2010/1/17 Nick Prince <m...@dtech.fsnet.co.uk>:

> You can see I am struggling with these self sampling assumptions.  I
> just cannot get a handle on how to think about them.

The SSA is difficult to get one's head around, and sometimes leads to
counterintuitive conclusions. Have you looked up Nick Bostrom's
writings in relation to the SSA and the Doomsday Argument? I believe
he was the first to use the concept of the observer-moment.

> I noticed in a
> past post (Many pasts - not according to QM) you said:
>>I attempted something like your water tank model of the multiverse with the
>>game I describe here:
>>My conclusion was that the relative measure is important in determining the
>>successor OM (I think this is what you call the RSSA, although I prefer to
>>spell it out when the idea is at all problematic), but the absolute measure
>>makes no difference from the observer's point of view (is this a rejection
>>of the ASSA?).
>>One can imagine God shuffling all the instantiations of all the OM's
>>associated with a particular observer and pulling out an OM at random, which
>>will then more probably be an OM with higher absolute measure. But this is
>>not how it works from the observer's point of view, contemplating his place
>>in the multiverse. For a start, it is impossible to know what the absolute
>>measure of an OM is, because it makes no first person difference. If it did,
>>i.e. if multiple instantiations of an OM could somehow be distinguished,
>>then by definition it is not the one OM.
> I could not access the link you gave. Do you have another link to it
> because I think I need an analogy to help me here. Jesse Mazer's was a
> good one (and correct as far as I know?) but your ideas relating to
> how the RSSA can be thought of in this analogy would be welcomed too.

I don't have that link and I only vaguely recall the details of the
game referred to (I believe no-one else until now has commented on
it!). My problem is that I worry that I might have misunderstood
something the ASSA proponents have said, since their position seems to
me obviously absurd. It's always worth reading Jesse's posts carefully
but I found it difficult to follow the motivation behind his water
tank analogy, other than an attempt at reconciling the ASSA and RSSA.

Some comments:
If you had to guess you would say that your present OM is a common
rather than a rare one, because you are more likely to be right.
However, knowledge trumps probability. If you know that your present
OM is common and your successor OM a minute from now rare - because
there are many copies of you now running in lockstep and most of those
copies are soon going to be terminated - then you can be certain that
a minute from now you will be one of the rare copies. This is what
happens in a quantum suicide experiment under the MWI. To put some
numbers on it, if there are 100 copies of you now, and in a minute 90
of those copies will be terminated, and of the remaining 10 copies 3
will be given a cup of coffee and 7 a cup of tea, then as one of the
100 original copies according to the RSSA you have a 30% chance of
surviving and getting coffee and a 70% chance of surviving and getting
tea; i.e. you have a 100% chance of surviving. Proponents of the ASSA
would say you have a 3% chance of surviving and getting coffee and a
7% chance of surviving and getting tea, or a 10% chance of surviving
overall. I think they would say something like this - the
probabilities may be off since the total contribution of pre/post
termination OM's has to be tallied up, but in any case they would not
say you are guaranteed of surviving. The only way I can understand
this latter view is in the context of an essentialist theory of
personal identity, according to which once a body is dead it's dead,
and it's impossible to live on as even a perfect copy.

Stathis Papaioannou
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