Re: Many Worlds and Oracles

From: Saibal Mitra <>
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2003 00:48:03 +0100

I am not convinced that the MWI implies that quantum suicide should work. A
hidden assumption proponents of quantum suicide make is that once you are in
a certain branch all the other possible branches are off limits to you. You
will forever move on in that branch. I reject this. I could also survive
(with memory loss) in another branch in which I never performed the
experiment in the first place. Normally this assumption doesn't affect
probabilities, except in cases were the observer doesn't survive. I would
say that, in principle, a theory of everything would allow you to compute
the probability of experiencing a ''personal history'' x, by integrating
over all possible histories X of the multiverse that are consistent with x.
Within this framework there is no room for quantum suicide to work.


Tim May wrote:

> RSA Broken By The Russians?
> Kolmogorov Cryptography System Possibly Cracked
> 1 Apr 1994
> MOSCOW (AP) -- At a press conference held minutes ago in a crowded
> hall,
> Russian mathematicians announced that a breakthrough had been made
> nearly a decade ago in the arcane branch of mathematics known as
> "cryptography," the science of making messages that are unreadable to
> others.
> Leonid Vladwylski, Director of the prestigious Moscow Academy of
> Sciences, called the press conference yesterday, after rumors began
> circulating that noted Russian-American reporter John Markoff was in
> Russia to interview academicians at the previously secret city of
> Soviet cryptographers, Kryptogorodok. The existence of
> Kryptogorodok,
> sister city to Akademogorodok, Magnetogorsk, and to the rocket cities
> of Kazhakstan, had been shrouded in secrecy since its establishment
> in
> 1954 by Chief of Secret Police L. Beria. Its first scientific
> director, A. Kolmogorov, developed in 1960 what is called in the West
> "public key cryptography." The existence of Kryptogorodok was
> unknown
> to the West until 1991, when Stephen Wolfram disclosed its existence.
> American cryptographers initially scoffed at the rumors that the
> Russians had developed public-key cryptography as early as 1960, some
> 15 years prior to the first American discovery. After interviews
> last
> year at Kryptogorodok, noted American cryptographers Professor D.
> Denning and D. Bowdark admitted that it did seem to be confirmed.
> Professor Denning was quoted at the time saying that she did not
> think
> this meant the Russians could actually break the Kolmogorov system,
> known in the West as RSA, because she had spent more than a full
> weekend
> trying to do this and had not succeeded. "Believe me, RSA is still
> unbreakable," she said in her evaluation report.
> Russia's top mathematicians set out to break Kolmogorov's new coding
> system. This required them to determine that "P = NP" (see
> accompanying
> article). Details are to be published next month in the journal
> "Doklady.Krypto," but a few details are emerging.
> The Kolmogorov system is broken by computing the prime numbers which
> form what is called the modulus. This is done by randomly guessing
> the
> constituent primes and then detonating all of the stockpiled nuclear
> weapons in the former Soviet Union for each "wrong guess." In the
> Many
> Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics, invented in 1949 by Lev
> Landau (and later, independently by Everett and Wheeler in the U.S.),
> all possible outcomes of a quantum experiment are realized.
> As Academician Leonid Vladwylski explained, "In all the universes in
> which we guessed the wrong factors, we were destroyed completely.
> But
> since we are obviously here, talking to you at this press
> conference, in
> this universe we have an unbroken record of successfully factoring
> even
> the largest of imaginable numbers. Since we are so optimistic about
> this method, we say the computation runs in 'Nondeterministic
> Pollyanna
> Time.' Allow me to demonstrate..."
> [Press Conference will be continued if the experiment is a success.]
> MOSCOW (AP), ITAR-Tass, 1 April 1994
> Appendix
> --------
> First, it was Stephen Wolfram's actual suggestion, a couple of years ago
> after the USSR imploded, that we try to recruit mathematicians and
> programmers from what he surmised must exist: a secret city of Soviet
> cryptographers. It probably exists. We did it at Los Alamos, they did
> it
> with their rocket scientists and others (Akademogorodok exists), so why
> not
> put their version of NSA a bit off the beaten track? Note that our own
> is within a stone's throw of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. I
> wouldn't
> be surprised to learn that their experts were ensconced somewhere in the
> Urals.
> I tried to acknowledge Steve with my comments. By the way, so far as I
> know, no word has come out on whether he was right in this speculation.
> (Maybe some of the Russians he does in fact have working at Wolfram are
> these folks? Naw...)
> Second, Kolmogorov did basic work on information theory, probability,
> and
> statistics. One has to assume he had ties to the Soviet cryptography
> effort (about which little has been written about, so far). If anyone
> in
> Russia could have seen public key methods coming, he is a candidate. No
> evidence that he or any other Russian did, though.
> Third, my references to Denning and Sternlight were perhaps not
> riotously
> funny (though I didn't aim for a riotously funny tone). Especially in
> light of David Sternlight's excellent follow-up here... never let it be
> said that David lacks a sense of humor. The Denning reference was to
> her
> own comments about spending a weekend or so trying (and failing, not
> surprisingly) to crack the Skipjack algorithm. (Real ciphers often take
> years to break, as with the knapsack algorithm, recent crunching of DES,
> etc.).
> Fourth, the "Many Worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics does
> exist,
> and leads to approaches such as I described. It's also a hypothetical
> way
> to ensure one's wealth: simply bet everything you own at 1000-to-1 odds
> and
> then commit suicide in all universes in which you lose. Not very
> convincing, I agree. Hans Moravec writes about this in his "Mind
> Children," 1987.
> Finally, I used the headers and format of a real article in the ClariNet
> system, then made modifications. Given that the Supreme Court has
> recently
> ruled in favor of "fair use" for satire, I hope my version of "2 Live
> Crew
> meets RSA" does not get my sued. (I could just kill myself in all
> realities in which Brad sues me.)
Received on Fri Jan 03 2003 - 18:54:24 PST

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