Re: copy method important?

From: George Levy <>
Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2005 21:23:06 -0700

rmiller wrote:

> my thought question for the day: is the method of copying important?
> Example #1: we start with a single marble, A. Then, we
> magically create a copy, marble B--perfectly like marble B in every
> way. . .that is, the atoms are configured similarly, the interaction
> environment is the same--and they are indistinguishable from one another.
> Example #2: we start with a single marble A. Then, instead of
> magically creating a copy, we search the universe, Tegmarkian-style,
> and locate a second marble, B that is perfectly equivalent to our
> original marble A.

I distinguish between two kinds of copying: physical copying and
psychological copying.

Physical copying requires that all consistent histories be maintained.
These histories form a causal (light) cone leading to the object.
Clearly it is impossible to replicate the same causal cone within our
visible universe since the use of a copy machine would by definition,
introduce a different causal cone. A perfect copy may still be possible
beyond the visible universe since an identical causal cone could exist
there without interfeing with the causal cone here. In addition, Quantum
Theory has a non-cloning theorem that prevents the exact copying of the
same quantum states. These arguments shoot down the COMP experiments
that Bruno was proposing, such as being dematerialized in Brussels and
copied in Washington or Moscow. Essentially he would have to change his
experiment to such that you are dematerialized in Brussels in this
visible universe and are rematerialized in a different Brussels beyond
our visible universe where you already exist by the way, so actually no
transfer of energy or information is required. All is required is the
transfer of the attention of the observer from one place to another but
identical place. So the transfer appears from an observer's point of
view to be no transfer at all. You may want to relax the requirement of
an identical causal cone as long as the result is an identical object.
But then you must define the object's boundaries and abandon the strict
and small scale precision of Quantum Mechanics. This leads us to
Psychological copying.

Psychological copying is much less stringent than Physical copying. It
requires that the person being copied feels the same as the original, "a
la Turing test." This introduce the intriguing possibility of
psychological indeterminacy which allows me to regard myself as the same
person this evening as I was this morning, even though I am actually
physically strictly different. Psychological indeterminacy support COMP
and the associated experiments between Brussels, Washington and Moscow
and is not restricted by the Quantum Non-Cloning Theorem. Psychological
indeterminacy also raises the question of how different should I be
until I become someone else. How big am "I"?

George Levy
Received on Sun Jun 19 2005 - 00:27:56 PDT

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