RE: Many Pasts? Not according to QM...

From: Jesse Mazer <>
Date: Thu, 09 Jun 2005 09:01:59 -0400

"Stathis Papaioannou" wrote:
>Subjectively, there is *always* a one to one correspondence between an
>earlier and a later version, even though from a third person perspective
>the relationship may appear to be one to many, many to many, or many to
>one. This is in part why reasoning as if observer moments can be sampled
>randomly from the set of all observer moments gives the wrong answer.

Can you explain more why you think this one-to-one relationship implies it's
incorrect to apply the self-sampling assumption to observer-moments? As I
said in the "Request for a glossary of acronyms" thread (at ), I am inclined to believe a final theory of
everything would allow us to use both the ASSA (the theory would assign each
observer-moment an absolute probability, and we could reason as if our
current OM was randomly selected from the set of all possible OMs, weighted
by their absolute probability) and the RSSA (for each OM, the theory would
give a conditional probability that the observer's subsequent experience
would be any other possible OM). If you're suggesting the two are
incompatible, there's no need for them to be. Consider the following
analogy--we have a bunch of tanks of water, and each tank is constantly
pumping a certain amount of its own water to a bunch of other tanks, and
having water pumped into it from other tanks. The ratio between the rates
that a given tank is pumping water into two other tanks corresponds to the
ratio between the probabilities that a given observer-moment will be
succeeded by one of two other possible OMs--if you imagine individual water
molecules as observers, then the ratio between rates water is going to the
two tanks will be the same as the ratio between the probabilities that a
given molecule in the current tank will subsequently find itself in one of
those two tanks. Meanwhile, the total amount of water in a tank would
correspond to the absolute probability of a given OM--at any given time, if
you randomly select a single water molecule from the collection of all
molecules in all tanks, the amount of water in a tank is proportional to the
probability your randomly-selected molecule will be in that tank.

Now, for most ways of arranging this system, the total amount of water in
different tanks will be changing over time. In terms of the analogy, this
would be like imposing some sort of universal time-coordinate on the whole
multiverse and saying the absolute probability of finding yourself
experiencing a given OM changes with time, which seems pretty implausible to
me. But if the system is balanced in such a way that, for each tank, the
total rate that water is being pumped out is equal to the total rate that
water is being pumped in, then the system as a whole will be in a kind of
equilibrium, with no variation in the amount of water in any tank over time.
So in terms of OMs, this suggests a constraint on the relationship between
the absolute probabilities and the conditional probabilities, and this
constraint (together with some constraints imposed by a 'theory of
consciousness' of some kind) might actually help us find a unique
self-consistent way to assign both sets of probabilities, an idea I
elaborated on in the "Request for a glossary of acronyms" thread.

In terms of the QTI, accepting both the ASSA and RSSA seems to imply there
would be no point at which our stream of consciousness would end, but the
ASSA also implies that it's unlikely a typical observer-moment has memories
of being extremely old, so it seems we'd have to accept some sort of
"immortality with amnesia"--maybe as I approach death, my stream of
consciousness will move into simpler and simpler OMs, and then eventually
start climbing back up the ladder of complexity into the OMs of a different
person who has no memory of my life. Or maybe the advanced transhuman
intelligences of the future periodically like to wipe most of their memories
and experience what it was like to be a human-level intelligence, so that at
the end of my life my memories will be reintigrated with those of this
larger intelligence (maybe this replaying of a life would be a necessary
part of the merging of two distinct transhuman minds, something which
transhuman intelligences would probably want to do if at all possible).
There are probably other creative ways to have immortality (as implied by
the RSSA) be compatible with the idea that my current OM is a "typical" one
(as implied by the ASSA), too.

Received on Thu Jun 09 2005 - 09:15:40 PDT

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