Stathis has another good thought experiment. > 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.
Okay, so we loyal adherents of the MWI understand that in .6 of my measure, I die instantly, and in .4 of my (constant) measure, I go free. So far, then, pressing A cuts down on my measure by sixty percent. Not good. > Pressing button B will cause the chair to immediately release > you (i.e. with Pr=1), ah, that's better > 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. Oh goody. More runtime. Where do I sign up? (True, there is a little predicament, but it's not at all serious to me!) > When the counter reaches zero, you will be electrocuted. Meanwhile, you can > press the buttons as often as you want. You are TOO KIND! I see a wonderful panorama of vastly, vastly increased runtime opening up before me. Already my finger is flexed to press the button just as fast as I can humanly manage! Surely I can do so several hundred times in a whole minute. > The obvious thing to do would seem to be pressing button B - guaranteed > freedom. However, when you press B, nothing seems to happen: Ah, what *seems* to happen. Oh! how people are so often deluded by mere appearances. > you are still strapped to the chair, and the counter continues > its countdown. [Correction: one instance of me is still strapped > to the chair but many more instances have already been freed. > I have brain, and accurate information, and I know this.] 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: Yeah, just like the character in my story who was trying to get out of the pit, sort-of realizing and sort-of not realizing that he both succeeded *and* failed on each and every press of the button. It only *seems* to be the same to the instance still in the chair! > 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, Desperately? Are you kidding? With the greatest joy I can imagine! Winning the California lottery is nothing compared to this! > but after over 100 presses it seems clear that however many times > you press it, you will still end up strapped to the chair. Yes, but I have a brain. I know that this is only the appearance. I *know* that in reality I am in many places enjoying much much more of life than was ever, ever possible before. > What are you going to do when the counter reaches one second? Will > you keep pressing B, or will you try button A? I would never press A. The button A is for people who don't understand that they're programs, who don't understand that they can be in two places at the same time. In the last tenth of a second hopefully I will still get in a button-press or two, and for each additional button-press I manage to squeeze in, there will be a new, liberated instance that gets more life for Lee Corbin!