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From: Bruno Marchal <marchal.domain.name.hidden>

Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2004 16:11:39 +0100

Here is an interesting post by Jesse. Curiously I have not been able to find it

in the archive, but luckily I find it in my computer memory.

Is that normal? I will try again later.

Jesse's TOE pet is very similar to the type of TOE compatible with the comp

hyp, I guess everyone can see that.

Jesse, imo, that post deserves to be developed. The way you manage to save

partially the ASSA (Absolute Self-Sampling Assumption) is not very clear to me.

Bruno

At 04:43 14/11/03 -0500, Jesse Mazer wrote:

*>Hal Finney wrote:
*

*>>
*

*>>Jesse Mazer writes:
*

*>> > In your definition of the ASSA, why do you define it in terms of your next
*

*>> > observer moment?
*

*>>
*

*>>The ASSA and the RSSA were historically defined as competing views.
*

*>>I am not 100% sure that I have the ASSA right, in that it doesn't seem
*

*>>too different from the SSSA. (BTW I have kept the definitions at the end
*

*>>of this email.) (BTW, BTW means By The Way.) But I am pretty sure about
*

*>>the RSSA being in terms of the "next" moment, so I defined the ASSA the
*

*>>same way, to better illustrate its complementary relationship to the RSSA.
*

*>>
*

*>>The real difference between these views was not addressed in my
*

*>>glossary, which is that the RSSA is supposed to justify the QTI, the
*

*>>quantum theory of immortality, while the ASSA is supposed to refute it.
*

*>>That is, if you only experience universes where your identity continues,
*

*>>as the RSSA implies, then it would seem that you will never die. But if
*

*>>your life-moments are ruled by statistics based on physical law as the
*

*>>ASSA says, then the chance that you will ever experience being extremely
*

*>>old is infinitesimal.
*

*>>
*

*>>Personally I think the ASSA as I have it is somewhat incoherent, speaking
*

*>>of a "next" observer moment in a framework where there really isn't any
*

*>>such notion. But as I said it has been considered as the alternative
*

*>>to the RSSA. I invite suggestions for improved wording.
*

*>
*

*>I think that proponents of the type of ASSA you’re talking about would say
*

*>that the experience of consciousness passing through multiple
*

*>observer-moments is simply an illusion, and that I am nothing more than my
*

*>current observer-moment. Therefore they would not believe in quantum
*

*>immortality, and they also would not define the ASSA in terms of the
*

*>"next" observer-moment, only the current observer-moment. I think you’d be
*

*>hard-pressed to find any supporters of the ASSA who would define it in the
*

*>way you have.
*

*>
*

*>But as I say below, I think it is possible to have a different
*

*>interpretation of the ASSA in which consciousness-over-time is not an
*

*>illusion, and in which it can be compatible with the RSSA, not opposed to it.
*

*>
*

*>>
*

*>> > Wouldn't it be possible to have a version of the SSA where
*

*>> > you consider your *current* observer moment to be randomly sampled
*

*>> from the
*

*>> > set of all observer-moments, but you use something like the RSSA to guess
*

*>> > what your next observer moment is likely to be like?
*

*>>
*

*>>That seems contradictory. You have one distribution for the current
*

*>>observer-moment (sampled from all of them), and another distribution for
*

*>>the next observer-moment (sampled from those that are continuous with
*

*>>the same identity). But the current observer-moment is also a "next"
*

*>>observer-moment (relative to the previous observer-moment). So you can't
*

*>>use the ASSA for current OM's and the RSSA for next OM's, because every
*

*>>next is a current, and vice versa. (By OM I mean observer-moment.)
*

*>
*

*>Well, any theory involving splitting/merging consciousness is naturally
*

*>going to privilege the current observer-moment, because it’s the only
*

*>thing you can be really sure of a la "I think therefore I am"…when talking
*

*>about the past or the future, there will be multiple pasts and multiple
*

*>futures compatible with your present OM, so you can only talk about a sort
*

*>of probabilistic spread.
*

*>
*

*>That said, although some might argue there’s a sort of philosophical
*

*>contradiction there, I think it is possible to conceive of a mathematical
*

*>theory of consciousness which incorporates both the ASSA and the RSSA
*

*>without leading to any formal/mathematical contradictions. There could
*

*>even be a sort of "complementarity" between the two aspects of the theory,
*

*>so that OM’s with the highest absolute probability-of-being would also be
*

*>the ones that have the most other high-absolute-probability OM’s that see
*

*>them as a likely "successor" in terms of relative probability-of-becoming.
*

*>In fact, an elegant solution for determining a given OM’s absolute
*

*>probability-of-being might be to simply do a sum over the probability of
*

*>becoming that OM relative to all the other OM’s in the multiverse,
*

*>weighted by their own probability-of-being.
*

*>
*

*>Here’s a simple model for how this could work. Say you have some large set
*

*>of all the OM’s in the multiverse, possibly finite if there is some upper
*

*>limit on the complexity of an OM’s, but probably infinite. You have some
*

*>theory of consciousness that quantifies the "similarity" S between any two
*

*>given OM’s, which deals with how well they fit as the same mind at
*

*>different moments, how many of the same memories they share in common, how
*

*>similar are their causal patterns, and so on. You also have some absolute
*

*>measure on all the OM’s, a "probability-of-being" B assigned to each
*

*>one—this is basically just my idea that the self-sampling assumption could
*

*>be weighted somehow, so that the ideal way to use the ASSA is to assume
*

*>that your current OM is randomly sampled from the set of all possible
*

*>observer-moments, weighted by their own probability-of-being B.
*

*>
*

*>Then, to determine the relative probability-of-becoming various possible
*

*>OM’s, I could just multiply their similarity S to my own current OM by
*

*>their absolute measure B representing each one’s probability-of-being.
*

*>This would insure that even though a version of me observing a dragon
*

*>popping out of my computer screen may be have just as much similarity S to
*

*>my current mental state, in terms of memories and the like, as a version
*

*>of me who’s watching the computer screen behaving normally, if one OM is
*

*>objectively less probable (lower B) due to the laws of nature, I will have
*

*>a higher relative probability of becoming the OM who sees
*

*>business-as-usual. This would also insure that if I step into a
*

*>teleportation machine and the machine reconstructs two people, one whose
*

*>brain is close to identical to mine and one who has a very different
*

*>personality and memories, then even if the OM’s of both these people have
*

*>about the same absolute probability-of-being B, I am far more likely to
*

*>become the one who’s more similar to me because his similarity S to my
*

*>current OM would be much higher.
*

*>
*

*>And as I suggested earlier, it would be neat if the probability-of-being B
*

*>could itself be derived by something like a sum over the S’s between me
*

*>and all the other other OM’s, each one weighted by their own B-rating.
*

*>This idea could be summed up by the slogan "the most probable present
*

*>experiences are the ones that are high-probability successors to other
*

*>experiences that are themselves highly probable present experiences". In
*

*>this way it might even be possible to bootstrap a unique B-rating for all
*

*>OM’s, starting with only a knowledge of the similarity ratings between
*

*>them. Consider the following simple universe with only three observers X,
*

*>Y, and Z, and a known matrix of similarity ratings S between each pair:
*

*>
*

*> X Y Z
*

*>X1.00 0.60 0.35
*

*>Y 0.60 1.00 0.25
*

*>Z 0.35 0.25 1.00
*

*>
*

*>In this case, if the B-ratings for each one were determined by a sum over
*

*>the S-ratings for the others weighted by their own B-ratings, and you
*

*>represent X’s B-rating by the variable x, Y’s B-rating by the variable y,
*

*>etc., then you’d have some simultaneous equations that’d actually allow
*

*>you to find a unique self-consistent solution for x, y, and z:
*

*>
*

*>x = (0.60)y + (0.35)z
*

*>y = (0.60)x + (0.25)z
*

*>z = (0.35)x + (0.25)y
*

*>
*

*>I haven’t actually planned these numbers out, so the solution probably
*

*>leads to some variables being negative or greater than one, which doesn’t
*

*>really make sense if the B’s are supposed to be probabilities, but the
*

*>basic idea here is that you can bootstrap the B’s just by knowing the S’s.
*

*>
*

*>Now keep in mind, this is all a very cartoonish sketch, I don’t really
*

*>think whatever theory of consciousness is used to determine relative
*

*>probabilities would be as simple as multiplying a "similarity rating" by
*

*>an absolute probability; among other things, "similarity" fails to capture
*

*>the crucial issue of the directionality of subjective time, my current OM
*

*>might be just as similar to an OM 2 seconds ago as it is to one 2 second
*

*>from now, but I expect a higher probability I’ll become the one 2 seconds
*

*>in the future. Also, I suggested earlier that the complexity of an OM’s
*

*>consciousness might play a part in both the absolute probability (so my
*

*>present experience is more likely to be that of a human than an insect)
*

*>and relative probability (so I am more likely to experience becoming a
*

*>copy with an intact brain than one with brain damage), but the model I
*

*>presented doesn’t take that into account. Still, it’s sort of a pet theory
*

*>of mine that the real TOE will turn out to be analogous to this model in
*

*>the following ways:
*

*>
*

*>1. It will include a theory of consciousness that can take my present OM
*

*>along with various possible future OM’s, and determine the relative
*

*>probability of my experiencing each one in my future based on a
*

*>combination of features that are inherent to each OM (analogous to the
*

*>‘similarity’ rating in my model) and an external measure which assigns
*

*>each one an absolute probability. The relative probability on different
*

*>future observer-moments would be used as weights in the RSSA, and the
*

*>absolute probability of different present observer-moments would be used
*

*>in a weighted ASSA.
*

*>
*

*>2. Even if you don’t know the correct absolute probability of any of the
*

*>OM’s to start with, there will turn out to be a unique self-consistent
*

*>solution to what this absolute measure on OM’s has to look like, given
*

*>only the theory of consciousness and the assumption that all possible OM’s
*

*>exist (the ‘everything’ part of the theory). This would be analogous to
*

*>the unique solution to the simultaneous equations in the cartoon model above.
*

*>
*

*>This would be neat because the laws of physics we observe could hopefully
*

*>be derived (in principle anyway) from the absolute and relative measures
*

*>on all OM’s, so you’d basically be deriving all the laws of the universe
*

*>from just a theory of consciousness and platonic assumption that every
*

*>conscious pattern that can exist, does exist. The problem with any TOE
*

*>that incorporates a "theory of consciousness" is that it runs the risk of
*

*>being a dualist theory if any aspect of first-person probabilities derives
*

*>from something other than that theory (like an objective measure on
*

*>universes rather than OM’s to explain why I don’t experience Harry Potter
*

*>worlds), but this idea is nicely monist and simple.
*

*>
*

*>It might seem that a theory centered on consciousness and observer-moments
*

*>would suggest that any part of the universe that isn’t observed by a
*

*>sentient being doesn’t really exist, but I imagine identifying distinct
*

*>"observer-moments" with something like "patterns of causal relationships"
*

*>(or finite computations, perhaps), so that all such patterns, even the
*

*>random jostling of molecules in a cloud of gas, would qualify as
*

*>observer-moments with very low-grade levels of consciousness. That way the
*

*>absolute probability of each such pattern, along with the probabilistic
*

*>relationships between different patterns, might be used to derive what we
*

*>ordinarily think of as the laws of physics, especially if the laws of
*

*>physics can ultimately be stated in terms of nothing but relationships
*

*>between elementary events, as physicists like Lee Smolin have suggested.
*

*>This is similar to the "naturalistic panpsychism" idea I found described
*

*>on the same website that hosts the many-worlds FAQ (although I disagree
*

*>with them on a few points):
*

*>
*

*>http://www.hedweb.com/lockwood.htm
*

*>
*

*>Apologies for the long post, but I haven’t really outlined my own pet TOE
*

*>on this list before, so I wanted to get all the major details in there.
*

*>
*

*>Jesse Mazer
*

*>
*

*>_________________________________________________________________
*

*>MSN Messenger with backgrounds, emoticons and more.
*

*>http://www.msnmessenger-download.com/tracking/cdp_customize
*

Received on Sat Jan 31 2004 - 10:17:09 PST

Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2004 16:11:39 +0100

Here is an interesting post by Jesse. Curiously I have not been able to find it

in the archive, but luckily I find it in my computer memory.

Is that normal? I will try again later.

Jesse's TOE pet is very similar to the type of TOE compatible with the comp

hyp, I guess everyone can see that.

Jesse, imo, that post deserves to be developed. The way you manage to save

partially the ASSA (Absolute Self-Sampling Assumption) is not very clear to me.

Bruno

At 04:43 14/11/03 -0500, Jesse Mazer wrote:

Received on Sat Jan 31 2004 - 10:17:09 PST

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