RE: ASSA and Many-Worlds

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2007 16:37:51 +1100

Jason Resch writes:

> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > OK, but I am looking at it from the perspective of going into the replicator.
> > Suppose you were offered either the above choice - you are duplicated and
> > one of the copies will be tortured - or a biased coin will be tosed and you
> > will have a 51% chance of being tortured and a 49% chance of being spared.
> > From a selfish perspective, it would be best to go for the duplication, because
> > since you can only experience being one person at a time, you can expect to
> > come out of the duplicator with a 50% chance of being tortured as opposed
> > to the 51% chance in the case of the coin toss.
> >
> >From a selfish perspective with the understanding of observer moments
> one should seek a course of action that would decrease the total
> measure of negative observer moments (torture), while increasing
> positive ones. Which course of action to take in this example is less
> clear, is the duplicate allowed to lead a productive and happy life
> after the torture or is it to be tortured for the rest of its life?
> Also, how happy of a life does the spared duplicate go on to
> experience?

Let's say being spared is "neutral" while being tortured is obviously bad, even
if you are tortured for only a few minutes. Also, assume the intensity of the
torture and the quality of life on being spared is the same in duplication/ coin toss
> In the case of duplication, the measure of observer moments which
> experience torture is the same measure you have prior to entering the
> replicator. While with the biased coin flip the measure of observer
> moment being tortured is 51% your original measure. If your selfish
> goal was to limit negative observer moments by any means (without
> regard to positive ones), the best decision is to take the coin flip.

What if I change the example and say you will be duplicated a million times, and
only one of the copies will be tortured? From a selfish point of view, you can
almost certainly expect to find yourself one of the copies that will be spared,
and I think you would be crazy to choose the coin flip. The equivalence of the
coin flip/ duplication example (when the probabilities are equal) is why we cannot
distinguish between MWI and CI of QM. It makes no difference to me whether
the world splits into two and one copy of me is tortured if I toss the coin or whether
there is only one version of me with a 50% chance of being tortured.

> The right course of action in my mind would depend on whether or not
> the life of the spared duplicate has enough positive moments to make up
> for the torture, if not, then the best course of action would be to go
> with the coin flip. The amount by which the spared life would have to
> make up for the tortured life increases with the bias of the coin. At
> least this is how I see things.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Tue Jan 23 2007 - 00:47:07 PST

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