Re: Fw: Quantum accident survivor

2003-11-09 Thread Hal Finney
Eric Cavalcanti, [EMAIL PROTECTED], writes:
 Suppose I sit on this copy machine in New York, and the information of the
 position and velocities (within quantum uncertainty) of all particles in
 my body is copied. Suppose, for the sake of the argument, that the mere
 retrieval of this information should pose no problem to me. It should
 me harmless.  This information then travels by wire from the reader to
 the reproducer. An almost perfect copy of me is made in Paris. Should
 I, in that moment, expect to have the first-person 50% probability of
 suddenly seeing the eiffel tower? I don't think anyone would support that.

I think your argument is valid, that this experiment is indeed the same
as stepping into a destructive duplication machine and having copies
made in two places.

The only place I think you're wrong is in the last sentence.  In fact,
I think many people here would in fact support that, i.e. they would
expect to face a 50% chance of being in the two places.

I have some subtle issues with this expectation which I will explain at
another time, but broadly speaking I would expect that if a copy were
made of me, and that copy were started up, I would in fact experience
a branching of my experience.  If I were about to be copied and I knew
that the copy was going to be started up in Paris, I would expect to
experience the two futures equally.

Others who accept the destructive-double-copy experiment would presumably
agree with this basic analysis.

And for the record, my reservation is that it might be psychologically
different to have two different futures for certain than to have two
futures in two different branches of the multiverse.  It seems to me that
this follows from the ASSA, which I provisionally accept at present.
It's hard to say what the perceptual difference will be, but it seems
like there ought to be one.

Hal



Re: Fw: Quantum accident survivor

2003-11-08 Thread Eric Cavalcanti

- Original Message - 
From: Jesse Mazer [EMAIL PROTECTED]

   I agree that a moment from now there will be a number of exactly
 equal copies. Nevertheless, I am sure I will only experience being
 one of them, so this is what I mean by ' me ' - the actual experiences
 I will have. Maybe some copy of me will win the lottery every time
 I play, but that does not give me reason to spend my money on it. I
 still believe that the probability that 'I' win is 1/10^6, even if on a
   multiverse sense, the probability that at least one copy of me wins is
1.
 The same should be the case with death if we assume a materialistic
 position.

 But you should no more expect to end up in a branch where you died than in
a
 branch where you were never born in the first place. Consider, instead of
a
 branching multiverse, a Star-Trek-style transporter/duplicator in a single
 universe, which can deconstruct you and reconstruct exact copies
 atom-by-atom in distant locations (assuming the error introduced by the
 uncertainty principle is too small to make a difference--if you don't want
 to grant that, you could also assume this is all happening within a
 deterministic computer simulation and that you are really an A.I.). To use
 Bruno Marchal's example, suppose this duplicator recreates two identical
 copies of you, one in Washington and one in Moscow. As you step into the
 chamber, if you believe continuity of consciousness is real in some
sense
 and that it's meaningful to talk about the probabilities of different
 possible next experiences, it would probably make sense to predict from a
 first-person-point of view that you have about a 50% chance of finding
 yourself in Moscow and a 50% chance of finding yourself in Washington.

 On the other hand, suppose only a single reconstruction will be performed
in
 Washington--then by the same logic, you would probably predict the
 probability of finding yourself in Washington is close to 100%, barring a
 freak accident. OK, so now go back to the scenario where you're supposed
to
 be recreated in both Washington and Moscow, except assume that at the last
 moment there's a power failure in Moscow and the recreator machine fails
to
 activate. Surely this is no different from the scenario where you were
only
 supposed to be recreated in Washington--the fact that they *intended* to
 duplicate you in Moscow shouldn't make any difference, all that matters is
 that they didn't. But now look at another variation on the scenario, where
 the Moscow machine malfunctions and recreates your body missing the head.
I
 don't think it makes sense to say you have a 50% chance of being killed
in
 this scenario--your brain is where your consciousness comes from, and
since
 it wasn't duplicated this is really no different from the scenario where
the
 Moscow machine failed to activate entirely. In fact, any malfunction in
the
 Moscow machine which leads to a duplicate that permanently lacks
 consciousness should be treated the same way as a scenario where I was
only
 supposed to be recreated in Washington, in terms of the subjective
 probabilities. Extending this to the idea of natural duplication due to
 different branches of a splitting multiverse, the probability should
always
 be 100% that my next experience is one of a universe where I have not been
 killed.

I don't quite agree with that argument, even though I was intrigued in the
first
read. The reason is similar to those exposed by Hal finney in his reply to
this
post. These copies are not copies made by the branching of MWI.

In fact, I believe that I will never experience being one of those copies.
Let me
see if I can support that:
Suppose you don't destroy the original, but merely make the copies (and this
also answers the later post from someone with the address
[EMAIL PROTECTED]). If a copy of me is made *in my own universe*, I
don't
expect to have the experiences of the copies. Suppose I sit on this copy
machine
in New York, and the information of the position and velocities (within
quantum uncertainty) of all particles in my body is copied. Suppose, for the
sake of the
argument, that the mere retrieval of this information should pose no problem
to
me. It should me harmless.
This information then travels by wire from the reader to the reproducer. An
almost
perfect copy of me is made in Paris. Should I, in that moment, expect to
have
the first-person 50% probability of suddenly seeing the eiffel tower? I
don't think
anyone would support that. And in that case, you shouldn't support the
notion that
you could ever be a copy of yourself, since you could always NOT destroy the
original in your example. Whenever you did, the original would have the
first-person experience of dying, i.e., it would never be conscious again.

This example is similar to that of the Schwarzenegger movie where he had a
clone of himself made. Of course the making of the clone has no implication
in the original person's experiences whatsoever. For instance, if 

Fw: Quantum accident survivor

2003-11-07 Thread Eric Cavalcanti
 Hi,

 - Original Message - 
 From: David Kwinter [EMAIL PROTECTED]


  I mean the absolutely exact same David Kwinter or Eric Cavalcanti as
  was the moment before.

 I agree that a moment from now there will be a number of exactly
equal copies. Nevertheless, I am sure I will only experience being
one of them, so this is what I mean by ' me ' - the actual experiences
I will have. Maybe some copy of me will win the lottery every time
I play, but that does not give me reason to spend my money on it. I
still believe that the probability that 'I' win is 1/10^6, even if on a
 multiverse sense, the probability that at least one copy of me wins is 1.
The same should be the case with death if we assume a materialistic
position.


   What do you mean by *entirely equal*?
  
   - Original Message -
   From: David Kwinter [EMAIL PROTECTED]
   To: 
   Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2003 5:19 AM
   Subject: Re: Quantum accident survivor
  
  
   On Tuesday, November 4, 2003, at 10:47  AM, Eric Cavalcanti wrote:
  
   Let me stress this point: *I am, for all practical purposes,
   one and only one specific configuration of atoms in a
   specific universe. I could never say that ' I ' is ALL the
   copies, since I NEVER experience what the other copies
   experience. The other copies are just similar
   configurations of atoms in other universes, which shared
   the same history, prior to a given point in time.*
 
 
   I would consider these other copies entirely equal to myself IF AND
   ONLY IF they are succeeding RSSA observer-moments.
  
  
  
   Glossary references   : )
  
   RSSA - The Relative Self-Sampling Assumption, which says that you
   should consider your next observer-moment to be randomly sampled
from among all
   observer-moments which come immediately after your current
   observer-moment
   and belong to the same observer.
  
   In a materialistic framework, ' I ' am a bunch of atoms. These atoms
   happen to constitute a system that has self-referential qualities that
   we call consciousness. If it happened that these atoms temporarily
   (like in a coma or anesthesy) or permanently (death) lose this quality,
   so will ' I '.
 
  I respectfully disagree - parallel universes are equally REAL- you will
  still be you! Quantum branches stem from the same exact atoms in the
  versions of us that die in tons of possible accidents everyday.

 I believe that they do in fact exist, and that they do stem from the same
atoms. But they are not 'me', in the sense that I don't see through their
eyes. That's what matters when talking about Immortality. We want to
know if WE are immortal - i.e., if our first-person experience is eternal
- not if SOME copy of us will survive.
What QTI assumes is that ' I ' cannot be one of the dead copies - i.e.,
that the dead copies should be excluded from the sampling pool. But
that is a too strong assumption, which I haven't seen any justification for.
Surely my next observer-moment should be alive or it would not be an
observer. But what makes us believe that 'we' - our first-person
individuality - must necessarily have a next observer-moment in the first
place? That is the assumption that does not seem well-based.

If non-observing states are prohibited, then we should never expect to
be in a coma, or anesthesized, for instance. Whenever you would be
submitted to a surgery, you would see that the doctor somehow failed
to apply the anesthesy correctly, and you would have a *very* conscious
experience.

-Eric.



Re: Fw: Quantum accident survivor

2003-11-07 Thread David Kwinter
On Wednesday, November 5, 2003, at 07:56  PM, Eric Cavalcanti wrote:

 Hi,

 - Original Message -
 From: David Kwinter [EMAIL PROTECTED]

I mean the absolutely exact same David Kwinter or Eric Cavalcanti as
was the moment before.
 I agree that a moment from now there will be a number of exactly
equal copies. Nevertheless, I am sure I will only experience being
one of them, so this is what I mean by ' me ' - the actual experiences
I will have. Maybe some copy of me will win the lottery every time
I play, but that does not give me reason to spend my money on it. I
still believe that the probability that 'I' win is 1/10^6, even if on a
 multiverse sense, the probability that at least one copy of me wins 
is 1.
The same should be the case with death if we assume a materialistic
position.


What do you mean by *entirely equal*?

- Original Message -
From: David Kwinter [EMAIL PROTECTED]
To: 
Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2003 5:19 AM
Subject: Re: Quantum accident survivor

On Tuesday, November 4, 2003, at 10:47  AM, Eric Cavalcanti wrote:
Let me stress this point: *I am, for all practical purposes,
one and only one specific configuration of atoms in a
specific universe. I could never say that ' I ' is ALL the
copies, since I NEVER experience what the other copies
experience. The other copies are just similar
configurations of atoms in other universes, which shared
the same history, prior to a given point in time.*


I would consider these other copies entirely equal to myself IF AND
ONLY IF they are succeeding RSSA observer-moments.


Glossary references   : )

RSSA - The Relative Self-Sampling Assumption, which says that you
should consider your next observer-moment to be randomly sampled
 from among all
observer-moments which come immediately after your current
observer-moment
and belong to the same observer.
In a materialistic framework, ' I ' am a bunch of atoms. These atoms
happen to constitute a system that has self-referential qualities 
that
we call consciousness. If it happened that these atoms temporarily
(like in a coma or anesthesy) or permanently (death) lose this 
quality,
so will ' I '.
I respectfully disagree - parallel universes are equally REAL- you 
will
still be you! Quantum branches stem from the same exact atoms in the
versions of us that die in tons of possible accidents everyday.
 I believe that they do in fact exist, and that they do stem from the 
same
atoms. But they are not 'me', in the sense that I don't see through 
their
eyes.
I still think that's you, especially if you just died and they lived 
on..   but now we're just beating a dead horse.

That's what matters when talking about Immortality. We want to
know if WE are immortal - i.e., if our first-person experience is 
eternal
- not if SOME copy of us will survive.
What QTI assumes is that ' I ' cannot be one of the dead copies - i.e.,
that the dead copies should be excluded from the sampling pool. But
that is a too strong assumption, which I haven't seen any 
justification for.
Surely my next observer-moment should be alive or it would not be an
observer. But what makes us believe that 'we' - our first-person
individuality - must necessarily have a next observer-moment in the 
first
place? That is the assumption that does not seem well-based.

If non-observing states are prohibited, then we should never expect to
be in a coma, or anesthesized, for instance. Whenever you would be
submitted to a surgery, you would see that the doctor somehow failed
to apply the anesthesy correctly, and you would have a *very* conscious
experience.
-Eric.



I think that in the case of anesthesia or any other unconscious state 
the true or false outcome of whether we regain consciousness with the 
passage of time dictates the sampling pool. The collective fates of the 
parallel copies of me under anesthesia aren't stricken from the sample 
because we must necessarily have a next observer-moment - however 
this is a concept which I am uncertain about.



Re: Fw: Quantum accident survivor

2003-11-07 Thread Hal Finney
Jesse Mazer writes:
 OK, so now go back to the scenario where you're supposed to 
 be recreated in both Washington and Moscow, except assume that at the last 
 moment there's a power failure in Moscow and the recreator machine fails to 
 activate. Surely this is no different from the scenario where you were only 
 supposed to be recreated in Washington--the fact that they *intended* to 
 duplicate you in Moscow shouldn't make any difference, all that matters is 
 that they didn't
 Extending this to the idea of natural duplication due to 
 different branches of a splitting multiverse, the probability should always 
 be 100% that my next experience is one of a universe where I have not been 
 killed.

I question this analogy.  There is an important numerical distinction
between duplication by matter recreation and by quantum splitting.  The
former increases your measure, while the latter does not.

In the case of successful duplication, your measure doubles.  If the
duplication fails and you end up with only one copy, your measure stays
the same.  But if you flip a quantum coin and end up in two branches,
your measure is constant.  If you die in one of the branches, your
measure is halved.

Therefore I don't think you can take conclusions from the one case and
apply them to the other.  You wouldn't say that failing to double your
money is the same as halving it.

Measure is important.  It is what guides our life every day.
We constantly make decisions so as to maximize the measure of good
outcomes, as nearly as we can judge.  I don't think we can neglect it
in these thought experiments.

Hal



Re: Fw: Quantum accident survivor

2003-11-07 Thread Jesse Mazer
Hal Finney wrote:

Jesse Mazer writes:
 OK, so now go back to the scenario where you're supposed to
 be recreated in both Washington and Moscow, except assume that at the 
last
 moment there's a power failure in Moscow and the recreator machine fails 
to
 activate. Surely this is no different from the scenario where you were 
only
 supposed to be recreated in Washington--the fact that they *intended* to
 duplicate you in Moscow shouldn't make any difference, all that matters 
is
 that they didn't
 Extending this to the idea of natural duplication due to
 different branches of a splitting multiverse, the probability should 
always
 be 100% that my next experience is one of a universe where I have not 
been
 killed.

I question this analogy.  There is an important numerical distinction
between duplication by matter recreation and by quantum splitting.  The
former increases your measure, while the latter does not.
In the case of successful duplication, your measure doubles.  If the
duplication fails and you end up with only one copy, your measure stays
the same.  But if you flip a quantum coin and end up in two branches,
your measure is constant.  If you die in one of the branches, your
measure is halved.
Therefore I don't think you can take conclusions from the one case and
apply them to the other.  You wouldn't say that failing to double your
money is the same as halving it.
Measure is important.  It is what guides our life every day.
We constantly make decisions so as to maximize the measure of good
outcomes, as nearly as we can judge.  I don't think we can neglect it
in these thought experiments.
What type of measure are you talking about? I had gotten the impression 
reading this list that the measure on everything, however it's 
defined--all possible computations, for example--was an open question, and 
that different TOEs might disagree. Are you talking about a type of measure 
specific to the MWI of quantum mechanics? I thought there was supposed to be 
a problem with this due to the no preferred basis problem.

In any case, if there is some sort of theory that would give objective 
truths about first-person probabilities in splitting experiments (and I'm 
not sure if you believe in continuity of consciousness or that such a theory 
is out there waiting to be found), then if first-person probabilities 
disagree with measure, however it's defined, I think most people would 
care more about maximizing the first-person probabilities of good outcomes 
as opposed to measure. The main reason to care about measure would be for 
altruistic reasons, that you don't want friends and families to have a high 
probability of suffering because they see you die, but even this could be 
stated in terms of maximizing the subjective probability of happy outcomes 
for other people.

Jesse Mazer

_
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Re: Fw: Quantum accident survivor

2003-11-07 Thread Hal Finney
Jesse Mazer wrote:
 Hal Finney wrote:
 Measure is important.  It is what guides our life every day.
 We constantly make decisions so as to maximize the measure of good
 outcomes, as nearly as we can judge.  I don't think we can neglect it
 in these thought experiments.

 What type of measure are you talking about? I had gotten the impression 
 reading this list that the measure on everything, however it's 
 defined--all possible computations, for example--was an open question, and 
 that different TOEs might disagree.

That's true, but the important point is to consider why we are searching
for a measure, or why we even think there might be a measure that is
relevant to our experience.

The reason is because our own existence is not chaotic, but ordered.
Presumably there are observers who see universes that are much more
chaotic than ours, universes where there are no natural laws but the
observers just manage to hang together somehow.  Why do we see a lawful
universe?

And in our own universe, why do more probable things happen more often
than less probable ones?  It's not tautological!  Remember our discussion
of the magical universe where dice always come up 6 but everything
else works OK.  Why don't we live in one of those universes?

The same thing happens in the MWI.  If you send almost-vertically-
polarized photons through a vertical polarizer then 99 times out of 100
they go through.  Each time, the universe splits into two branches.
After 100 photons, only one universe in 2^100 of them will see the
right statistics.  By sheer numbers of universes, almost all of them
will see about 50% go through.  Why aren't we in one of those universes?

The answer to all of these puzzles must be that fundamentally, some
universes are more likely to be experienced than others.  This is the
concept which we refer to as measure.  It is a weighting factor that
somehow must make some universes more important in the grand scheme
of things.

You are right that there are many different ideas about how measure works
and how it could apply, in both the MWI and in the larger multiverse.
But this uncertainty doesn't mean that we can reject or ignore the concept
of measure.  Its reality is forced upon us by every observation we make.

 Are you talking about a type of measure 
 specific to the MWI of quantum mechanics? I thought there was supposed to be 
 a problem with this due to the no preferred basis problem.

The proper manner for incorporating measure into the MWI is indeed an
open question at this point.  The simplest is to just introduce it ad
hoc and define the measure of a branch as the square of its amplitude.
Others claim that they can derive this from more elementary and/or
obvious assumptions.  But it's got to be there.


 In any case, if there is some sort of theory that would give objective 
 truths about first-person probabilities in splitting experiments (and I'm 
 not sure if you believe in continuity of consciousness or that such a theory 
 is out there waiting to be found),

Well, I do believe in continuity of consciousness, modulo the issues
of measure.  That is, I think some continuations would be more likely to
be experienced than others.  For example, if you started up 9 computers
each running one copy of me (all running the same program so they stay
in sync), and one computer running a different copy of me, my current
theory is that I would expect to experience the first version with 90%
probability.

However I don't see any way at this point to test this model.

 then if first-person probabilities 
 disagree with measure, however it's defined, I think most people would 
 care more about maximizing the first-person probabilities of good outcomes 
 as opposed to measure.

Our experiences every day prove that first person probabilities do
correspond to measure, but that is because we define measure to correspond
to what we experience.  That is where the amplitude-squared formula for
probability came from in QM; it is there to make theory match experience.


 The main reason to care about measure would be for 
 altruistic reasons, that you don't want friends and families to have a high 
 probability of suffering because they see you die, but even this could be 
 stated in terms of maximizing the subjective probability of happy outcomes 
 for other people.

It seems that for QS to be an attractive option, you have to believe
that measure applies all the time, except when you die.  What is the
justification for making an exception, when all the rest of the time
you act as if you believe in measure?  You would take a good bet rather
than a bad bet, but if your death is involved you'll stop caring?

Hal