Re: Observer-Moment Measure from Universe Measure

From: Saibal Mitra <>
Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2005 15:16:23 +0200

I think one should define an observer moment as the instantaneous
description of the human brain. I.e. the minimum amount of information you
need to simulate the brain of a observer. This description changes over time
due to interactions with the environment. Even if there were no interactions
with the environment the description would change, but this change is fixed
by the original description.

So, I see no problem with Hal's way of thinking about OMs....

Observers are can be thought of as their own descriptions and thus universes
in their own right. Observer moments are observers in particular states i.e.
their ''personal'' universe being in a certain state. The causal relation
between successive states is already defined when we specify which observer
we are talking about. i.e., we have already specified the laws of physics
for the personal universe of an observer which defines the observer.
Specifying the initial state of the personal universes thus suffices.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Patrick Leahy" <>
To: "Hal Finney" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 01:04 PM
Subject: RE: Observer-Moment Measure from Universe Measure

> On Tue, 7 Jun 2005, Hal Finney wrote:
> > Jonathan Colvin writes:
> >> There's a question begging to be asked, which is (predictably I
suppose, for
> >> a qualia-denyer such as myself), what makes you think there is such a
> >> as an "essence of an experience"? I'd suggest there is no such "thing"
as an
> >> observer-moment. I'm happy with using the concept as a tag of sorts
> >> discussing observer selection issues, but I think reifying it is likely
> >> mistake, and goes considerably beyond Strong AI into a full Cartesian
> >> dualism. Is it generally accepted here on this list that a
> >> substrate-independent thing called an "observer moment" exists?
> >
> > Here's how I attempted to define observer moment a few years ago:
> >
> > Observer - A subsystem of the multiverse with qualities sufficiently
> > similar to those which are common among human beings that we consider
> > it meaningful that we might have been or might be that subsystem.
> > These qualities include consciousness, perception of a flow of time,
> > and continuity of identity.
> >
> > Observer-moment - An instant of perception by an observer. An
> > sense of the flow of time allows its experience to be divided into
> > units so small that no perceptible change in consciousness is possible
> > in those intervals. Each such unit of time for a particular observer
> > is an observer-moment.
> >
> >
> > So if you don't believe in observer-moments, do you also not believe
> > in observers? Or is it the -moment that causes problems?
> >
> Obviously, its the -moment. I'm pleased to see that Jonathan and Brent
> have the same problem with the concept that I do.
> Being an observer is a process. Slicing it into moments is OK
> mathematically, where a "moment" corresponds to a calculus dt (and hence
> is neither a particular length of time nor an instant). But to regard the
> "observer-state" at a particular moment as an isolated entity which is
> self-aware makes as much sense as regarding individual horizontal slices
> through a brain as being self-aware. It is the causal relation between
> successive brain states (incorporating incoming sense data) which
> constitutes intelligence, and self-awareness is just an epiphenomenon on
> top of intelligence, i.e. I would not agree that anything can be
> self-aware but have no intelligence.
> Paddy Leahy
Received on Wed Jun 08 2005 - 09:28:34 PDT

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