Hal Finney wrote:


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....
> 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.

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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