Re: Quantum accident survivor

From: Hal Finney <>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2003 09:21:16 -0800

Eric Cavalcanti, <>, writes:
> 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.

Yes, that makes sense.

> 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.

Yes, but keep in mind that there are also infinitely other copies which
*are* smooth continuations. And these probably outnumber the ones which
are discontinuous (assuming that terms like "outnumber" can be generalized
to infinite sets, or else that the sets involved are merely large and not

> 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.

Rather, you should expect to feel both, with some probability. And I
think that the multiverse holds a greater proportion of continuations
that are continuous than that are discontinuous. Fundamentally this
is because the conditions that promote consciousness and therefore the
formation of brains like mine will tend to involve continuous chains
of experience. Only in a relatively few universes will I be subject to
unknowing duplications. Therefore I think it is highly unlikely but not
impossible that I will suddenly experience a discontinuity.

Let us suppose, though, that our society evolves to a state where such
duplications are routine. Anyone may have their brain scanned at any
time, without their knowledge, and new copies of them created. Suppose I
am such a copy, in fact, I am a 10th generation copy; that is, 10 times
in my life I have found myself having an experience similar to what you
described, a discontinuity where I was just walking along or sitting
there, and suddenly found myself stepping out of a duplicating machine
because someone copied me.

I think you will agree that my memories are reasonable; that is, that
anyone who has gone through such an experierence as I describe will in
fact remember these discontinuities.

Given my history, wouldn't it be reasonable for me to expect, at any
future moment, to possibly face another such discontinuity? It has
happened many times before, both to me and to other people that I know;
it is an often-discussed phenomenon of the world, in this scenario.
Just like anything else that happens occasionally to everyone, it would
be perfectly reasonable and rational to have an expectation that it
might happen to you.

Received on Mon Nov 10 2003 - 12:23:45 PST

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