RE: hypotheses of everything; measure

From: Higgo James <>
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 09:27:39 -0000

Max Tegmark is away for 2 weeks, hence not reading at the moment. What you
say is fine for 1000 Bobs and Toms but not for an infinite number. The
probability goes from 'negligable' to 100%. The real question is whether it
is possible to be one of the dead Bobs, or whether yet you will always find
that you are and ever will be a surviving Bob.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jacques M. Mallah []
> Sent: 18 November 1998 23:15
> To:
> Subject: Re: hypotheses of everything; measure
> On Mon, 16 Nov 1998, Wei Dai wrote:
> > On Mon, Nov 16, 1998 at 06:32:23PM -0500, Jacques M. Mallah wrote:
> > > However, if we assume all the original programs are running at the
> > > same speed, the thing to do would be to look at the total number of
> > > conscious computations implemented by each as time goes to infinity.
> (For
> > > more on what I mean by an implementation, which is a nontrivial
> concept,
> > > see my web page on interpretation of QM.)
> >
> > A big problem with this idea is that the probablities you end up with
> will
> > be very sensitive to the exact nature of the computer you're using to
> run
> > the programs. For example if you use a quantum computer instead of a
> > Turing machine, simulations of quantum universes will go much faster and
> > the conscious computations in those universes will have larger measures.
> Perhaps, but if so that's just an example of the point that I
> made, that even if all possibilities exist there are still free parameters
> in specifying how to count them up in order to make predictions. So it's
> really not a problem with the idea I described, which is a simple (thus
> interesting) choice for the free parameters, but rather it's a problem for
> the more ambitious goal of having no information, which I currently doubt
> could be achieved.
> Thanks for posting the archive. I looked at it and noticed that
> Max Tegmark has never posted to this list. Do you know why not? Does he
> read it?
> It seems to me that the view that the quantum suicide experiment
> could show anything comes from a misconception about measure. I know this
> has been discussed before, but I'll give it one more shot.
> If there are 900 people named Bob and 100 named Tom, all else
> being equal, the effective probability of a typical conscious observation
> to be associated with thinking one's name is Bob is 90%. That is the
> measure associated with such observations. It does not matter if all the
> Bobs are identical; they could be, and that should not alter the measure.
> If it did matter, than it would be difficult to explain how, in
> the MWI of QM, the probabilities could depend on the amplitude of the wave
> function. (See my page on interpretation of QM.)
> In terms of computers, and the variable resistance connections
> proposed by Hal Finney, there is indeed an objective distinction that
> should be made between independent vs. linked computers. It is not a
> question of whether the AI 'feels a difference'; obviously, if it runs the
> same computation, it must be able to report the same feeling to us.
> The distinction is simply a question of how many different
> implementations of that computation there are. As explained on my page,
> one requirement for an implementation is that causal relationships must be
> true between states of the computation, both the actual states and the
> counterfactual possible states.
> If the computers are wired together, they're no longer independent
> implementations; it would be impossible to change the initial conditions
> so that some computers would pass through a different set of states from
> the others. If however the resistance is high enough and the digital
> gates are still able to distinguish high vs. low voltage states without
> interference, the computers will behave independently and have more
> implementations.
> Now, if the average Bob lifetime is 1/36 as long as the average
> Tom lifetime due to a propensity of Bobs to commit quantum suicide, the
> measure of Bobs drops to 25% of the total measure, and the total measure
> itself is greatly reduced (though unobservable).
> It works the same across time. Suppose the Bobs have a halflife
> of 20 years. The effective probability of an observation being associated
> with Bob before the age of 40 is then 75% of Bob's total measure. The
> effective probability at age 1000+ is negligable.
> Finally, I want to point out that surviving a quantum suicide
> attempt does NOT provide any evidence for the MWI. The only way to have
> such an observation is by luck, and it makes no difference whether it is
> an effective probability or a real probability, it ain't likely to happen
> again if you try another suicide.
> - - - - - - -
> Jacques Mallah (
> Graduate Student / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
> "I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
> My URL:
Received on Thu Nov 19 1998 - 01:29:46 PST

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