How many believes in Quantum Immortality ?

Quantum Immortality possible?

  • Yes

    Votes: 4 9.1%
  • No

    Votes: 29 65.9%
  • Maybe

    Votes: 11 25.0%

  • Total voters
    44

vanesch

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The reason it doesn't work with a paintball is that the argument for quantum immortality specifically depends on philosophical assumptions about your subjective probabilities of experiencing one branch vs. another ....
:approve: very good explanation of the quantum immortality argument!

However, consider the following. Similar to the Star Trek machine, some copies are made, but this time, "the original" is kept. You're put to sleep before the copying procedure is started, and "the original" and the "copies" are then mixed in a kind of big black box mixer, which has several outlets. Each "copy" together with the original is now presented randomly to an outlet, and waken up. From the outside, there's no way to distinguish the "copies" from the original, and all are on the same footing. But of course, you are still "yourself"! There will be strictly no way, however, to tell the outside world that you are the "original".
Behind one outlet, the head is chopped off, and behind the others, life goes on.

Well, if you happen to be behind an outlet where the head is chopped off, you'll die, and your copies will live on, while if it is a copy who's head is chopped off, you'll live on. There's no way you could "live on" just because there's a copy of you surviving.

So you can consider the star trek machine also as the "murder of the original" together with the re-assembly of copies.

Point is: there is strictly no way to find this out on the outside...
 

xantox

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Well, if you happen to be behind an outlet where the head is chopped off, you'll die, and your copies will live on, while if it is a copy who's head is chopped off, you'll live on. There's no way you could "live on" just because there's a copy of you surviving.
I consider that this use of the word "you" as implicitly equating the physical instance of the "original" brain is incorrect. Even from a subjective point of view, "you" remains an abstract relation of the brain time evolution, so that the mere existence of a perfect copy means that not only for external observers, but also subjectively, there's no way to locate the "original" consciousness on any specific and preferred instance.

Of course, immediately after the copy is created, each instance will start to deviate so that it will be possible to distinguish them. But in appropriate conditions (eg. equal sensory inputs) and within a certain amount of deviation, it will not make any difference, not only for external observers, but also subjectively, whether the original OR the copy is killed.

It is also important for this to work that no instance actually experiences its own death (no painful process, but a sort of annihilation happening in a timeframe much inferior to the consciousness response time).
 
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vanesch

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I consider that this use of the word "you" as implicitly equating the physical instance of the "original" brain is incorrect. Even from a subjective point of view, "you" remains an abstract relation of the brain time evolution, so that the mere existence of a perfect copy means that not only for external observers, but also subjectively, there's no way to locate the "original" consciousness on any specific and preferred instance.
Well, I have a conceptual difficulty with that. Imagine you lying on the bed of the copy-machine, and a perfect copy is created. Assume that in the process, nothing special happens to you, as if you were lying on your sofa. Clearly, there's "the original" you which continues lying on the bed of the copy machine, and if I stick a pin in that body's foot, you will feel it, while if I stick a pin in your copy's foot, you won't feel it. You might not even have noticed a copy being taken, so to say. So for your original subjective world, nothing special happened. You can say that a *new* subjective world has been created together with the copy, but the asymmetry (from your subjective PoV) should be obvious.

*from the outside* (so, objectively) however, there's no way to discriminate between both. But the "you" who came in the room should know it.

Imagine now that the salesman of the copymachine sells an extra option "mind transfer". It costs quite a lot to have this option, and you wonder if it's worth it: instead of making a copy of your body and leaving your "subjective experience" in the body on the sofa, it claims that now, your original subjective experience is "transferred" to the copy.
You wonder whether that device is working correctly, so you want to try it.

So you first use the machine without the option: you go lying on the sofa, the machine hums, and a bit later, in the container next to you, a copy of you gets up. But for you, it is as if you were still lying on the sofa, while the copy is a bit puzzled, because it remembers lying on the sofa and suddenly finding itself in the container. Nevertheless, *you* know that you are still the person on the sofa! But you have no way of convincing others, and your copy is convinced it got transferred.

Next, you use the machine with the option. You go lying on the sofa again... and suddenly you find yourself in the container ! But when you come out of the container, your copy is making some fuzz with the machine salesman, saying that he just went lying there, and didn't get transferred at all, and that his silly option is not working !

You protest, but of course your copy claims that you are the copy. And is really convinced for that to be so. Nevertheless, *YOU* know that this is not the case.

So are both situations equivalent, and is the salesman's option bogus ? Personally, I don't think so. In one case, you remained on the sofa, and in the second case, you got transferred to the container. That makes a whole difference for you ! It is not because there has been created a NEW body with a NEW consciousness that has the complementary experience, that this changes anything for YOU.

But this is objectively impossible to verify.

For instance, imagine you've committed a terrible crime, which will make you however exceedingly rich. But you know you will not have peace of mind until justice has put you on trial. So you use the copymachine to send your copy to court (and hence to jail). You are with a police officer who has to guard you night and day, and you just ask to go on the sofa (of the copy machine). Does it make any difference to you if you switch on the salesman's option or not ? Clearly, it is the body on the sofa that will go in jail.

Personally, I'd switch on the option and remain in the container until the policeman (and the body on the sofa) is gone, and then go and enjoy the fruits of my crime while my copy is convicted to life sentence. In the case of equivalence, there's no reason for you to do this ! Why should you make a copy of yourself enjoying wealth, while you go on miserably in jail ?
 

xantox

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Well, I have a conceptual difficulty with that. Imagine you lying on the bed of the copy-machine, and a perfect copy is created. Assume that in the process, nothing special happens to you, as if you were lying on your sofa. Clearly, there's "the original" you which continues lying on the bed of the copy machine, and if I stick a pin in that body's foot, you will feel it, while if I stick a pin in your copy's foot, you won't feel it. You might not even have noticed a copy being taken, so to say. So for your original subjective world, nothing special happened. You can say that a *new* subjective world has been created together with the copy, but the asymmetry (from your subjective PoV) should be obvious.
Until the moment you sticked the pin on the first body's foot, both brains were assumed in the same state. So that you can't say that "the original me" is located in body 1 or 2. Only after the pin sensation on body 1 created the asymmetry it will be possible to distinguish the two "me" instances. "The original me" is an invalid expression just like for two identical particles you can't label one as being the "original".

*from the outside* (so, objectively) however, there's no way to discriminate between both. But the "you" who came in the room should know it.
The subjective view is still something objective, since it's the part of the objective state of the brain. If it is impossible to distinguish them for an external observer (which by the way, in principle may know about me even more than I know) then it shall be the same subjectively: that is, I can't say whether I am instance 1 or 2.

Personally, I don't think so. In one case, you remained on the sofa, and in the second case, you got transferred to the container. That makes a whole difference for you !
For a difference to exist for me, I should have some means to decide that there is a difference. If I know for sure that two copies are around (say, because someone I trust said on the loudspeaker: "now there are two copies of you in the room"), even at this point I can't say whether I am in body 1 or in body 2. More interestingly, I cannot even say for sure that I am in body 1 now, and in body 2 after one second!

It is not because there has been created a NEW body with a NEW consciousness that has the complementary experience, that this changes anything for YOU.
The point is, that "you" is an abstract relation of the body. By being abstract, it can not longer be indexed over spacetime like it is possible with the body to distinguish between two instances.

Clearly, it is the body on the sofa that will go in jail. Personally, I'd switch on the option and remain in the container until the policeman (and the body on the sofa) is gone, and then go and enjoy the fruits of my crime while my copy is convicted to life sentence.
This assumption is however false. Also, your copy will say at the trial that he is the real original, and that you're the impostor copy who inverted the workings of the machine.

In the case of equivalence, there's no reason for you to do this ! Why should you make a copy of yourself enjoying wealth, while you go on miserably in jail ?
If there are no multiple universes, then I think there should be still reasons to do this, eg. giving your "other possible future" a chance to exist. Of course this would be not quite perfect, since at least someone could notice that there are two guys around.
 
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vanesch

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The subjective view is still something objective, since it's the part of the objective state of the brain. If it is impossible to distinguish them for an external observer (which by the way, in principle may know about me even more than I know) then it shall be the same subjectively: that is, I can't say whether I am instance 1 or 2.
Ah, that's where we differ then. I think you can, but that by the symmetry of the situation, no *outside observer* can.

For a difference to exist for me, I should have some means to decide that there is a difference. If I know for sure that two copies are around (say, because someone I trust said on the loudspeaker: "now there are two copies of you in the room"), even at this point I can't say whether I am in body 1 or in body 2. More interestingly, I cannot even say for sure that I am in body 1 now, and in body 2 after one second!
That's funny, I wouldn't think so. I would think that I would know very well in which body I am, but that I cannot emit any signal to the outside world which will not be "imitated" symmetrically by the copy, so that an outside observer will observe a symmetrical situation. But I would know - I'd say !

This assumption is however false. Also, your copy will say at the trial that he is the real original, and that you're the impostor copy who inverted the workings of the machine.
Exactly, and that's my goal: my copy will go to jail for my crimes, and will even feel guilty about it, thinking that the machine didn't work!
My example was a bit artificial: I made the assumption that the police and the judges and so on wouldn't think of the existence of any such copy machine. As such, it is the body on the sofa which has continuously been chained to the police officer which will go on trial.

If there are no multiple universes, then I think there should be still reasons to do this, eg. giving your "other possible future" a chance to exist. Of course this would be not quite perfect, since at least someone could notice that there are two guys around.
Yes, right, but I wouldn't personally give a damn about *another guy* (copy of me) enjoying my treasure, not more than I would enjoy my twin doing so! My aim would be to have a copy of me (which is, for me, a totally different person with same memory and so on, but whose wanders in life I don't care about) go to jail instead of myself (= the body I'm living my subjective experiences with).
 
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xantox

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Ah, that's where we differ then. I think you can, but that by the symmetry of the situation, no *outside observer* can. .. I would think that I would know very well in which body I am
That's interesting that we differ here, but then I'd like to understand why you think so, ie which is the basis which would allow me subjectively to know that I am still in body 1?

Exactly, and that's my goal: my copy will go to jail for my crimes, and will even feel guilty about it, thinking that the machine didn't work!
Yes, but you can't call it "my copy" like if you were the original "me". Just "one random instance of me".

Yes, right, but I wouldn't personally give a damn about *another guy* (copy of me) enjoying my treasure, not more than I would enjoy my twin doing so! My aim would be to have a copy of me (which is, for me, a totally different person with same memory and so on, but whose wanders in life I don't care about) go to jail instead of myself (= the body I'm living my subjective experiences with).
In this case, if you look at yourself in a movie made 10 years ago about, say, yourself falling off a banana peel (event which you had forgot in the meantime), you may find that you look pretty much like your (young) twin in that movie. If you didn't know it's a movie of you, then you would also say you don't give a damn about that guy falling.
 
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The actual solution to the quantum immortality paradox requires the understanding of what "consciousness" is.

People generally accept (without proof, however) that consciousness can change over time - we imagine that we are "the same person" as a minute or an hour or a year ago. This perception of sameness continues even after most of the atoms in the body have been exchanged with new ones - though in truth the elementary particles of these atoms always were one and the same as all others of their kind. If we consider that this is not true, then we would conclude that while we possess false memories of a "past", that those past consciousnesses never actually became us - they either perished instantly or verged into parallel universes where nothing ever changed in their environment, forever.

I hypothesize that neither that model is true, nor is the model that we are only "the same as" the consciousness in our past and future body. Rather, all consciousness in all places in the cosmos is the manifestation of a single phenomenon, and there is therefore no driving force for the physicist performing the suicide experiment to continue only in a few rare universes. In all the universes his consciousness actually continues in all conscious beings, and so he is just as likely to continue in one as the other. You can visualize that in the suicide-universe, he "jumps into" the memories and body of the person beside him, but this is a mistaken picture. He always was the person beside him.
 
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How could he continue in some other universe with the knowledge that he killed himself? Either he would continue in a universe where he does not know that he killed himself. Or he would continue in a universe where he could no longer die because he would be alive with the knowledge that he died, and that would not be the same type of reality he has now. Instead it would be some kind of heaven or hell or purgator
 
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Well, since the entire multiverse is timeless, the state you find yourself in at any particular "local time" is, in a certain sense, "eternal".
 
the cool part is knowing that some day we will know who is right, or we will nothing
 

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