Hal Finney writes:

Stathis Papaioannou writes:
> That is the basic idea behind these thought experiments with copies: as a > more easily understood analogy for what happens in the multiverse/plenitude.

I don't agree, and in fact I think the use of copies as an analog for
what happens in the multiverse is fundamentally misleading.  If it were
not, you could create the same thought experiments just by talking about
flipping coins and such.

What is the analog, in the multiverse, of pushing a button to make a copy?
When faced with the chance of torture, you are going to push a button
to make a copy.  What does that correspond to in the multiverse?

When you flip a coin in the multiverse, you are copied many times along with the rest of the universe, with half the copies seeing heads and the other half tails. If an experience such as torture is dependent on the outcome, half the copies will be tortured and the other half won't. From a first person perspective, it looks like there is only one universe with probabilistic laws; from a godlike third person perspective, it is all deterministic, with every possible outcome occurring in some branch or other. The difference between the multiverse and thought experiments with copies is, of course, that in the latter case only a part of the universe is duplicated, and it is possible that the copies will meet. If you control conditions in copying thought experiments to eliminate the effects of these differences, then they should be a good analogy for what happens in the multiverse.

--Stathis Papaioannou

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