RE: Interested in thoughts on this excerpt from Martin Rees

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2006 22:44:49 +1000

I have asked the question before, what do I experience if my measure
in the multiverse increases or decreases? My preferred answer, contra
the ASSA/ QTI skeptics, is "nothing". However, the interesting observation
that our perception of time changes with age, so that an hour seems
subjectively much longer for a young child than for an older person, would
seem to correlate with decreasing measure as a person grows older. One
explanation for this could be that if there are more copies of us around
in the multiverse, we have more subjective experience per unit time. This
would mean that if we lived forever, the years then the centuries and millenia
would fly past at a subjectively faster and faster rate as we age and our
measure continuously drops.

I actually believe that a psychological explanation for this phenomenon is more
likely correct (an hour is a greater proportion of your life if you are a young child)
but it's an interesting idea.

Stathis Papaioannou

> Date: Fri, 4 Aug 2006 02:10:53 +1000
> From:
> To:
> Subject: Re: Interested in thoughts on this excerpt from Martin Rees
> Someone called me to task for this posting (I forget who, and I've
> lost the posting now). I tried to formulate the notion I expressed
> here more precisely, and failed! So I never responded.
> What I had in mind was that future observer moment of my current one
> will at some point have a total measure diminishing at least as fast
> as an exponental function of OM age. This is simply a statement that
> it becomes increasingly improbable for humans to live longer than a
> certain age.
> Whilst individual OMs will have exponentially decreasing measure due
> to the linear increase in complexity as a function of universe age,
> total OM measure requires summing over all OMs of a given age (which
> can compensate). This total OM measure is a 3rd person type of
> quantity - equivalent to asking what is the probability of a conscious
> organism existing at universe age t. It seems plausible that this
> might diminish in some exponential or faster fashion after a few
> standard deviation beyond the mean time it takes to evolve
> consciousness, but I do not have any basis for making this claim. If
> we assume a normal distribution of times required for evolving
> consciousness, then the statement is true for example, but I'm wise
> enough to know that this assumption needs further justification. The
> distribution may be a meanless thing like a power law for example.
> So sorry if I piqued someones interest too much - but then we can leave
> this notion as a conjecture :)
> Cheers
> On Fri, Jul 28, 2006 at 12:07:37AM +1000, Russell Standish wrote:
> > Thanks for giving a digested explanation of the argument. This paper
> > was discussed briefly on A-Void a few weeks ago, but I must admit to
> > not following the argument too well, nor RTFA.
> >
> > My comment on the observer moment issue, is that in a Multiverse, the
> > measure of older observer moments is less that younger ones. After a
> > certain point in time, the measure probably decreases exponentially or
> > faster, so there will be a mean observer moment age.
> >
> > So contra all these old OMs dominating the calculation, and giving
> > rise to an expected value of Lambda close to zero, we should expect
> > only a finite contribution, leading to an expected finite value of
> > Lambda.
> >
> > We don't know what the mean age for an observer moment should be, but
> > presumably one could argue anthropically that is around 10^{10}
> > years. What does this give for an expected value of Lambda?
> >
> > Of course their argument does sound plausible for a single universe -
> > is this observational evidence in favour of a Multiverse?
> >
> > Cheers
> --
> *PS: A number of people ask me about the attachment to my email, which
> is of type "application/pgp-signature". Don't worry, it is not a
> virus. It is an electronic signature, that may be used to verify this
> email came from me if you have PGP or GPG installed. Otherwise, you
> may safely ignore this attachment.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A/Prof Russell Standish Phone 8308 3119 (mobile)
> Mathematics 0425 253119 (")
> Australia
> International prefix +612, Interstate prefix 02
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >

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Received on Sat Aug 05 2006 - 08:46:50 PDT

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