Re: On begin very old

From: Jacques M. Mallah <>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 16:28:33 -0500 (EST)

On Sat, 16 Oct 1999, Christopher Maloney wrote:
> Jacques ... replied:
> > We have been over this *many* times. A) "Old" is when your finite
> > brain is too old to even know how old it is.
> If we, while alive, are continually growing and assimilating more
> information and more capacity for information, then this state
> will never be reached.

        The brain size would have to grow to infinity in that case. That
is only possible with an 'omega point' which can only occur in a closed
recollapsing universe. So it is experimentally disproven.

> > B) In any case, "old" is
> > much older than the age that would be expected if QTI is false:
> This statement begs the question.

        Which question? What max age would be expected without QTI? My
guess is 100 yrs.

> For example, we live at a time where it may be possible, in the near
> future (whatever *that* means) to increase human longevity to the point
> where we are "practically" immortal (in the common use of the word).
> Then the things that would decrease our measure would be common household
> accidents and the like. If the probability of our death by accident were
> to remain constant, then our measure would still be decreasing exponentially
> (albeit with a much longer time constant than now). But that's not likely.
> As we learn and grow, our safety precautions will become more sophisticated
> (as they are becoming now), and we should expect the probability of
> accidents to continue to decrease. Hence our measure will decrease by "less
> than exponential".

        Unlikely. In any case the measure argument applies against any
type of immortality, whether due to QTI, to improved medicine, or to a
religious afterlife in heaven. The fact is we see around us an era of
mortality. The effective probability of that would be 0 if in the future
there will be an era of immortality for any reason.
        This is my favorite counterargument to Pascal's wager. My wager
is that if immortality was possible I would (with 100% probably, although
it will not always happen, in the mathematical sense of those two
statements) not find myself in this era of mortality.

> So I'm still not convinced that computational continuations of me at age
> 1000 are necessarily of a measure so low that I would not expect to find
> myself at that age.

        The argument does not apply with 100% force against a mere 10x
extension of lifespan, but I still think it is unlikely.

                         - - - - - - -
              Jacques Mallah (
       Graduate Student / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
"I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
            My URL:
Received on Thu Nov 04 1999 - 13:33:27 PST

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