Re: Quantum accident survivor

From: Eric Cavalcanti <>
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 03:06:31 -0200

----- Original Message -----
From: "Hal Finney" <>

> > Suppose I sit on this copy machine in New York, and the information of
> > position and velocities (within quantum uncertainty) of all particles in
> > my body is copied. Suppose, for the sake of the argument, that the mere
> > retrieval of this information should pose no problem to me. It should
> > me harmless. This information then travels by wire from the reader to
> > the reproducer. An almost perfect copy of me is made in Paris. Should
> > I, in that moment, expect to have the first-person 50% probability of
> > suddenly seeing the eiffel tower? I don't think anyone would support
> I think your argument is valid, that this experiment is indeed the same
> as stepping into a destructive duplication machine and having copies
> made in two places.


> The only place I think you're wrong is in the last sentence. In fact,
> I think many people here would in fact "support that", i.e. they would
> expect to face a 50% chance of being in the two places.

I wouldn't know. That seems too weird an expectation. But let me try to
think about that...

> I have some subtle issues with this expectation which I will explain at
> another time, but broadly speaking I would expect that if a copy were
> made of me, and that copy were started up, I would in fact experience
> a branching of my experience. If I were about to be copied and I knew
> that the copy was going to be started up in Paris, I would expect to
> experience the two futures equally.
> Others who accept the destructive-double-copy experiment would
> presumably agree with this basic analysis.
> And for the record, my reservation is that it might be psychologically
> different to have two different futures for certain than to have two
> futures in two different branches of the multiverse. It seems to me that
> this follows from the ASSA, which I provisionally accept at present.
> It's hard to say what the perceptual difference will be, but it seems
> like there ought to be one.

I think that would certainly be psychologically different, and that may be
an argument against that position (how should I call it? Is there a name?).

You already agreed that the non-destructive-copy experiment is equivalent
to the destructive-double-copy experiment, so let me argue using the first
In the case of non-destructive-copy experiment, the copy is
made in a distinct place/time from the original. They could as well be done
100,000 years in the future and in the Andromeda galaxy, and you should
as well expect to have the subjective experience of being that copy with
the same probability as being the smooth continuation of yourself on Earth.
But in the multiverse, there are certainly infinite other perfect copies of
yourself which are not smooth continuations. We can imagine thousands of
ways how these copies could be made. In computer simulations, in a distant
"Earth" in the Tegmark plenitude, or elsewhere.

But suppose you just stepped outside the Paris duplicator. Unaware of the
experiment that is being made, your last memory is sitting in front of your
computer, reading this email. Suddenly, you see the Eiffel Tower. That
would surely be a psychological experience that we don't have too often.
And since there are infinite copies of yourself at any given moment, if you
should expect to be any of them at the next moment, you shouldn't expect
to ever feel the continuous experience you do.

Therefore, since I do actually have a continuous experience of myself,
then 'I am not my copies'.

Received on Mon Nov 10 2003 - 06:06:45 PST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:08 PST