Lest anyone take Jonathan Colvin's thought experiment as evidence that the copy isn't "really" you, here is a variation in which the situation is reversed:

You are in a room strapped to an electric chair with a counter counting down from one minute. There are two buttons accessible to you on the chair, marked A and B. Pressing button A will cause the chair either to release you, with Pr=0.4, or immediately electrocute you, with Pr=0.6. Pressing button B will cause the chair to immediately release you (i.e. with Pr=1), but it will also teleport itself along with a copy of you still strapped to the chair to another room, where the countdown will continue. When the counter reaches zero, you will be electrocuted. Meanwhile, you can press the buttons as often as you want.

The obvious thing to do would seem to be pressing button B - guaranteed freedom. However, when you press B, nothing seems to happen: you are still strapped to the chair, and the counter continues its countdown. On closer inspection, it does look as if the room is a little different, so you conclude that you have actually been the teleported copy. Undeterred, you press the button again, and again, and... every time it is just the same: you are still strapped to the chair in a room almost indistinguishable from the last one!

Desperately, you press button B as quickly as you can, but after over 100 presses it seems clear that however many times you press it, you will still end up strapped to the chair. What are you going to do when the counter reaches one second? Will you keep pressing B, or will you try button A? Is your answer to this question any different to your answer in Jonathan's thought experiment?

--Stathis Papaioannou

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