On being alive now and Bayesian probabilities....

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Hi everyone! I am new here, I have been reading you for many years and I just registered hoping that you can help me out with these disturbing thoughts, as they are taking away too much of my time :(

Let's say my lifespan is around 80 years. The lifespan of the universe is of the order of billions or trillions of years. Yet, I am alive. Using bayesian analysis, does the fact that I am alive now increase the likelihood of me actually having been alive for much longer, and that I am (e.g.) for billions of years stuck in a virtual reality living different lives continuously?
 

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  • #2
BWV
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Yes, the odds of you being alive for billions of years are greatly reduced if, in fact, you are currently dead
 
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  • #3
Klystron
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No. You are alive and conscious. Enjoy your life.
 
  • #4
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Yes, you are alive and conscious but are you awake?

Your notion is really taking our understanding of the universe a bit too far, approaching the realm of philosophical musings which we are not equipped to discuss here.

However, you could expand your notions into a science fiction story and have fun where ever it takes you.
 
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  • #5
StatGuy2000
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To the OP:

In all seriousness, you use the terms "Bayesian analysis" freely, but I don't feel that you really understand what Bayesian analysis actually involves.

To do proper Bayesian analysis, you first have to formulate a model that you hope is adequate to describe the situation or phenomenon of interest. Then you formulate a prior distribution over the unknown parameters of the model, which is meant to capture your beliefs (or pre-existing speculations/facts) about the situation before looking at the data. After observing some data, you then apply Bayes Rule to obtain a posterior distribution for these unknowns, taking account of both the prior and the data. You can then use the posterior distribution to compute predictions about future observations.

I honestly don't see at any stage how your speculation about being alive for billions of years being stuck in a virtual reality multiverse can be assessed through the above description of Bayesian analysis. What is the prior -- the fact that you are alive now? What data can you gather?
 
  • #6
berkeman
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Thread closed for Moderation...
 
  • #7
berkeman
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A very speculative post based on the OP's question has been deleted. It is probably not possible to discuss this within the PF rules beyond the replies that are left above, so this thread will remain closed.
 

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