RE: Copies Count

From: Hal Finney <>
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2005 09:05:02 -0700 (PDT)

Stathis Papaioannou writes:
> I agree that you will have a 90% chance of waking up in Moscow, given that
> that is the *relative* measure of your successor OM when you walk into the
> teleporter. This is the only thing that really matters with the copies, from
> a selfish viewpoint: the relative measure of the next moment:

So let me try an interesting variant on the experiment. I think someone
else proposed this recently, the idea of "retroactive causation".
I won't put that exact spin on it though.

Suppose you will again be simultaneously teleported to Washington
and Moscow. This time you will have just one copy waking up in each.
Then you will expect 50-50 odds. But suppose that after one hour,
the copy in Moscow gets switched to the parallel computer so it is
running with 10 times the measure; 10 copies. And suppose that you know
beforehand that during that high-measure time period (after one hour)
in Moscow you will experience some event E.

What is your subjective probability beforehand for experiencing E?
I think you agreed that if you had been woken up in Moscow on
the super-parallel computer that you would expect a 90% chance of
experiencing E. But now we have interposed a time delay, in which your
measure starts off at 1 in Moscow and then increases to 10. Does that
make a difference in how likely you are to experience E?

I am wondering if you think it makes sense that you would expect a 50%
probability of experiencing events which take place in Moscow while
your measure is 1, but a 90% probability of experiencing events like
E, which take place while your measure is 10? I'm not sure about this
myself, because I am skeptical about this continuity-of-identity idea.
But perhaps, in your framework, this would offer a solution to the
problem you keep asking, of some way to notice or detect when your
measure increases.

In that case we would say that you could notice when your measure
increases because it would increase your subjective probability of
experiencing events.

Perhaps we could even go back to the thought experiment where you have
alternating days of high measure and low measure. Think of multiple
lockstep copies being created on high measure days and destroyed on low
measure days. Suppose before beginning this procedure you flip a quantum
coin (in the MWI) and will only undergo it if the coin comes up heads.
Now, could you have a subjective anticipation of 50% of experiencing the
events you know will happen on low-measure days, but an anticipation of
90% of experiencing the events you know will happen on high-measure days?
Then that would be a tangible difference, and you would be justified in
pre-arranging your affairs so that pleasant events happen on the high
measure days and unpleasant ones happen on the low measure days.

It's an interesting concept in any case. I need to think about it more,
but I'd be interested to hear your views.

Hal Finney
Received on Mon Jun 20 2005 - 13:10:21 PDT

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