RE: Observer-Moment Measure from Universe Measure

From: Hal Finney <>
Date: Sun, 5 Jun 2005 23:34:06 -0700 (PDT)

Stathis Papaioannou writes:
> Hal Finney writes:
> >There are a few unintuitive consequences, though, such as that large
> >instantiations of OMs will have more measure than small ones, and likewise
> >slow ones will have more measure than fast ones. This is because in each
> >case the interpretation program can be smaller if it is easier to find the
> >OM in the vastness of a universe, and the slower and bigger an OM is the
> >easier it is to find. I am inclined to tentatively accept these results.
> >It does imply that the extreme future vision of some transhumanists,
> >to upload themselves to super-fast, super-small computers, may greatly
> >reduce their measure, which would mean that it would be like taking a
> >large chance of dying.
> Could someone please explain what will happen to the hapless transhumanists
> in their computer when their measure falls to alarmingly low levels? Will
> they develop severe headaches, turn transparent like ghosts, or what?

This is a kind of transformation that hasn't been possible in the world
before, so no normal phenomenon will exactly capture what happens.

To a first approximation, if their measure were reduced by 90%, what
would happen subjectively would be the same as if they took steps that
had a 90% chance of killing them, in this model.

Now, objectively this is different because it would require other people
to deal with their deaths. But subjectively it would be pretty much
the same.

Perhaps a closer approximation could be achieved if they were not only
killed, but somehow everyone else's memory was changed so that no one
remembered them or noticed that they were gone.

Imagine instead the question, what would it be like, subjectively,
to die instantly and without warning? It's a hard question to answer.
But it is related to the question, what would it be it like to have your
measure suddenly reduced? You could imagine your larger before-measure
as being represented by your mind being instantiated as many copies.
Then a certain percentage of those copies are instantly killed. What is
it like subjectively?

To the copies which remain, there is no subjective change. To the
copies which were killed, perhaps it is like nothing subjectively,
because there is no longer any subject there. But it is still a change.

I think a reduction of measure would be like a certain percentage of
my instances being instantly killed. When I imagine what it is like,
I picture myself being one of the unlucky instances. I stop and never
know I stopped, while other copies go on.

The other night I had a strange dream. I came into a room and met someone
whom I came to understand was myself. I was a copy who had been created
a few moments earlier, and he was the original. There was a switch on
the wall which would instantly destroy the copy, and I was supposed to
push it. But I hesitated. My own consciousness would be destroyed.
On the other hand I was supposedly a copy made just moments earlier,
so only a few seconds of memories would be lost, hardly consequential.
Still I had to face that dilemma: what would it feel like to just stop,

Nervously, I went ahead and pushed the button, squeezing my eyes shut
and making a kind of mental "flinch" or jerk. To my surprise, I was
still there, and when I opened my eyes, the other person was gone.
It turned out that he was the copy and I was the original.

Imagine facing your copy, perhaps an exact copy whose mind is synchronized
with yours, and seeing a coin flip which will determine which one is
destroyed. Your measure will be halved. In a sense it will have no
subjective effect, your thoughts and memories will be preserved in one
of you. But in another sense you face a 50-50 chance of experiencing that
mysterous effect of instant death. I think it would be scary. Logically,
similar reductions of measure should be viewed in the same light.

Hal Finney
Received on Mon Jun 06 2005 - 03:24:38 PDT

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