On 3/11/2012 11:41 PM, Stephen P. King wrote:
On 3/11/2012 11:47 PM, meekerdb wrote:
On 3/11/2012 8:03 PM, Stephen P. King wrote:
On 3/11/2012 7:39 PM, meekerdb wrote:
On 3/11/2012 2:43 PM, acw wrote:
On 3/11/2012 21:44, R AM wrote:
This discussion has been long and sometimes I am confused about the whole
point of the exercise.

I think the idea is that if comp is true, then the future content of
subjective experience is indeterminated? Although comp might seem to entail
100% determinacy, just the contrary is the case. Is that correct?
3p indeterminacy in the form of the UD*, 1p determinacy from the perspective of those minds relative to bodies in the UD*.

However, I think that if comp is true, future experience is not only
indeterminate, but also arbitrary: our future experience could be anything
at all. But given that this is not the case, shouldn't we conclude that
comp is false?
You're basically presenting the "White Rabbit" problem here. I used to wonder if that is indeed the case, but after considering it further, it doesn't seem to be: your 1p is identified with some particular abstract machine - that part is mostly determinate and deterministic (or quasi-deterministic if you allow some leeway as to what constitutes persona identity) in its behavior, but below that substitution level, anything can change, as long as that machine is implemented correctly/consistently. If the level is low enough and most of the machines implementing the lower layers that eventually implement our mind correspond to one world (such as ours), that would imply reasonably stable experience and some MWI-like laws of physics - not white noise experiences. That is to say that if we don't experience white noise, statistically our experiences will be stable - this does not mean that we won't have really unusual "jumps" or changes in laws-of-physics or experience when our measure is greatly reduced (such as the current statistically winning machines no longer being able to implement your mind - 3p death from the point of view of others).

This implies that our measure is strongly correlated with the regularity of physics. I'm not sure you can show that, but if it's true it means that physics is fundamental to our existence, even if physics can be explained by the UD. Only worlds with extremely consistent physics can support consciousness (which seems unlikely to me).

Hi Brent,

I do not understand how you think that "only worlds with extremely consistent physics can support consciousness" is unlikely. Are you only considering a single momentary instance of consciousness? It is quite easy to prove that if there exist multiple conscious entities that can communicate coherently with each other (in the sense that they can "understand" each other) then the physics of their common world will necessarily be maximally consistent as it if where not then pathological Harry Potterisms will occur that would prevent the arbitrary extension of their experience.

I don't know what you mean by 'the arbitrary extension of their experience'.
Hi Brent,

Oh, let's see. If we could upload ourselves into artificial hardware then we are by definition "arbitrarily extending our experiences"... If we go with the "reincarnation" theories we get arbitrary extensions as well...

How would magical events prevent anything.

An Evil Wizard could pop into my vicinity and banish me to the Nether plane! A "magical act", if real and just part of a story, is an event that violates some conservation law. I don't see what else would constitute magic... My point is that Harry Potterisms would introduce cul-de-sacs that would totally screw up the statistics and measures, so they have to be banished.

"Have to be"?  To satisfy you...or what?

Chain-wise consistency and concurrency rules would prevent these pathologies, but to get them we have to consider multiple and disjoint observers and not just "shared" 1p as such implicitly assume an absolute frame of reference. Basically we need both conservation laws and general covariance. Do we obtain that naturally from COMP? That's an open question.

We have reports of miracles all the time from less scientific places and times and they don't seem to prevent anything. We tend to not believe them because they violate the physics which we suppose to be consistent in time and place - but you can't invoke that as evidence that physics is consistent on pain of vicious circularity.

    That is my point. We do not see such violations, not ever!

Additionally, it would be extremely difficult for such worlds to have conservation laws.

But the symmetry principles that result in conservation laws are arguably human selections. We pay attention to and build 'laws' on what does not depend on particular time/place/orientation; so may conservation of momentum and energy are (at least approximately) inevitable.

How so? It is one thing to have symbolic representations of experiences and so forth, it is another to have explanations that must be built for each and every situation with no possibility of symmetries and isomorphisms that would relate them into frame independent forms. Physics, as in what physicist study and experiment about, cannot be considered as mere instrumentalism of the moment! So the case that conservation laws are necessary of a "real world" seems inescapable.

But which ones? We used to think Gallilean ones. Now we think Lorentzian - except in General Relativity where energy conservation is only locally defined - or in QM where it's unitarity - or...

The question settles into one of two possible vacua: 1) laws are imposed by fiat from some underlying "reality" or 2) laws are the maximally consistent relations possible for a large but finite collections of communicating Minds. I am betting on the latter.

What 'relations...for minds'?  Can't minds agree on everything except maybe "X and 

There is also the problem that according to current theories are many possible kinds of physics even if you limit them to just those consistent with string theory, much less Classical physics.

Classical physics is a long decayed corpse. Strings are already dull and flat. Check out Nima Arkani-Hamed's latest talk : http://streamer.perimeterinstitute.ca/mediasite/viewer/NoPopupRedirector.aspx?peid=ff8f97a4-2848-4b93-98d9-1218de2070af&shouldResize=False

But my main point was conditional. IF consciousness is strongly dependent on physics then Bruno's program of replacing physics with arithmetic isn't going anywhere because arithmetic will produce too many kinds of worlds and only by studying physics will we be able to learn about our world.

I agree and that is why I am focusing on situations that involve multiple observers interacting with each other as a way to overcome this.

It is because of this line of reasoning that I resist the Platonic interpretation of COMP as it puts pathological universes on the same level of likelihood as non-pathological ones.

That's the question. Is there some canonical measure that makes the non-pathological ones overwhelmingly likely?

I do not think so.

That's what I said.

For one reason, there are structures that simply cannot be reduced to Unary or Boolean algebras and thus cannot be described in terms of single or [0,1] valued functions. This tells us that if we are to get non-pathological worlds as not only likely but highly probable there has to exist irreducible aspects to the physical "stuff". In classical physics we can always just use the least action principle, but that requires infinite computations for each and every pair of Observer moments to find the answer to the simple question: Is there a smooth diffeomorphism between these spaces? In QFT things are not that easy.

But in practice we calculate these things as exactly as we want by digital computer approximations of the continuous functions. So what difference would it make if the world were discrete at the Planck scale?

One thing that I have found in the last few days is that it is impossible to define the computational operations of deleting, copying and pasting onto/into topological manifolds unless one is willing to give up the invariance of genus and Betti numbering. Cutting and pasting seem to be absolutely necessary operations of computation

Why do you say that?  Quantum computers don't duplicate and don't erase.

so if physical worlds are topologically invariant (modulo Ricci flows, etc.) then they are cannot be used as primitives in the computational sense. This seems to add support to Bruno's result, but does not quite meet the Platonic expectations that he is assuming, since it also shows that we cannot construct spaces from mere arithmetic operations, we also need some form of infinitesimal calculus (to parametrize Ricci flows, homotopies and so forth). We need the non-standard stuff.



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