In the thought experiments I have recently proposed, I should have specified *functionally* exact copies. Millions of neurons die in a normal adult brain every day, and generally this loss isn't even noticed, so the sort of detail which would make the uncertainty principle a significant consideration would be *way* below the acceptable noise level. However, as Brent Meeker recently pointed out, even disregarding quantum effects, classical chaos would cause two initially identical brains to diverge greatly within a very short time period. It therefore looks like the only practical way to have two or more minds running perfectly synchronised with each other would be to run them in parallel as AI's in a virtual environment.

Although setting out to make a perfect copy of a human brain may prove impossible, RM's post raises the interesting question of whether it could just happen naturally. Many years ago, before I had heard of the Everett MWI, it occurred to me that if time and/or space were infinite and non-repeating, then it was certain that somewhere in the universe there would arise a copy or analogue of my brain at the moment of my earthly demise (that is, a successor observer moment), thus ensuring that my consciousness would continue. It might take zillions of years, but when you're dead you can afford to wait. The existence of a multiverse (or larger mathematical structures which contain it) can only add weight to this idea, although it might be subject to the same criticisms attracted by the QTI.

Scouring the universe to find an exact copy of RM's favourite marble may seem a very inefficient method of duplication, but when it comes to conscious observers in search of a successor OM, the obvious but nonetheless amazing fact is that nobody needs to search or somehow bring the the observer and the OM together: if the successor OM exists anywhere in the plenitude, then the mere fact of its existence means that the observer's consciousness will continue.

--Stathis Papaioannou

Norman Samish writes:

I'm no physicist, but doesn't Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle forbid
making exact quantum-level measurements, hence exact copies?  If so, then
all this talk of making exact copies is fantasy.
Norman Samish
----- Original Message -----
From: "rmiller" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>;
Sent: Saturday, June 18, 2005 10:05 AM
Subject: copy method important?

Though we're not discussing entanglement per se, some of these examples
surely meet the criteria.  So, 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.  All tests both magically avoid QM decoherence problems and show
that our newfound marble is, in fact, indistinguishable in every way from
our original.
         Here's the question:  Are the properties of the *relationship*
between Marbles A and B in Example #1 perfectly equivalent to those in
Example #2?
         If the criteria involves simply analysis of configurations at a
precise point in time, it would seem the answer must be "yes."  On the
other hand, if the method by which the marbles were created is crucial to
the present configuration, then the answer would be "no."

R. Miller

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