Re: ASSA and Many-Worlds

From: Jason <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2007 21:31:01 -0000

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Jason Resch writes:

> 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
> situations.
> 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.

In the case you laid out you give two choices:

A) The replicator
B) The coin flip

Case A results in 999,999 neutral lifetimes worth of observer moments
and 1 lifetime of excruciating torture filled observer moments. Net
outcome among all branched universes: -1

Case B results if half of one's future observer moments remebering
torture and half remembering being spared. Net outcome among all
branched universes: -0.5

Therefore it's still best to take case B, the coin flip.

What makes the result seem so unintuitive is the concept of a lifetime
of observer moments that has a net result being neutral. That means
that trough all the ups and downs in that life, if one could see it all
laid out before them, they would realize that person had so many
negative events in their life that they might as well never have been
born. With this consideration, it becomes more apparent that the
999,999 extra "neutral" lives offer no real advantage in living out,
nor does the spared life in the coin flip need to be figured in. All
that should be considered in this case is that with replication all
universes will have someone who is tortured, while in the coin flip
only half will.

Most people consider their life to be a positive thing, and few would
say they wouldn't mind if they had never been born. For most people,
if it came down to a million life times for one person's torture, it
would be a better choice over than the coin flip.

Here the replication is only the optimal choice for neutral life times.
 If a lifetime is very positive, the 999,999 good lives outweigh the
one tortured. If the spared lifetimes were very negative, the 999,999
lifetimes would only add to the negative observer moments created
through the torture, and again the coin flip is best.


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Received on Tue Jan 23 2007 - 16:32:11 PST

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