(quantum) suicide

From: Saibal Mitra <smitra.domain.name.hidden>
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2003 23:51:46 +0100

Hall Finney: ''You might want to clarify what you mean by quantum suicide
> "working". What do you hope to accomplish via QS? What effect will it
> have on your subjective perceptions?''

By ''quantum suicide working'' I mean that you could make the probability of
winning the lottery as close to 100% as you like, by building better and
better suicide machines. I think that quantum suicide does not work. Simply,
because the probability distribution of the states I can find myself in is a
fixed quantity. The continuous time evolution without memory loss I
(normally)experience is not a fundamental propery of the laws of nature.
Rather this follows from the conservation of probability and applies only
when the person himself in also ''conserved''. In other cases, e.g. suicide
experiments, this breaks down. If you have a 99.9% of dying, then I would
say that you would have to assign a probability of 99.9% to experiencing
other branches inconsistent with the one you are in now. of course, this
means that you won't have any recollection of performing the experiment. The
99.9% is distributed according to the fixed probability distribution of the
states I can find myself in. To me this is the only possible consistent
picture of the plenitude.

----- Original Message -----
From: Hal Finney <hal.domain.name.hidden>
To: <everything-list.domain.name.hidden>
Sent: Saturday, January 04, 2003 8:32 PM
Subject: Re: Many Worlds and Oracles
> I think we all agree with the objective consequences of QS. Someone kills
> themself in some branch of the multiverse. They are removed from that
> branch but continue to live on in others. The disagreements begin when
> we consider the subjective effects.
> The most limited view, I think, is that QS will subjectively fail.
> That is, if you attempt to kill yourself in some clean way, the machine
> will work in some universes and fail in others, but you will only notice
> the result in those universes (or branches of the MWI) where it fails.
> In single-universe models, we would predict that a highly reliable
> QS machine will simply terminate your existence. You won't perceive
> anything, after it goes off. In multiverse models, a QS believer would
> predict that you will continue to exist even after the machine goes
> off. Your measure will be reduced, but your existence will continue.
> This is the most limited and restricted prediction with regard to QS in
> a multiverse.
> (With some assumptions, you could get the same prediction of continued
> existence in a single-universe model. If we assume that the universe
> is infinite in extent so there are multiple copies of you, or that some
> future civilization will simulate your mind perfectly, then this could be
> a mechanism for your existence to continue subjectively even after the QS
> machine goes off. But in a finite and "small" single-universe model with
> limited future computing capacity, then a QS death is final and complete.)
> A more ambitious version of QS attempts to change and hopefully improve
> your circumstances by pruning those branches where bad things happen.
> By doing this, your total measure is reduced, but your average happiness
> (averaged over all instances of yourself) is increased. Because your
> total measure is reduced, your total happiness is decreased (unless
> you only use QS to eliminate branches where your happiness is negative,
> that is, where you are better off dead). So there is a tradeoff between
> increasing your average happiness while decreasing your total happiness.
> I believe it is a matter of personal preference which one is better, so I
> think on this basis that QS is right for some people and wrong for others.
> Another ambitious flavor of QS predicts that we can distinguish multiverse
> from single-universe realities by attempting QS. It is even possible
> that all versions of death fail just like QS would, hence that everyone
> who has ever lived has experienced subjective immortality, if multiverse
> theories are true. By this reasoning, each person will eventually become
> subjectively convinced of multiverse theories (if they deduce that this
> is the explanation for their bizarrely extended lifespans).
> Hal Finney
Received on Sun Jan 05 2003 - 17:55:59 PST

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