Bruno writes:
> Hal,
> It seems to me that you are introducing a notion of physical universe,=20
> and then use it to reintroduce a notion of first person death, so that=20
> you can bet you will be the one "annihilated" in Brussels.

I should first mention that I did not anticipate the conclusion that
I reached when I did that analysis.  I did not expect to conclude that
teleportation like this would probably not work (speaking figurately).
This was not the starting point of the analysis, but the conclusion.

The starting point was the framework I have described previously, which
can be stated very simply as that the measure of an information pattern
comes from the universal distribution of Kolmogorov.  I then applied this
analysis to specific information patterns which represent subjective,
first person lifetime experiences.  I concluded that the truncated version
which ends when the teleportation occurs would probably have higher
measure than the ones which proceed through and beyond the teleportation.

Although I worked in terms of a specific physical universe, that is
a short-cut for simplicity of exposition.  The general case is to simply
ask for the K measure of each possible first-person subjective life
experience - what is the shortest program that produces each one.  I
assume that the shortest program will in fact have two parts, one which
creates a universe and the second which takes that universe as input
and produces the first-person experience record as output.

This leads to a Schmidhuber-like ensemble where we would consider
all possible universes and estimate the contribution of each one to
the measure of a particular first-person experience.  It is important
though to keep in mind that in practice the only universe which adds
non-negligible measure would be the one we are discussing.  In other
words, consider the first person experience of being born, living your
life, travelling to Brussels and stepping into a teleportation machine.
A random, chaotic universe would add negligibly to the measure of this
first-person life experience.  Likewise for a universe which only evolves
six-legged aliens on some other planet.  So in practice it makes sense
to restrict our attention to the (approximately) one universe which has
third-person objective events that do add significant measure to the
instantiation of these abstract first-person experiences.

> You agree that this is just equivalent of negating the comp hypothesis.=20
> You would not use (classical) teleportation, nor accept a digital=20
> artificial brain, all right? Do I miss something?

It is perhaps best to say that I would not do these things
*axiomatically*.  Whether a particular teleportation technology would
be acceptable would depend on considerations such as I described in my
previous message.  It's possible that the theoretical loss of measure for
some teleportation technology would be small enough that I would do it.

As far as using an artificial brain, again I would look to this kind of
analysis.  I have argued previously that a brain which is much smaller
or faster than the biological one should have much smaller measure, so
that would not be an appealing transformation.  OTOH an artificial brain
could be designed to have larger measure, such as by being physically
larger or perhaps by having more accurate and complete memory storage.
Then that would be appealing.

I think that one of the fundamental principles of your COMP hypothesis
is the functionalist notion, that it does not matter what kind of system
instantiates a computation.  However I think this founders on the familiar
paradoxes over what counts as an instantiation.  In principle we can
come up with a continuous range of devices which span the alternatives
from non-instantiation to full instantiation of a given computation.
Without some way to distinguish these, there is no meaning to the question
of when a computation is instantiated; hence functionalism fails.

My approach (not original to me) is to recognize that there is a degree
of instantiation, as I have described via the conditional Kolmogorov
measure (i.e. given a physical system, how much does it help a minimal
computation to produce the desired output).  This then leads very
naturally to the analysis I provided in my previous message, which
attempted to estimate the conditional K measure for the hypothetical
first-person computations that were being potentially instantiated by
the given third-party physical situation.

Hal Finney

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