How to win the lottery in an open universe.

From: Saibal Mitra <smitra.domain.name.hidden>
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 23:11:24 +0200

In an open universe with an infinite number of stars, there are an infinite number of copies of everything.

Let's make this statement more precise. Given some finite amount of information about an object, you can always find an infinite number of object for which the same information applies.

E.g. if you define a certain category of objects, consisting of stars with masses between m1 and m2 and surface temperatures between T1 and T2, then there are an infinite number of stars in this category. If you make the difference m2-m1 smaller (i.e. if you give more information about the mass), then , of course, the density of objects in the same category decreases but the total number of object is still infinite.

Now what about a certain individual, say Alex? To answer this question we have to define what a copy of Alex is. Alex has stored a finite amount of information in his brain. I am therefore looking for another human somewhere in the universe that has stored the same information in his brain. In an open universe I can thus find Alex in an infinite number of places. Because all these copies of Alex have the same information stored in their brains, Alex doesn't really know which one of the copies he really is. He is really all of them ``simultaneously´´.

What if Alex buys a lottery ticket. When the result of the draw is announced the group of copies is split in two. The largest group consists of unlucky Alex's. To change the odds we perform the following experiment:

Alex buys lottery tickets and gives these to me. I check if he has won. I then hold a gun against Alex's head. If Alex has not won the gun is loaded else it is unloaded. I then fire the gun. After the experiment only copies of Alex remain that have won, and Alex is therefore 100% sure to win the lottery.
Received on Mon Aug 21 2000 - 14:19:02 PDT

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