Kim Jones writes:

On 04/01/2006, at 12:37 PM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

But it isn't possible to "die young" if QTI is true!


But there exists nonetheless a death event, even though it does not lead to a cessation of consciousness and presumably life. Death represents the branching of the histories - it must count for at least that. As Bruno says, you cannot have a 1^ point of view on it so saying someone died is merely the statement that you have lost them irrevocably

Yes, death happens, but it only happens to other people. A first person experience of death is no first person experience at all.

Every time you come to a point where you might die, something will happen to save you. When you get really old, perhaps some anti- ageing treatment, or mind uploading is introduced just in time. Of course, there is no guarantee that you will continue living in full physical and mental vigour: you might just slowly deteriorate over time so that you end up spending centuries in a near-vegetative state.


Sounds like the most fun you can have ;) But people who have already "died" (of natural causes) have *only* ever experienced near- vegetative conditions - in this universe surely, since we have not yet Nick Bostrom-ed ourselves into posthumans capable of mind- uploading. Unless posthumans capable of time travel who *have* invented Jupiter brains etc. can pluck us into their era

I'm not sure what you mean here. People who have "already died" have only died from someone else's point of view, given that the multiverse necessitates that there will always be branches in which they *don't* die, and they can only experience one of these branches.

The question then arises, how close to a vegetable do you have to be before you can be pronounced dead for the purposes of QTI?


How close to a vegetable would you want to be and still be alive??? If true, it might therefore be a curse, a Hell that we all suffer eventually. Maybe the Church got it right after all in the middle ages......only joking! Hell was cancelled by the church a while back. Funny thing is - heaven's still there. I thought you couldn't have the one without the other...but I digress

Yes, unfortunately the QTI does *not* necessarily lead to a life of eternal fun and happiness. If you fall from a great height, you will survive, but the multiverse will not arrange matters so that you aren't paralysed. The same goes for developing dementia as you get older.

The problem of gradually fading away can be illustrated by another example. Suppose your body is destructively scanned and then reconstituted in two separate locations, a1 and a2.


Happened to me on New Years Eve after several drinks



At a1, the reconstitution goes as intended, but at a2 something goes wrong and you are reconstituted in a brain dead state. I think we can say in this case that you can expect to find yourself alive at a1 with 100% certainty a moment after you undergo the scanning.


"Yes Doctor" :)



Next, suppose that after the destructive scanning your body is reconstituted in 10 different locations, b1 to b10. As before, at b1 the reconstitution is perfect and at b10 something goes wrong and you are reconstituted in a brain dead state. At locations b2 to b9, however, due to varying degrees of malfunction in the machinery, you are reconstituted with varying degrees of dementia: at b2 you are just a little bit more vague than usual, at b9 you are still alive but have lost all your memories and sense of identity, and in between are several variations with partial dementia. The question now is, when you undergo the scanning process, should you have an equal expectation of ending up at each of the locations b1 to b10? If you exclude b10 because you are dead there, should you not also exclude b9, where you are no longer a sentient being, let alone a particular sentient being? And does it follow from these considerations that you are are somehow more likely to find yourself at b2 than b8, for example?

I should point out that I don't know the answers to the above questions. Can anybody make any suggestions?

OK - so transferring this set of increasingly demented versions of me to a multiverse framework where they are all existing in parallel, you are saying that - as I age - I can expect a gradual fadeout to a near-vegetative twilight state due to the odds favoring my ending up in the highest achievable state of normality each time? This to me highlights my question then - wouldn't I be better off doing a James Dean or an Elvis; living fast, "dying" young and keeping up my probability measure of ending up in universes where I am similarly constituted with all my faculties intact? Like this I would expect to take advantage of the system and be a Cassanova or a Lothario for eternity. That's what I call "continuity"!

But remember where Don Giovanni finished up...

Not entirely tongue-in-cheek I hope

Your question does actually suggest a method you could use to boost your chances of surviving with most of your faculties intact: suicide using a method which is very, very likely to kill you outright. This is the idea discussed in Johnathon Corgan's Tookie execution thread recently. If you find yourself in a situation where all the mundane ways you might escape death (eg. last moment clemency from the Governor, the IV drip tissues and the toxin extravasates, etc.) become extremely improbable, you are left with the more fantastic means of survival, such as finding yourself living as an upload on a far future computer network. (And I imagine that there wouldn't be much point building and living in such a network if its citizens couldn't switch on the Orgasmic Bliss function for a few thousand years at a time if they felt like it). Having said this, I can't really think of any method of killing yourself that would not be thwarted by mundane events in preference to the fantastic scenarios.

Stathis Papaioannou

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