Re: "Last-minute" vs. "anticipatory" quantum immortality

From: David Kwinter <>
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2003 15:35:31 -0700

Thank you Bruno & Jesse, this "anticipatory QTI" is the most awesome
interpretation of QM I've ever heard.

Is it too optimistic to think that we are being 'nudged' toward a
biotech breakthrough which will give us legitimate/objective

On Wednesday, November 12, 2003, at 02:34 AM, Jesse Mazer wrote:

>> From: Bruno Marchal <>
>> To:
>> Subject: Re: Fw: Quantum accident survivor
>> Date: Sat, 08 Nov 2003 15:56:31 +0100
>> At 14:36 07/11/03 -0800, Hal Finney wrote:
>> snip
>>> Well, I do believe in continuity of consciousness, modulo the issues
>>> of measure. That is, I think some continuations would be more
>>> likely to
>>> be experienced than others. For example, if you started up 9
>>> computers
>>> each running one copy of me (all running the same program so they
>>> stay
>>> in sync), and one computer running a different copy of me, my current
>>> theory is that I would expect to experience the first version with
>>> 90%
>>> probability.
>> Almost OK, but perhaps false if you put *the measure* on the
>> (infinite)
>> computations going through those states. I mean, if the 9 computers
>> running one copy of you just stop (in some absolute way I ask you to
>> conceive for
>> the benefit of the argument), and if the one computer running the
>> different copy, instead of stopping, is multiplied eventually into
>> many
>> self-distinguishable copies of you, then putting the measure on the
>> histories should
>> make you expect to experience (and memorized) the second version more
>> probably.
>> It is the idea I like to summarize in the following diagram:
>> \ / | |
>> \ / | |
>> \/ = | |
>> | | |
>> | | |
>> That is, it is like a "future" bifurcation enhances your present
>> measure.
>> It is why I think comp confirms Deutsch idea that QM branching is
>> really
>> QM differentiation. What do you think? I mean, do you conceive that
>> the
>> measure could be put only on the "maximal" possible computations?
>> Bruno
> This is an important point which I think people often miss about the
> QTI. It is sometimes spoken of as if the QTI only goes into effect at
> the moment you are about to die (and thus have no successor
> observer-moment), which would often require some fantastically
> improbable escape, like quantum tunneling away from a nearby nuclear
> explosion. But if later bifurcations can effect the first-person
> probability of earlier ones, this need not be the case.
> Consider this thought experiment. Two presidential candidates, let's
> say Wesley Clark and George W. Bush, are going to be running against
> each other in the presidential election. Two months before the
> election, I step into a machine that destructively scans me and
> recreates two copies in different locations--one copy will appear in a
> room with a portrait of George W. on the wall, the other copy will
> appear in a room with a portrait of Wesley Clark. The usual
> interpretation of first-person probabilities is that, all other things
> being equal, as the scanner begins to activate I should expect a 50%
> chance that the next thing I see will be the portrait of George W.
> appearing before me, and a 50% chance that it will be Wesley Clark.
> But suppose all other things are *not* equal--an additional part of
> the plan, which I have agreed to, is that following the election, the
> copy who appeared in the room with the winning candidate will be
> duplicated 999 times, while the copy who appeared in the room with the
> losing candidate will not experience any further duplications. Thus,
> at any time after the election, 999 out of 1000 versions of me who are
> "descended" from the original who first stepped into the duplication
> machine two months before the election will remember appearing in the
> room with the candidate who ended up winning, while only 1 out of 1000
> will remember appearing in the room with the losing candidate.
> The "last minute" theory of quantum immortality is based on the idea
> that first-person probabilities are based solely on the
> observer-moments that qualify as immediate successors to my current
> observer-moment, and this idea suggests that as I step into the
> duplication machine two months before the election, I should expect a
> 50% chance of appearing in the room with the portrait of the candidate
> who goes on to win the election. But as Bruno suggests, an alternate
> theory is that later bifurcations should be taken to influence the
> first-person probabilities of earlier bifurcations--under this
> "anticipatory" theory, I should expect only a 1 out of 1000 chance
> that I will appear in the room with the portrait of the losing
> candidate. This would lead to a weird sort of "first-person
> precognition", where after the duplication but before the election,
> I'd have good reason to believe (from a first-person point of view)
> that I could predict the outcome with a high probability of being
> right. But this kind of prediction would be useless from a
> third-person point of view, since all outside observers would see two
> symmetrical copies who both seem equally certain that their candidate
> will be the winner. Of course this is not much stranger than the basic
> quantum immortality idea that if I am in some dangerous accident, most
> third-person observers will see me end up dead, while I have a close
> to 100% chance of surviving from a first-person POV.
> Applied to quantum immortality, this "anticipatory" idea suggests it
> would not be as if the universe is allowing events to go any which way
> right up until something is about to kill me, and then it steps in
> with some miraculous coincidence which saves me; instead, it would be
> more like the universe would constantly be nudging the my first-person
> probabilities in favor of branches where I don't face any dangerous
> accidents which require "miracles" in the first place. Of course since
> this would just be a probabilistic effect, I might still occasionally
> face accidents where I had to be very lucky to survive, but the lower
> the probability there is of surviving a particular type of accident,
> the less likely I am to experience events leading up to such an
> accident.
> Jesse Mazer
> _________________________________________________________________
> Great deals on high-speed Internet access as low as $26.95.
> (Prices may vary by service area.)
Received on Wed Nov 12 2003 - 17:38:12 PST

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