Re: consciousness based on information or computation?

From: <>
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 14:39:26 -0800

Wei Dai, <>, writes:
> On Thu, Jan 14, 1999 at 08:37:17AM -0800, wrote:
> > The speed, number, and medium of instantiations are irrelevant.
> > All that really matters is whether the program is instantiated at all.
> > (I still cling to the hope that we can objectively define whether a
> > given program has been instantiated, but that is another issue.)
> But if everything exists, that would imply every conscious experience has
> the same measure, which then implies that the set of conscious experiences
> is finite.

I think there could be other ways of varying the measure of experiences
than by having multiple copies of them. An objection sometimes raised
to the MWI is that any event with two outcomes should always have 50-50
odds. That's because the universe splits into two pieces, you go into
each piece, you observe one outcome in each universe, and so the odds
should be perceived as equal.

My response is that even if there are just two universes, they could have
different measures. I assume that the measure of a universe branch is
an inherent property of it, and that variation in measure of branches is
not caused by variation in how many identical copies of that branch exist.

I was reading an article on the MWI this morning, and they said
something about the quantum mechanical formula that the probability of
an observation is equal to the square of the projection of the state
onto the basis vector corresponding to observed value. Apparently this
formula has been shown (in the 1960s) to follow from the other axioms
of QM. This result was originally found in the context of the MWI but
actually applies to any of QM. So you don't have to include it as an
extra axiom.

It seems very natural in QM to associate a probability measure derived
in this manner with each branch of the wave function. It is not so
clear whether that can be extended to an everything-exists model.

Received on Fri Jan 15 1999 - 14:48:50 PST

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