objections to QTI

From: Stathis Papaioannou <stathispapaioannou.domain.name.hidden>
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 00:02:08 +1000

I thought the following analogy might clarify the point I was trying to make
in recent posts to the "Many Pasts? Not according to QM" thread, addressing
one objection to QTI.

You are a player in the computer game called the Files of Life. In this game
the computer generates consecutively numbered folders which each contain
multiple text files, representing the multiple potential histories of the
player at that time point. Each folder F_i contains N_i files. The first
folder, F_0, contains N_0 files each describing possible events soon after
your birth. You choose one of the files in this folder at random, and from
this the computer generates the next folder, F_1, and places in it N files
representing N possible continuations of the story. If you die going from
F_0 to F_1, that file in F_1 corresponding to this event is blank, and
blank files are deleted; so for the first folder N_0=N, but for the next
one N_1<=N, allowing for deaths. The game then continues: you choose a file
at random from F_1, from this file the computer generates the next folder
F_2 containing N_2 files, then you choose a file at random from F_2, and so

It should be obvious that if the game is realistic, N_i should decrease with
increasing i, due to death from accidents (fairly constant) + death from
age related disease. The earlier folders will therefore on average contain
many more files than the later folders. Now, it is argued that QTI is
impossible because a randomly sampled observer moment from your life is very
unlikely to be from a version of you who is 1000 years old, which has very
low measure compared with a younger version. The equivalent argument for
the Files of Life would be that since the earlier files are much more
numerous than the later files, a randomly sampled file from your life (as
created by playing the game) is very unlikely to represent a 1000 year old
version of you, as compared with a younger version. This reasoning would be
sound if the "random sampling" were done by mixing up all the files, or all
the OM's, and pulling one out at random. But this is not how the game works
and it is not how real life works. From the first person viewpoint, it
doesn't matter how many files are in the folder because you only choose one
at each step, spend the same time at each step, and are no more likely to
find yourself at one step rather than another. As long as there is at least
*one* file in the next folder, it is guaranteed that you will continue
living. Similarly, as long as there is at least *one* OM in your future
which represents a continuation from your present OM, you will continue

--Stathis Papaioannou

Meet 1000s of Aussie singles today at Lavalife!
Received on Mon May 30 2005 - 10:09:25 PDT

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