason to believe that you are

the copies of yourself in other worlds. Just defining an arbitrary '~'

relation does not do the job.

In fact, I believe we should define another relation of personal identity,

which is NOT symmetric. I shall use the notation '<' meaning

that if x<y, x is a former state of y. 'x' is unambiguously defined by

following "down" the multiverse branching 'tree'. But we cannot define

the '>' relation, i.e., the relation by which y>x would mean that y is a

continuation of x 'uptree'. Since there are multiple choices for the next

state of x, it cannot be told in advance what the next subjective moment

will be.

So you can say that x<x1 and x<x2, but it does not follow that x1<x2 OR

x2<x1. And since, by my definition, personal identity can be determined

only by the relation '<', x1 does not have the same 'identity' of x2.

> This is at odds with the following concept of identity...

>

> > I am, for all practical purposes, one

> > and only one specific configuration of atoms in a specific

> > universe. I could never say that ' I ' is ALL the copies, since I

> > NEVER experience what the other copies experience

>

> It seems necessary to distinguish between a definition of identity and

> the set of memories within an SAS at a given moment.

>

> Is it possible that over long periods of time, the environment can

> affect an SAS to such an extent that SAS's in different universe that

> are suppose to have the same identity actually have very little in

> common?

>

> What happens if we "splice" two SAS's (including their memories)?

>

> It seems to me that the concept of identity is not fundamental to

> physics. It's useful for classification purposes as long as one doesn't

> stretch it too far and expose its lack of precision.

Maybe it is not fundamental to physics, but it surely is fundamental to

us, since that may be the difference between immortality or otherwise.

Even more importantly, it is the basis for all our daily decisions.

It is not merely a classification purpose. When you decide not to spend

your money on the lottery, you don't think that doing so is good,

because you will be increasing the number of 'yous' who are

rich elsewhere. You don't care for the other 'yous' because you truly

believe that the probability that you will just lose yor money is too high.

And if you don't care for the other 'yous' they are not really 'you', they

are other entities.

> This reminds me of the problem of defining the word "species". Although

> a useful concept for zoologists it is not well defined. For example

> there are cases where (animals in region) A can mate with B, B can mate

> with C, but A can't mate with C.

Although you can safely ignore those classifications when relating to

objects,

you cannot deny that defining your identity is too easy. Cut your finger

and you will know who is feeling the pain.

-Eric.

Message has been deleted

Nov 10, 2003, 10:03:52 AM11/10/03

to David Barrett-Lennard, everyth...@eskimo.com

There are some problems with this as Eric has pointed out.

The best way to define identity, i.m.o., would be to say that a program is a

SAS having an identity. If that SAS experience the outcome of an experiment,

it's program will be changed by the mere fact it has acquired the memory of

the outcome of the experiment. So the identity has changed because the

program has changed. Programs are what some of us call ''observer moments''.

----- Oorspronkelijk bericht -----

Van: "David Barrett-Lennard" <d...@fractaltechnologies.com>

Aan: <everyth...@eskimo.com>

Verzonden: Monday, November 10, 2003 08:39 AM

Onderwerp: RE: Quantum accident survivor

Message has been deleted

Nov 10, 2003, 12:23:45 PM11/10/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

Eric Cavalcanti, <er...@fis.puc-rio.br>, writes:

> In the case of non-destructive-copy experiment, the copy is

> made in a distinct place/time from the original. They could as well be done

> 100,000 years in the future and in the Andromeda galaxy, and you should

> as well expect to have the subjective experience of being that copy with

> the same probability as being the smooth continuation of yourself on Earth.

> made in a distinct place/time from the original. They could as well be done

> 100,000 years in the future and in the Andromeda galaxy, and you should

> as well expect to have the subjective experience of being that copy with

> the same probability as being the smooth continuation of yourself on Earth.

Yes, that makes sense.

> But in the multiverse, there are certainly infinite other perfect copies of

> yourself which are not smooth continuations. We can imagine thousands of

> ways how these copies could be made. In computer simulations, in a distant

> "Earth" in the Tegmark plenitude, or elsewhere.

Yes, but keep in mind that there are also infinitely other copies which

*are* smooth continuations. And these probably outnumber the ones which

are discontinuous (assuming that terms like "outnumber" can be generalized

to infinite sets, or else that the sets involved are merely large and not

infinite).

> But suppose you just stepped outside the Paris duplicator. Unaware of the

> experiment that is being made, your last memory is sitting in front of your

> computer, reading this email. Suddenly, you see the Eiffel Tower. That

> would surely be a psychological experience that we don't have too often.

> And since there are infinite copies of yourself at any given moment, if you

> should expect to be any of them at the next moment, you shouldn't expect

> to ever feel the continuous experience you do.

Rather, you should expect to feel both, with some probability. And I

think that the multiverse holds a greater proportion of continuations

that are continuous than that are discontinuous. Fundamentally this

is because the conditions that promote consciousness and therefore the

formation of brains like mine will tend to involve continuous chains

of experience. Only in a relatively few universes will I be subject to

unknowing duplications. Therefore I think it is highly unlikely but not

impossible that I will suddenly experience a discontinuity.

Let us suppose, though, that our society evolves to a state where such

duplications are routine. Anyone may have their brain scanned at any

time, without their knowledge, and new copies of them created. Suppose I

am such a copy, in fact, I am a 10th generation copy; that is, 10 times

in my life I have found myself having an experience similar to what you

described, a discontinuity where I was just walking along or sitting

there, and suddenly found myself stepping out of a duplicating machine

because someone copied me.

I think you will agree that my memories are reasonable; that is, that

anyone who has gone through such an experierence as I describe will in

fact remember these discontinuities.

Given my history, wouldn't it be reasonable for me to expect, at any

future moment, to possibly face another such discontinuity? It has

happened many times before, both to me and to other people that I know;

it is an often-discussed phenomenon of the world, in this scenario.

Just like anything else that happens occasionally to everyone, it would

be perfectly reasonable and rational to have an expectation that it

might happen to you.

Hal

Nov 10, 2003, 9:07:17 PM11/10/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

Hi Eric,

> In fact, I believe we should define another relation of personal

identity,

> which is NOT symmetric.

I agree that this has greater relevance to QTI, but note that saying

that "identity" is not symmetric is at odds with most people's usage of

the word. Eg you can't say "x,y have the same identity".

You proposed the notation '<' meaning that if x<y, x is a former state

of y. For the purposes of QTI, I think a more relevant definition of

'<' would be based on successions of growing memories. This would make

it clear that a clone and an original have equal right to prior states

of the SAS.

- David

Nov 11, 2003, 7:01:09 AM11/11/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

Hi,

> Eric Cavalcanti, <er...@fis.puc-rio.br>, writes:

> > In the case of non-destructive-copy experiment, the copy is

> > made in a distinct place/time from the original. They could as well be

done

> > 100,000 years in the future and in the Andromeda galaxy, and you should

> > as well expect to have the subjective experience of being that copy with

> > the same probability as being the smooth continuation of yourself on

Earth.

>

> Yes, that makes sense.

>

> > But in the multiverse, there are certainly infinite other perfect copies

of

> > yourself which are not smooth continuations. We can imagine thousands of

> > ways how these copies could be made. In computer simulations, in a

distant

> > "Earth" in the Tegmark plenitude, or elsewhere.

>

> Yes, but keep in mind that there are also infinitely other copies which

> *are* smooth continuations. And these probably outnumber the ones which

> are discontinuous (assuming that terms like "outnumber" can be generalized

> to infinite sets, or else that the sets involved are merely large and not

> infinite).

I don't think so. Suppose you have at least one other perfect copy of

yourself,

such that you could expect that your next experience be one of that copies'

with the same probability as the smooth continuation. A moment dt from now

the original 'you' will have branched into a number N of possible future

states.

Since the copy is perfectly equal, the copy will also evolve to a number of

future

states that is of the same order of magnitude of N. According to your view,

each of these states is a continuation of yourself with equal probability,

so

that you should expect to have about 50% probability of being your copy.

But, if the Plenitude deserves the name, then we should expect to have

at least a Huge number of copies at any moment.

Therefore, either there are no other copies - i.e. the plenitude is not

real, and

there are no simulations of yourself anywhere in the multiverse, etc. - or

you

cannot experience being one of your copies, and QTI is not real. One of

these has to go.

> > But suppose you just stepped outside the Paris duplicator. Unaware of

the

> > experiment that is being made, your last memory is sitting in front of

your

> > computer, reading this email. Suddenly, you see the Eiffel Tower. That

> > would surely be a psychological experience that we don't have too often.

> > And since there are infinite copies of yourself at any given moment, if

you

> > should expect to be any of them at the next moment, you shouldn't expect

> > to ever feel the continuous experience you do.

>

> Rather, you should expect to feel both, with some probability. And I

> think that the multiverse holds a greater proportion of continuations

> that are continuous than that are discontinuous. Fundamentally this

> is because the conditions that promote consciousness and therefore the

> formation of brains like mine will tend to involve continuous chains

> of experience. Only in a relatively few universes will I be subject to

> unknowing duplications. Therefore I think it is highly unlikely but not

> impossible that I will suddenly experience a discontinuity.

I have argued above about the proportion of smooth/discontinuous states.

> Let us suppose, though, that our society evolves to a state where such

> duplications are routine. Anyone may have their brain scanned at any

> time, without their knowledge, and new copies of them created. Suppose I

> am such a copy, in fact, I am a 10th generation copy; that is, 10 times

> in my life I have found myself having an experience similar to what you

> described, a discontinuity where I was just walking along or sitting

> there, and suddenly found myself stepping out of a duplicating machine

> because someone copied me.

>

> I think you will agree that my memories are reasonable; that is, that

> anyone who has gone through such an experierence as I describe will in

> fact remember these discontinuities.

>

> Given my history, wouldn't it be reasonable for me to expect, at any

> future moment, to possibly face another such discontinuity? It has

> happened many times before, both to me and to other people that I know;

> it is an often-discussed phenomenon of the world, in this scenario.

> Just like anything else that happens occasionally to everyone, it would

> be perfectly reasonable and rational to have an expectation that it

> might happen to you.

It would be perfectly normal, in such a society, to expect to BE a clone,

if you have some reason to believe you are, such as a long-forgot

discontinuity of experience.

But one should not expect to ever BECOME a clone, for the reasons

I argued above.

-Eric.

Message has been deleted

Nov 14, 2003, 4:45:56 AM11/14/03

to everyth...@eskimo.com

Hal Finney wrote:

>

>Jesse Mazer writes:

> > In your definition of the ASSA, why do you define it in terms of your >

>Jesse Mazer writes:

>next

> > observer moment?

>

>The ASSA and the RSSA were historically defined as competing views.

>I am not 100% sure that I have the ASSA right, in that it doesn't seem

>too different from the SSSA. (BTW I have kept the definitions at the end

>of this email.) (BTW, BTW means By The Way.) But I am pretty sure about

>the RSSA being in terms of the "next" moment, so I defined the ASSA the

>same way, to better illustrate its complementary relationship to the RSSA.

>

>The real difference between these views was not addressed in my

>glossary, which is that the RSSA is supposed to justify the QTI, the

>quantum theory of immortality, while the ASSA is supposed to refute it.

>That is, if you only experience universes where your identity continues,

>as the RSSA implies, then it would seem that you will never die. But if

>your life-moments are ruled by statistics based on physical law as the

>ASSA says, then the chance that you will ever experience being extremely

>old is infinitesimal.

>

>Personally I think the ASSA as I have it is somewhat incoherent, speaking

>of a "next" observer moment in a framework where there really isn't any

>such notion. But as I said it has been considered as the alternative

>to the RSSA. I invite suggestions for improved wording.

I think that proponents of the type of ASSA you’re talking about would say

that the experience of consciousness passing through multiple

observer-moments is simply an illusion, and that I am nothing more than my

current observer-moment. Therefore they would not believe in quantum

immortality, and they also would not define the ASSA in terms of the "next"

observer-moment, only the current observer-moment. I think you’d be

hard-pressed to find any supporters of the ASSA who would define it in the

way you have.

But as I say below, I think it is possible to have a different

interpretation of the ASSA in which consciousness-over-time is not an

illusion, and in which it can be compatible with the RSSA, not opposed to

it.

>

> > Wouldn't it be possible to have a version of the SSA where

> > you consider your *current* observer moment to be randomly sampled from

>the

> > set of all observer-moments, but you use something like the RSSA to

>guess

> > what your next observer moment is likely to be like?

>

>That seems contradictory. You have one distribution for the current

>observer-moment (sampled from all of them), and another distribution for

>the next observer-moment (sampled from those that are continuous with

>the same identity). But the current observer-moment is also a "next"

>observer-moment (relative to the previous observer-moment). So you can't

>use the ASSA for current OM's and the RSSA for next OM's, because every

>next is a current, and vice versa. (By OM I mean observer-moment.)

Well, any theory involving splitting/merging consciousness is naturally

going to privilege the current observer-moment, because it’s the only thing

you can be really sure of a la "I think therefore I am"…when talking about

the past or the future, there will be multiple pasts and multiple futures

compatible with your present OM, so you can only talk about a sort of

probabilistic spread.

That said, although some might argue there’s a sort of philosophical

contradiction there, I think it is possible to conceive of a mathematical

theory of consciousness which incorporates both the ASSA and the RSSA

without leading to any formal/mathematical contradictions. There could even

be a sort of "complementarity" between the two aspects of the theory, so

that OM’s with the highest absolute probability-of-being would also be the

ones that have the most other high-absolute-probability OM’s that see them

as a likely "successor" in terms of relative probability-of-becoming. In

fact, an elegant solution for determining a given OM’s absolute

probability-of-being might be to simply do a sum over the probability of

becoming that OM relative to all the other OM’s in the multiverse, weighted

by their own probability-of-being.

Here’s a simple model for how this could work. Say you have some large set

of all the OM’s in the multiverse, possibly finite if there is some upper

limit on the complexity of an OM’s, but probably infinite. You have some

theory of consciousness that quantifies the "similarity" S between any two

given OM’s, which deals with how well they fit as the same mind at different

moments, how many of the same memories they share in common, how similar are

their causal patterns, and so on. You also have some absolute measure on all

the OM’s, a "probability-of-being" B assigned to each one—this is basically

just my idea that the self-sampling assumption could be weighted somehow, so

that the ideal way to use the ASSA is to assume that your current OM is

randomly sampled from the set of all possible observer-moments, weighted by

their own probability-of-being B.

Then, to determine the relative probability-of-becoming various possible

OM’s, I could just multiply their similarity S to my own current OM by their

absolute measure B representing each one’s probability-of-being. This would

insure that even though a version of me observing a dragon popping out of my

computer screen may be have just as much similarity S to my current mental

state, in terms of memories and the like, as a version of me who’s watching

the computer screen behaving normally, if one OM is objectively less

probable (lower B) due to the laws of nature, I will have a higher relative

probability of becoming the OM who sees business-as-usual. This would also

insure that if I step into a teleportation machine and the machine

reconstructs two people, one whose brain is close to identical to mine and

one who has a very different personality and memories, then even if the OM’s

of both these people have about the same absolute probability-of-being B, I

am far more likely to become the one who’s more similar to me because his

similarity S to my current OM would be much higher.

And as I suggested earlier, it would be neat if the probability-of-being B

could itself be derived by something like a sum over the S’s between me and

all the other other OM’s, each one weighted by their own B-rating. This idea

could be summed up by the slogan "the most probable present experiences are

the ones that are high-probability successors to other experiences that are

themselves highly probable present experiences". In this way it might even

be possible to bootstrap a unique B-rating for all OM’s, starting with only

a knowledge of the similarity ratings between them. Consider the following

simple universe with only three observers X, Y, and Z, and a known matrix of

similarity ratings S between each pair:

X Y Z

X1.00 0.60 0.35

Y 0.60 1.00 0.25

Z 0.35 0.25 1.00

In this case, if the B-ratings for each one were determined by a sum over

the S-ratings for the others weighted by their own B-ratings, and you

represent X’s B-rating by the variable x, Y’s B-rating by the variable y,

etc., then you’d have some simultaneous equations that’d actually allow you

to find a unique self-consistent solution for x, y, and z:

x = (0.60)y + (0.35)z

y = (0.60)x + (0.25)z

z = (0.35)x + (0.25)y

I haven’t actually planned these numbers out, so the solution probably leads

to some variables being negative or greater than one, which doesn’t really

make sense if the B’s are supposed to be probabilities, but the basic idea

here is that you can bootstrap the B’s just by knowing the S’s.

Now keep in mind, this is all a very cartoonish sketch, I don’t really think

whatever theory of consciousness is used to determine relative probabilities

would be as simple as multiplying a "similarity rating" by an absolute

probability; among other things, "similarity" fails to capture the crucial

issue of the directionality of subjective time, my current OM might be just

as similar to an OM 2 seconds ago as it is to one 2 second from now, but I

expect a higher probability I’ll become the one 2 seconds in the future.

Also, I suggested earlier that the complexity of an OM’s consciousness might

play a part in both the absolute probability (so my present experience is

more likely to be that of a human than an insect) and relative probability

(so I am more likely to experience becoming a copy with an intact brain than

one with brain damage), but the model I presented doesn’t take that into

account. Still, it’s sort of a pet theory of mine that the real TOE will

turn out to be analogous to this model in the following ways:

1. It will include a theory of consciousness that can take my present OM

along with various possible future OM’s, and determine the relative

probability of my experiencing each one in my future based on a combination

of features that are inherent to each OM (analogous to the ‘similarity’

rating in my model) and an external measure which assigns each one an

absolute probability. The relative probability on different future

observer-moments would be used as weights in the RSSA, and the absolute

probability of different present observer-moments would be used in a

weighted ASSA.

2. Even if you don’t know the correct absolute probability of any of the

OM’s to start with, there will turn out to be a unique self-consistent

solution to what this absolute measure on OM’s has to look like, given only

the theory of consciousness and the assumption that all possible OM’s exist

(the ‘everything’ part of the theory). This would be analogous to the unique

solution to the simultaneous equations in the cartoon model above.

This would be neat because the laws of physics we observe could hopefully be

derived (in principle anyway) from the absolute and relative measures on all

OM’s, so you’d basically be deriving all the laws of the universe from just

a theory of consciousness and platonic assumption that every conscious

pattern that can exist, does exist. The problem with any TOE that

incorporates a "theory of consciousness" is that it runs the risk of being a

dualist theory if any aspect of first-person probabilities derives from

something other than that theory (like an objective measure on universes

rather than OM’s to explain why I don’t experience Harry Potter worlds), but

this idea is nicely monist and simple.

It might seem that a theory centered on consciousness and observer-moments

would suggest that any part of the universe that isn’t observed by a

sentient being doesn’t really exist, but I imagine identifying distinct

"observer-moments" with something like "patterns of causal relationships"

(or finite computations, perhaps), so that all such patterns, even the

random jostling of molecules in a cloud of gas, would qualify as

observer-moments with very low-grade levels of consciousness. That way the

absolute probability of each such pattern, along with the probabilistic

relationships between different patterns, might be used to derive what we

ordinarily think of as the laws of physics, especially if the laws of

physics can ultimately be stated in terms of nothing but relationships

between elementary events, as physicists like Lee Smolin have suggested.

This is similar to the "naturalistic panpsychism" idea I found described on

the same website that hosts the many-worlds FAQ (although I disagree with

them on a few points):

http://www.hedweb.com/lockwood.htm

Apologies for the long post, but I haven’t really outlined my own pet TOE on

this list before, so I wanted to get all the major details in there.

Jesse Mazer

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Jan 31, 2004, 10:17:09 AM1/31/04

to everyth...@eskimo.com

Here is an interesting post by Jesse. Curiously I have not been able to find it

in the archive, but luckily I find it in my computer memory.

in the archive, but luckily I find it in my computer memory.

Is that normal? I will try again later.

Jesse's TOE pet is very similar to the type of TOE compatible with the comp

hyp, I guess everyone can see that.

Jesse, imo, that post deserves to be developed. The way you manage to save

partially the ASSA (Absolute Self-Sampling Assumption) is not very clear to me.

Bruno

Feb 1, 2004, 12:07:36 AM2/1/04

to everyth...@eskimo.com

>From: Bruno Marchal <mar...@ulb.ac.be>

>To: everyth...@eskimo.com

>Subject: Re: Request for a glossary of acronyms

>Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2004 16:11:39 +0100

>

>Here is an interesting post by Jesse. Curiously I have not been able to

>find it

>in the archive, but luckily I find it in my computer memory.

>

>Is that normal? I will try again later.

>To: everyth...@eskimo.com

>Subject: Re: Request for a glossary of acronyms

>Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2004 16:11:39 +0100

>

>Here is an interesting post by Jesse. Curiously I have not been able to

>find it

>in the archive, but luckily I find it in my computer memory.

>

>Is that normal? I will try again later.

Thanks for reviving this post, it's in the archives here:

http://www.escribe.com/science/theory/m4882.html

It was part of this thread:

http://www.escribe.com/science/theory/index.html?by=OneThread&t=Request%20for%20a%20glossary%20of%20acronyms

>

>Jesse's TOE pet is very similar to the type of TOE compatible with the comp

>hyp, I guess everyone can see that.

>

>Jesse, imo, that post deserves to be developed. The way you manage to save

>partially the ASSA (Absolute Self-Sampling Assumption) is not very clear to

>me.

>

>Bruno

Well, the idea I discussed was somewhat vague, I think to develop it I'd

need to have better ideas about what a theory of consciousness should look

like, and I don't know where to begin with that. But as for how the ASSA is

incorporated, I'll try to summarize again and maybe make it a little

clearer. Basically my idea was that there would be two types of measures on

observer-moments: a relative measure, which gives you answers to questions

like "if I am currently experiencing observer-moment A, what is the

probability that my next experience will be of observer-moment B?", and an

absolute measure, which is sort of like the probability that my current

observer-moment will be A in the first place. This idea of absolute measure

might seem meaningless since whatever observer-moment I'm experiencing right

now, from my point of view the probability is 1 that I'm experiencing that

one and not some other, but probably the best way to think of it is in terms

of the self-sampling assumption, where reasoning *as if* I'm randomly

sampled from some group (for example, 'all humans ever born' in the doomsday

argument) can lead to useful conclusions, even if I don't actually believe

that God used a random-number generator to decide which body my preexisting

soul would be placed in.

So, once you have the idea of both a relative measure

('probability-of-becoming') and an absolute measure ('probability-of-being')

on observer-moments, my idea is that the two measures could be interrelated,

like this:

1. My probability-of-becoming some possible future observer-moment is based

both on something like the 'similarity' between that observer-moment and my

current one (so my next experience is unlikely to be that of George W. Bush

sitting in the White House, for example, because his memories and

personality are so different from my current ones) but also on the absolute

probability of that observer-moment (so that I am unlikely to find myself

having the experience of talking to an intelligent white rabbit, because

even if that future observer-moment is fairly similar to my current one in

terms of personality, memories, etc., white-rabbit observer-moments are

objectively improbable). I don't know how to quantify "similarity" though,

or exactly how both similarity and absolute probabilities would be used to

calculate the relative measure between two observer-moments...this is where

some sort of "theory of consciousness" would be needed.

2. Meanwhile, the absolute measure is itself dependent on the relative

measure, in the sense that an observer-moment A will have higher absolute

measure if a lot of other observer-moments that themselves have high

absolute measure see A as a likely "next experience" or a likely "past

experience" (ie there's a high relative measure between them). This idea is

based partly on that thought experiment where two copies of a person are

made, then one copy is itself later copied many more times, the idea being

that the copy that is destined to be copied more in the future has a higher

absolute measure because there are more future observer-moments

"reinforcing" it (see http://www.escribe.com/science/theory/m4841.html for

more on this thought-experiment). I think of this whole idea in analogy to

the way Google's ranking system works: pages are ranked as more popular if

they are linked to by a lot of other pages that are themselves highly

ranked. So, the popularity of a particular page is sort of like the absolute

probability of being a particular observer-moment, while a link from one

page to another is like a high relative probability from one observer-moment

to another (to make the analogy better you'd have to use weighted links, and

you'd have to assume the weight of the link between page A and page B itself

depends partly on B's popularity).

The final part of my pet theory is that by having the two measures

interrelated in this way, you'd end up with a unique self-consistent

solution to what each measure would look like, like what happens when you

have a bunch of simultaneous equations specifying how different variables

relate to one another, and they determine a unique solution. This would

provide a rationale for having a non-arbitrary choice of absolute and

relative measure (see my comments about the 'arbitrariness problem' in my

very first post on this list at

http://www.escribe.com/science/theory/m2606.html ). Also, this type of TOE

would give a precise answer to the 'problem of the reference class' which

Nick Bostrom talks about in his work on the self-sampling assumption, the

answer being that you should reason as if you were randomly sampled from the

set of all observer-moments, weighted by their absolute measure. The final

benefit of this type of theory is that you wouldn't need a two-step

procedure of first coming up with a measure on "universes" and then

afterwards adding anthropic considerations as a second step--I think that

two-step idea depends on a fundamentally dualistic view of the mind/body

problem, as I said in my post at

http://www.escribe.com/science/theory/m5069.html

So, does any of this help explain how I try to save the ASSA? I guess it

depends on what you think the basic problem the ASSA has that requires it to

be "saved", I think Hal Finney was saying the problem was that it could lead

to predictions incompatible with those of the RSSA, while others seem to

have more of a philosophical problem with talking about the "probability"

that my current observer-moment could be anything other than what it

actually is (if 'I' were someone else, 'I' wouldn't be me!) What is your

basic objection to the ASSA, and do you think my pet theory offers at least

one possible way to resolve it?

Jesse Mazer

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Feb 3, 2004, 10:18:03 AM2/3/04

to everyth...@eskimo.com

Thank you Jesse for your clear answer. Your comparison

of your use of both ASSA and RSSA with Google ranking system

has been quite useful.

This does not mean I am totally convince because ASSA raises the

problem of the basic frame: I don't think there is any sense to compare

the probability of "being a human" or "being a bacteria" ..., but your

"RSSA use of ASSA" does not *necessarily* give a meaning to such

strong form of absolute Self Sampling Assumption, or does it?

I think also that your view on RSSA is not only compatible with

the sort of approach I have developed, but is coherent with

"Saibal Mitra" backtracking, which, at first I have taken

as wishful thinking. OK you make me feel COMP could be a little less

frightening I'm use to think.

Concerning consciousness theory and its use to isolate a similarity

relation on the computational histories---as seen from some first person

point of view, I will try to answer asap in a common answer to

Stephen and Stathis (and you) who asked very related questions.

Alas I have not really the time now---I would also like to find a way to

explain

the consciousness theory without relying too much on mathematical logic,

but the similarity between 1-histories *has* been derived technically in

the part

of the theory which is the most counter-intuitive ... mmh I will try soon ...

of your use of both ASSA and RSSA with Google ranking system

has been quite useful.

This does not mean I am totally convince because ASSA raises the

problem of the basic frame: I don't think there is any sense to compare

the probability of "being a human" or "being a bacteria" ..., but your

"RSSA use of ASSA" does not *necessarily* give a meaning to such

strong form of absolute Self Sampling Assumption, or does it?

I think also that your view on RSSA is not only compatible with

the sort of approach I have developed, but is coherent with

"Saibal Mitra" backtracking, which, at first I have taken

as wishful thinking. OK you make me feel COMP could be a little less

frightening I'm use to think.

Concerning consciousness theory and its use to isolate a similarity

relation on the computational histories---as seen from some first person

point of view, I will try to answer asap in a common answer to

Stephen and Stathis (and you) who asked very related questions.

Alas I have not really the time now---I would also like to find a way to

explain

the consciousness theory without relying too much on mathematical logic,

but the similarity between 1-histories *has* been derived technically in

the part

of the theory which is the most counter-intuitive ... mmh I will try soon ...

Bruno

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