Jonathan Colvin writes:

> You are offered two choices:
> (a) A coin will be flipped tomorrow. If the result is heads,
> you will be tortured; if tails, you will not be tortured.
> (b) You will be copied 10 times tomorrow. One of the copies
> will be tortured, and the other 9 will not be tortured.
> By your reasoning, there is a 50% chance you will be tortured
> in (a) and a 100% chance you will be tortured in (b), so (a)
> is better. But I would say the probabilities are (a) 50% and
> (b) 10%, so (b) is clearly the better choice.

Hmmmm...I'd disagree. Emotionally, (a) feels the better choice to me; in (b)
I'm definitely getting tortured, in (a) I may dodge the bullet. On a purely
objective basis (attempting to mimimize the amount of torture in the world),
(a) is also obviously superior.

This would make an interesting poll. Who prefers (a) over (b)?

Imagine what would happen if you chose (b). You enter the teleportation sending station, press the green button, and your body is instantly and painlessly destructively analysed. The information is beamed to 10 different receiving stations around the world, where an exact replica of you is created from local raw materials. One of these receiving stations is situated in a torture chambre, and the torture will commence immediately once the victim arrives.

Now, what do you think you will actually experience the moment after you press the green button? Do you expect to feel any different because there are now 10 copies of you? Do you expect that the copy being tortured will somehow send signals to the other 9 copies? If not, then how will the 100% chance that one of the copies will be tortured affect you if you happen to be one of the other copies?

Probabilities in ensemble theories work similarly to (b): all of the possibilities are realised in some branch or other, and the apparent probabilities are a result of the differing proportions or measure of the various possibilities. In other words, the world is completely deterministic, but it looks probabilistic from a first person perspective because observers can only experience one branch at a time.

--Stathis Papaioannou

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