RE: many worlds theory of immortality

From: Jesse Mazer <>
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:13:06 -0400

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>Jesse Mazer writes:
>>>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.
>No doubt, common implementations of your mind will predominate over more
>bizarre ones at any given point in time. It is also possible to imagine
>some scenarios where you survive indefinitely with all of your friends, for
>example implemented in an Omega Point computer. But eternity is a very long
>time. If it is possible that the Omega Point computer can break down, then,
>as Murphy teaches, it certainly *will* break down - eventually.

Not if the probability of it breaking down decreases in a geometric way from
century to century (or millennium to millennium, aeon to aeon, whatever) as
more and more of the universe is incorporated into the giant distributed
computing network (or as the increasing computing power allows for more and
more sophisticated ways of anticipating and avoiding civilization-ending
disasters). Like I said, if the probability of a catastrophic breakdown was
1/8 in one century, 1/16 in the next, 1/32 in the next, and so on, then the
total probability of it breaking down at any point in the entire infinite
history of the universe would be the sum of the infinite series
1/8+1/16+1/32+1/64+1/128+... , which is equal to 1/4. In such a branch
there'd be a 3/4 chance that civilization would last forever.

Also, you didn't address my other point, which is that even if all of
civilization collapses around you, then if the probability of your
continuing to survive would be even lower than the probability that the
universe you have seen around you up until then is just part of a giant
computer simulation in some branch where the technology exists to run such a
simulation, then from your point of view you should expect it to be more
likely that the beings running the simulation will decide to rescue you and
bring you out into the "real world" than it is that you continue to survive
alone at such incredibly long odds.

Received on Thu Apr 14 2005 - 22:16:44 PDT

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