rmiller wrote:

my thought question for the day: is the method of copying important?
Example #1: we start with a single marble, A. Then, we magically create a copy, marble B--perfectly like marble B in every way. . .that is, the atoms are configured similarly, the interaction environment is the same--and they are indistinguishable from one another. Example #2: we start with a single marble A. Then, instead of magically creating a copy, we search the universe, Tegmarkian-style, and locate a second marble, B that is perfectly equivalent to our original marble A.



I distinguish between two kinds of copying: physical copying and psychological copying.

Physical copying requires that all consistent histories be maintained. These histories form a causal (light) cone leading to the object. Clearly it is impossible to replicate the same causal cone within our visible universe since the use of a copy machine would by definition, introduce a different causal cone. A perfect copy may still be possible beyond the visible universe since an identical causal cone could exist there without interfeing with the causal cone here. In addition, Quantum Theory has a non-cloning theorem that prevents the exact copying of the same quantum states. These arguments shoot down the COMP experiments that Bruno was proposing, such as being dematerialized in Brussels and copied in Washington or Moscow. Essentially he would have to change his experiment to such that you are dematerialized in Brussels in this visible universe and are rematerialized in a different Brussels beyond our visible universe where you already exist by the way, so actually no transfer of energy or information is required. All is required is the transfer of the attention of the observer from one place to another but identical place. So the transfer appears from an observer's point of view to be no transfer at all. You may want to relax the requirement of an identical causal cone as long as the result is an identical object. But then you must define the object's boundaries and abandon the strict and small scale precision of Quantum Mechanics. This leads us to Psychological copying.

Psychological copying is much less stringent than Physical copying. It requires that the person being copied feels the same as the original, "a la Turing test." This introduce the intriguing possibility of psychological indeterminacy which allows me to regard myself as the same person this evening as I was this morning, even though I am actually physically strictly different. Psychological indeterminacy support COMP and the associated experiments between Brussels, Washington and Moscow and is not restricted by the Quantum Non-Cloning Theorem. Psychological indeterminacy also raises the question of how different should I be until I become someone else. How big am "I"?

George Levy


Reply via email to