Hi Everyone -

I've recently subscribed to the Everything List, and have been browsing through the archives. I have to confess that I find some of the discussion there incomprehensible, but nevertheless it's exciting to find people who take this very unusual idea seriously.

My background is in Computer Science. I've been reading people like Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter for years, and I accept in general the "computational", "algorithmic", or "functionalist" view of mind (though all of these terms mean different things to different people). I'm intrigued by the Computational Physics concepts expounded by Fredkin, Wolfram, et. al., but I don't understand Quantum Physics, so I really don't feel qualified to judge the specifics.

Years ago I was struck with the thought that the Many Worlds Interpretation of QM *seemed* to imply that I will never die. I never knew how seriously to take this idea, since I couldn't even get a straight answer from my physicist friends about what things were impossible in QM as opposed to highly improbable. (Is it impossible in QM for an elephant to suddenly materialize in my room? Or is it just highly improbable? I still don't know!)

Speculations about the implications of QM seemed less interesting to me than questions like "Why is our physics true rather than some other physics? Why does our universe have this property of "physical existence", when other perfectly good universes (like Conway's Life) don't?" It seemed to me that the most sensible answer to this question is that universes like Conway's Life have just as much "physical existence" (whatever that means) as our own.

Most of my thinking on these issues has been devoted to defending this position philosophically - starting with some brand of mathematical or computational realism, and then arguing that this ultimately implies "mathematical physicalism". Much less of my thinking has been devoted to working out the implications of this mathematical physicalism. It certainly seems to imply that I will never die. However, I would say that in general my current position on the implications of the AUH is quite a bit more agnostic or skeptical than that of many of the people on this list. Currently, I can't see how to apply the concept of "measure" to the ensemble of universes (or the ensemble of "my-next-possible-observer-moments", or whatever), and I'm not entirely sure the idea even makes sense. I'm not even convinced that the regularity we perceive in our own universe (i.e. the lack of "white talking rabbits") is something that requires explaining. Perhaps I will come to view this as a problem as I continue to think about it.

-- Kory

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