Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
If I understand you correctly, your discussion of "copies" really refers
to copies that exist in different identical worlds, e.g. like different
copies of the same AI running in identical virtual environments, so that
they can run "in lockstep". Jack is talking about copies in the common
sense of initially physically identical beings who however occupy
different places in the same spacetime and hence have different
viewpoints and experiences. So killing one of Jack's copies does end a
separate stream of consciousness, while "killing" one copy of your
lockstep copies just reduces the redundancy. I note that such lockstep
copies can only be realized if they are in different (virtual) worlds
which are kept in lockstep in spite of quantum randomness.
2010/1/27 Jack Mallah <jackmal...@yahoo.com>:
See above. That would be a measure-conserving process, so it would be OK.
I would be upset at the prospect of someone killing me even if they
filled the world with angelic beings by way of atonement, because it
would not feel as if any of them were me. On the other hand, if there
were a million copies of me in lockstep and all but one were
destroyed, then each of the million copies would feel that they had
continuity of consciousness with the remaining one, so they are OK
with what is about to happen. Your measure-preserving criterion for
determining when it's OK to kill a person is just something you have
made up because you think it sounds reasonable, and has nothing to do
with the wishes and feelings of the person getting killed.
It is just a matter of definition whether it is the same guy or a different
guy. Because now we have one guy at a time, it is convenient to call them the
same guy. If we had two at once, we could call them the same if we like, but
the fact would remain that they would have different (even if qualitatively the
same) consciousnesses, so it is better to call them different guys.
Making two copies running in lockstep and killing one of them is equivalent to
this: the one that is killed feels that his stream of consciousness continues
in the one that is not killed. It is true that in the second case the number of
living copies of the person has halved, but from the point of view of each copy
it is exactly the same as the first case, where there is only ever one copy
That one that is killed doesn't feel anything after he is killed. The one that
lives experiences whatever he would have experienced anyway. There is NO
TRANSFER of consciousness. Killing a guy (assuming he is not an evil guy or in
great pain) and not creating a new guy to replace him is always a net loss.
The general point is that what matters to the person is not the objective
physical events, but the subjective effect that the objective physical events
What matters is the objective reality that includes all subjective experiences.
Suppose there is a guy who is kind of a crazy oriental monk. He meditates and
subjectively believes that he is now the reincarnation of ALL other people. Is
it OK to now kill all other people and just leave alive this one monk?
No, because the people who are killed won't feel that they have
continuity of consciousness with the monk, unless the monk really did
run emulations of all of them in his mind. The fact of the matter is
that we are *not* the same physical being throughout our lives. The
matter in our bodies, including our brains, turns over as a result of
metabolic processes so that after a few months our physical makeup is
almost completely different. It is just a contingent fact of our
psychology that we consider ourselves to be the same person persisting
through time. You could call it a delusion. I recognise that it is a
delusion, but because my evolutionary program is so strong I can't
shake it, nor do I want to. I want the delusion to continue in the
same way it always has: the new version of me remembers being the old
version of me and anticipates becoming the even newer version of me.
If I'm killed with no remaining copies, the delusion ends, and that's
bad. If I go through ordinary life being destroyed and recreated by my
cellular machinery that's OK, and if I am destroyed and then
reconstituted then that's OK too, because the delusion is preserved.
And it wouldn't matter to me if more copies of me were destroyed than
reconstituted or allowed to live, since each of the copies would
continue to have the delusional belief that his consciousness will
continue in the sole survivor.
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