RE: Quantum Theory of Immortality - research proposal

From: Higgo James <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 09:20:46 -0000

Excellent point. And now consider 10^500 identical computers with 10^500
iterations; and then consider them evolving very slightly differently each
iteration, so that in the 'end' just a few have survived - say each had a
one in 10^499 chance of surviving that long. My point is that the original
array could 'expect' to end up in the state of one of the surviving

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Hal Finney []
> Sent: 17 November 1998 02:26
> To:
> Subject: Re: Quantum Theory of Immortality - research proposal
> Jacques M. Mallah, <>, writes:
> > On Mon, 16 Nov 1998, Higgo James wrote:
> > > Does the 'many-worlds' interpretation of quantum mechanics
> > > imply immortality?
> >
> > No, it sure doesn't. While in some worlds you survive, the total
> > measure associated with all copies of you is clearly reduced by a factor
> > equal to what your 'chance of survival' appears to be. For all
> practical
> > purposes, that is the same as if there were, for example, 100 copies of
> > you and I go out and kill 50. You are 50% likely to be killed.
> I would say, on the other hand, that if you have 100 IDENTICAL copies of
> yourself, and kill 50 of them, you are still alive. There was really only
> one consciousness, instantiated in parallel across 100 brains.
> Consider an AI system running on a computer, and suppose it is conscious
> and intelligent. Run exactly the same program on 100 computers, in lock
> step. Shut down 50 of them. Does the AI feel anything? I would say not.
> Suppose the 100 computers are connected by wires, so that each point on
> each internal circuit is electrically connected to the corresponding
> points on all the other 99 computers. Then you really have just
> one computer, with internal redundancy. Remove 50 of the computers,
> decreasing the redundancy by 50%. Does the AI feel anything? I would
> say not.
> For people who would give different answers in the two cases, let the
> wires be variable resistances, so that we can smoothly vary between
> the two cases - with perfect resistance we have the first case, with
> perfect conduction we have the second case. Now we can vary smoothly
> between the cases and get two different answers. It does not seem
> reasonable that there should be an objectively definable threshold
> resistance which splits the consciousness of the AI.
> If someone wants to answer "yes" to both cases, I can construct more,
> leading down to a computer with double-width metal traces and transistors,
> and ask whether an AI run on such a wide computer would feel different
> from an AI running on a thin computer. Surely everyone would agree that
> the answer here is "no." Then I can split the traces with a variable
> resistance and reproduce the cases above.
> Hal Finney
Received on Tue Nov 17 1998 - 01:23:23 PST

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