RE: many worlds theory of immortality

From: Jesse Mazer <>
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 14:42:37 -0400

>From: "Stathis Papaioannou" <>
>Subject: RE: many worlds theory of immortality
>Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 23:39:21 +1000
>>From: "Jesse Mazer" <>
>>Subject: RE: many worlds theory of immortality
>>Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 04:04:48 -0400
>>>From: "Stathis Papaioannou" <>
>>>Subject: RE: many worlds theory of immortality
>>>Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 17:22:34 +1000
>>>Jesse Mazer wrote:
>>>>>You're right, alas. If QTI is correct, then each of us can expect to be
>>>>>the last conscious being in some branch of the multiverse. On the
>>>>>brighter side, we will have probably billions or trillions of years
>>>>>during which even the most sociable amongst us may well tire of
>>>>>sentient company!
>>>>What's your reasoning? If QTI is correct, I think each of us should more
>>>>likely expect that civilization (a community of sentient beings) will
>>>>last as long as allowed by the laws of physics, and any being finding
>>>>himself approaching the physical limit (whether the limit is due to
>>>>increasing entropy, a big crunch, or a big rip) is probably more likely
>>>>to find that everything he's experienced up until then has really been a
>>>>simulation in some larger meta-universe than he is to find himself
>>>>lasting on thanks to an endless string of hugely unlikely quantum events
>>>>or something like that.
>>>The probability that my consciousness will survive in some branch of the
>>>MW is exactly 1, if QTI is correct. The probability that my friend will
>>>survive in the same branch as me may be close to 1 - for example, if we
>>>are surgically joined, or if we are both implemented on the same chip -
>>>but it must be less than 1, unless it is actually physically impossible
>>>for only one of us to die. Therefore, over many branchings, my friend is
>>>sure to die and I will be left on my own. From the symmetry of the
>>>situation, my friend will in turn survive in some branch of the MW, but
>>>as t->infinity the probability that I will be still alive in that branch
>>>approaches zero.
>>For any given friend, sure. I thought you meant "alone" in the sense of
>>having no other sentient beings to talk to. Also, if you live in some sort
>>of "Omega Point" scenario where the computing power available to
>>civilization grows without bound (not necessarily in the specific way
>>Tipler proposed), maybe it'd be possible to reconstruct lost friends by
>>simulating all possible past histories of the universe up until a certain
>>time, then looking at the subset of universes that produced a being with
>>your exact mental state at that time, so you can find a past history
>>that's consistent with your memories.
>I think you can apply the same reasoning to show you will be not only the
>only sentient being, but ultimately, the only *thing* in the universe (is
>this the same as saying you will ultimately become the universe?). If QTI
>is true, your consciousness will survive until the end of time in some
>branch of the MW with Pr=1. The Pr that any subset of the current universe
>(excluding you) will survive in the same branch as you is <1, so as
>eternity approaches, the Pr that anything other than you survives
>approaches zero. This is true even of the substructure sustaining you,
>since there is a nonzero Pr that you will find some other means of
>sustenance in the future. It is also true of your toys, that you might use
>to reconstruct happier times. The *only* thing guaranteed to survive
>indefinitely is you bare consciousness.
>--Stathis Papioannou

One thing to take into account is that QTI doesn't say your experience of
subjective time will match that of physical time--if there is a branch
containing a version of you having a certain experience near the end of the
universe, and there is some other branch where the exact same experience is
taking place in a *simulation* of the end of the universe that's being run
at a much earlier cosmological time, it is certainly possible that your next
experience will be of the beings that ran this simulation removing you from
it and showing you the "real" world. So, if you reach a point where the only
thing that could sustain your consciousness would be a mind-bogglingly
unlikely string of luck (the particles that make up your body constantly
tunneling into configurations that keep you alive, in defiance of
thermodynamics), then I'd expect there to be a lot more branches of the
multiverse where your continued experience turns out to be due to the fact
that you turned out to be living in a simulation being run well before the
end of the universe (after all, a mind-bogglingly unlikely string of luck
can only happen in a mind-bogglingly small fraction of all branches, while
branches where life is able to run giant simulations of various kinds need
not be so rare).

Another posssibility, as I said before, is some type of Omega-Point-type
scenario where the amount of computations civilization can do grows without
bound, in which case the probability that everyone else around you will die
might look like a decreasing geometric series such as
1/8+1/16+1/32+1/64+1/128+..., so that the probability of your going on
having experiences of seeing civilization around you survive for an infinite
time would not go to zero.

Received on Thu Apr 14 2005 - 15:38:05 PDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:10 PST