Re: zombie wives

From: Russell Standish <>
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 13:53:23 +1000 (EST)

> From: Russell Standish <>
> > [JM wrote]
> >> Then answer this: do two people have more consciousness than one
> >> person? And is it not better to kill one person than two, all else being
> >> equal?
> >
> >The first question has no meaning, as one can't quantify conciousness,
> I suggest you ask BM to explain it to you (see below).

I think I've heard BM say the opposite!

> >and the latter question is an ethical question totally unrelated to
> >what we're discussing. One can paraphrase it as saying "is it better
> >to do one bad thing than two bad things" - to which the answer is of
> >course yes.
> It's not at all unrelated. Your answer proves that you do think
> consciousness can be quantified, no matter what you say to dispute it.

There is obviously a huge chain of logic here that the rest of the
world can't see. How is "goodness" connected to "conciousness"?

> >> I have always maintained that each implementation of a conscious
> >> computation has the same amount of measure as any other. You can call
> >> that the SSA. The QS claim is inconsistent with that.
> >
> >You'd probably better enunciate what you mean by QS claim. Last I
> >heard, QS was an idea (based on QTI and SSA) that one could engineer a
> >preferred outcome by comitting suicide (or attempting it, from the
> >suicider's point of view). What is its claim?
> I think you'd call it the relative SSA. Ask a fellow QSer to
> explain it.

If you mean the relative SSA, then say that! QS only makes sense with
relative SSA, which we all know you disbelieve in. It also needs the
idea of QTI.

> On 20 xxx -1, Marchal wrote:
> > Jacques Mallah wrote:
> > > No, I'm just a sane MWIer. I have explained my views on this on
> > >previous occasions.
> > > According to the standard MWI, the measure of a human is
> > >proprtional to the squared amplitude of the term in the wavefunction which
> > >that human is in. As long as there is no killing, etc. total the measure
> > >is therefore conserved as a function of time.
> > > If the measure was not conserved, but grew exponentially, then
> > >later times would be very heavily favored, which is inconsistent with our
> > >observations.
> >
> > This is correct with the ABSOLUTE SSA. Not with the RELATIVE one.
> WRONG, at least according to the standard definition of measure
> which I have made clear is the one I use, and which you should use when
> discussing any statements by me.

Yes - I would have to agree with Jacques here. The confusion arises
because there is not a simple relationship between the number of
distinct "worlds" containing observer A, and the measure of all worlds
containing that observer. The number of differentiated individuals
will indeed increase exponentially (as BM says), however the measure
will remain constant or decrease (I think most of us would argue that
it should be strictly decreasing, as each instant offers at least a
small probability of death). I am, of course, assuming the absence of
any copying device, which appears to be true at present.

Now this implies that an individual's measure decreases the older that
individual gets. This is the basis of Jacques' argument against
QTI. In absolute SSA, an individual concious being is a sample from
the set of all observer moments. There is no time, one just is. Under
this picture, one could never expect to be all that old. A subtle
variation is that one's conciousness hops around the set of all
observer moments, presumably in some "super-time". The observer would
presumably be completely unaware of this.

Under relative SSA, there is time. Each observer moment is connected
to a range (presumably infinite) of future observer moments. The
relative SSA predicts that the observer will see at the next instant
of time an observer moment with the greatest measure, subject to its
lying in the future of the current observer moment. That measure may
be fantastically small (eg just prior to a fatal crash) - it just has
to be the largest from that set. Provided that the total measure of
future observer moments is greater than zero (ie the "no cul-de-sac
branch" assumption), one arrives at QTI. Quantum Suicide is the idea
that one can control the different outcomes (future observer moments)
sufficiently well to obtain a beneficial outcome from attempting
suicide. As should be well known by now, I'm sceptical of this -
Murphy has a boody large spanner to throw in the works!

> If you want to know how to translate whatever you may believe into
> language I can *understand*, here is the algorithm. In one column put
> whatever you believe. In another column, put a situation *such that* IF
> the absolute SSA *were* true, all statements about such things as
> effective probability or morality are in exact correspondence with what
> the first column would have us believe.
> Thus, in the above example, if you don't believe later times are
> favored, then in my language you believe that measure is conserved. By
> the same token, in my language, you believe that measure is conserved
> during a QS, which I disagree with.
> The 'relative SSA' is then some kind of formula to predict what
> will happen to the measure with various experiments.
> My definition of measure is the correct one, as well as the most
> illuminating.
> > > My attempt to explain the situation is to take the measure to be
> > >proportional to the number of implementations of conscious computations.
> > >This first requires a definition of implementation, and that has been the
> > >roadblock. The final step is to show that the number of implementations
> > >is proportional to the squared amplitude.
> > > Quantum events, then, just cause the implementations to
> > >differentiate rather than creating new ones. This is reasonable since
> > >each implementation should have slightly different boundaries to mark off
> > >where the formal states of the computation are in the space of
> > >wavefunction configurations.
> > > Since the number of implementations is infinite and they are
> > >parameterized by continuous parameters, only infinite groups of them have
> > >any significance. This is analagous to coloring a surface. It does not
> > >matter if one point on a surface is colored, what matters is the *area*
> > >that is colored. Measure is analagous to such an area. It is
> > >quantifiable because just as two people have twice as much consciousness
> > >as one person, doubling the number of implementations would double the
> > >measure.
> >
> > I agree, basically. So I guess it is the absolute/relative point which
> > distinguish between us. The immortality distinction results.
> > Nevertheless I don't understand you when you say:
> >
> > > Quantum events, then, just cause the implementations to
> > >differentiate rather than creating new ones.
> >
> > I guess you disagree with Q19 of Michael Clive Price's FAQ at
> >
> > Q19 = "Do worlds differentiate or split?"
> Well, first, an implementation is not a 'world'. It involves a
> map from physical states to formal states. The *physics* of the
> computational wavefunction interpretation is just the usual wave equation,
> just as Everrett used. The only thing I add is the computationalist
> proceedure for relating math to mind.
> Second, Price is wrong on a good deal of the entire FAQ. Q19 is
> apparently an attempt to dispel a naive misconception that the MWI is
> similar to what would happen if several slightly different classical
> worlds existed, combined with an attack on the 'many minds' idea as
> proposed by David Albert. It is, of course, possible to concoct an
> interpretation in which 'worlds' do differentiate rather than split, but
> it wouldn't be the standard MWI physics.
> Other obvious examples of Price's errors are his 'derivation' of
> the effective probabilities, and his example of how to experimentally
> 'disprove' "the Copenhagen interpretation". There are many more.
> - - - - - - -
> Jacques Mallah (
> Graduate Student / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
> "I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
> My URL:

Dr. Russell Standish Director
High Performance Computing Support Unit,
University of NSW Phone 9385 6967
Sydney 2052 Fax 9385 6965
Room 2075, Red Centre
Received on Sun Aug 22 1999 - 21:08:21 PDT

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