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From: Saibal Mitra <smitra.domain.name.hidden>

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2004 18:41:11 +0200

----- Oorspronkelijk bericht -----

Van: "Kory Heath" <kory.heath.domain.name.hidden>

Aan: <everything-list.domain.name.hidden>

Verzonden: Monday, April 26, 2004 03:00 AM

Onderwerp: Re: Are we simulated by some massive computer?

*> At 10:48 AM 4/25/04, Saibal Mitra wrote:
*

*> >This is the ''white rabbit'' problem which was discussed on this list a
*

few

*> >years ago. This can be solved by assuming that there exists a measure
*

over

*> >the set of al universes, favoring simpler ones.
*

*>
*

*> I don't believe there are any grounds for assuming that, so the problem
*

*> isn't solved for me.
*

This can be motivated in a number of ways. I think Hall Finney made this

argument some time ago, and it is my favorite argument. Suppose you identify

a universe with the program specifying it. The probability that you find

yourself in a universe X will be proportional to the priori probability of X

multiplied by the number of times you will be computed in X. It is possible

to define universes Y_{n} that are defined by executing X n times. The

probability that you find yourself in Y_{n} is thus proportional to the

prior probability of Y_{n} times n. To have a well normalizable probability

distribution Y_{n} has to go to zero faster than 1/n. Now, the size of

program Y_{n} depends linearly on Log(n) (because you have to specify the

number n in the program). So, asuming that the prior probability only

depends on program size, it must decay (at least) exponentially as a

function of program size.

*>
*

*> >Once you
*

*> >consider the whole of Platonia all you have is a probability distribution
*

*> >over the set of all possible states you can be in (because you can't
*

define

*> >time in a normal way anymore).
*

*>
*

*> I don't agree with this. I can imagine an infinite 2D lattice of cells,
*

*> seeded with the binary digits of pi, and ask the following question: if
*

the

*> rules of Conway's Life were applied to this lattice, what would it look
*

*> like after a million ticks of the clock? There's an objective answer to
*

*> this question, and that answer exists in Platonia. I believe that this
*

*> implies that the universe I just described (and all other possible CA
*

*> universes, and much more) exists in Platonia. I define "time" as the
*

*> "ticking of the clock" in such computational worlds, so I believe time
*

*> exists in Platonia. (Of course, in another sense, Platonia exists in a
*

*> timeless "all at once". This is similar to the way that time exists in the
*

*> "block universe" of relativity theory.)
*

*>
*

I agree. I was refering to the whole of Platonia which is timeless.

*> >There is no conditional probability for your
*

*> >next experience given what you have experienced now. A valid question is:
*

*> >What is the probability that you will be in a state P that contains the
*

*> >memory that you have been in a state P'.
*

*>
*

*> I find this way of looking at things very confusing. What do you mean by
*

*> "you" in this formulation? Is "you" a thing that jumps from state to
*

state?

*> If so, then we have some form of time. If not, what is this "you"?
*

*> Obviously it is something that can be said to be "in a state P"
*

(otherwise,

*> you wouldn't consider your above question valid). But what does it mean
*

for

*> "you to be in a state P"? If it's true that "you are in a state P", are
*

you

*> just timelessly in state P, or what? How can you even talk about something
*

*> "being" without talking about time?
*

It's confusing, but it has a big advantage over the more intuitive point of

view. This is how I see it (I know that others on thius list disagee with

me):

Clearly there exists a program that represents me. If you know exactly how

my brain works, you can run me on a computer. I thus have to identify myself

with that program. Note that if you run this program it will change itself

(I would have a notion of time even if simulated without any external

environment). So, by program I mean the program plus the exact computational

state it is in.

Then, I like to get rid of the concept of personal identity. The idea that

Saibal yesterday is the same as Saibal today cannot be made precise. You can

try to identify programs p and p' by saying that they represent the same

person if by running p you eventually obtain p'. But what about external

influences changing a person? There are other reasons too (see my input in

the the quantum suicide debate).

To see how it works (in principle) consider Saibal doing an experiment. Let

S1 denote the program specifying me just before I start the experiment and

S2 the program after I observe the result (taking seriously what I wrote

above, I couldn't write the sentence like this...). Suppose that there are

many possible outcomes, and I want to know the probability that I will

observe a particular outcome. According to the intuitive view there exists a

conditional probability that you are in state S2 given that you were in

state S1, and that is what you should try to compute using some theory.

However, since S2 and S1 are strictly speaking different persons this is

difficult, as I wrote above. Instead, one should compute quantities that

refer to single persons (programs) only. In this case I could, using a prior

probability over all possible universes, compute the probability

distribution over the set of all programs that remember being in S1 and have

observed the outcome of the experiment. This strictly refers to single

programs and is thus well defined. Note that this remains well defined in

cases where a particular experimental outcome would kill you (so-called

(quantum) suicide experiments).

Saibal

Received on Mon Apr 26 2004 - 12:54:05 PDT

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2004 18:41:11 +0200

----- Oorspronkelijk bericht -----

Van: "Kory Heath" <kory.heath.domain.name.hidden>

Aan: <everything-list.domain.name.hidden>

Verzonden: Monday, April 26, 2004 03:00 AM

Onderwerp: Re: Are we simulated by some massive computer?

few

over

This can be motivated in a number of ways. I think Hall Finney made this

argument some time ago, and it is my favorite argument. Suppose you identify

a universe with the program specifying it. The probability that you find

yourself in a universe X will be proportional to the priori probability of X

multiplied by the number of times you will be computed in X. It is possible

to define universes Y_{n} that are defined by executing X n times. The

probability that you find yourself in Y_{n} is thus proportional to the

prior probability of Y_{n} times n. To have a well normalizable probability

distribution Y_{n} has to go to zero faster than 1/n. Now, the size of

program Y_{n} depends linearly on Log(n) (because you have to specify the

number n in the program). So, asuming that the prior probability only

depends on program size, it must decay (at least) exponentially as a

function of program size.

define

the

I agree. I was refering to the whole of Platonia which is timeless.

state?

(otherwise,

for

you

It's confusing, but it has a big advantage over the more intuitive point of

view. This is how I see it (I know that others on thius list disagee with

me):

Clearly there exists a program that represents me. If you know exactly how

my brain works, you can run me on a computer. I thus have to identify myself

with that program. Note that if you run this program it will change itself

(I would have a notion of time even if simulated without any external

environment). So, by program I mean the program plus the exact computational

state it is in.

Then, I like to get rid of the concept of personal identity. The idea that

Saibal yesterday is the same as Saibal today cannot be made precise. You can

try to identify programs p and p' by saying that they represent the same

person if by running p you eventually obtain p'. But what about external

influences changing a person? There are other reasons too (see my input in

the the quantum suicide debate).

To see how it works (in principle) consider Saibal doing an experiment. Let

S1 denote the program specifying me just before I start the experiment and

S2 the program after I observe the result (taking seriously what I wrote

above, I couldn't write the sentence like this...). Suppose that there are

many possible outcomes, and I want to know the probability that I will

observe a particular outcome. According to the intuitive view there exists a

conditional probability that you are in state S2 given that you were in

state S1, and that is what you should try to compute using some theory.

However, since S2 and S1 are strictly speaking different persons this is

difficult, as I wrote above. Instead, one should compute quantities that

refer to single persons (programs) only. In this case I could, using a prior

probability over all possible universes, compute the probability

distribution over the set of all programs that remember being in S1 and have

observed the outcome of the experiment. This strictly refers to single

programs and is thus well defined. Note that this remains well defined in

cases where a particular experimental outcome would kill you (so-called

(quantum) suicide experiments).

Saibal

Received on Mon Apr 26 2004 - 12:54:05 PDT

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