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Quantum immortality and engineering your universe?

  1. Oct 2, 2007 #1
    In the quantum suicide experiment, if many-worlds is true you'd end up miraculously surviving any suicide attempt. This forces you into an unlikely version of the universe, and each time you repeat it'd be more and more unlikely.

    Ok...now would it not be true that the nature of your experiment can determine the likelihood of the universe in which you'd find yourself? Pointing a gun at your head and firing will produce a universe in which you survive because the gun may jam, or the bullet may miss a vital area. That's unlikely but not "extremely" unlikely.

    But what if you change the method of suicide so that only a bizarre event can still keep you alive. What if you directed a 100 mile wide asteroid toward the earth so it landed on your head? Any version in which you'd survive this would contain an extremely odd and unlikely scenario. Perhaps the only way you'd survive is if aliens intervened and made a protective shell around you. By doing this though, you are forcing yourself into an extremely unlikely and unusual version of the universe. Perhaps, if you are smart enough and with enough planning you could arrange a suicide method that produced a survival-scenario universe of your liking in which you were a billionaire, or in which aliens announced themselves, or whatever you liked. You could engineer the resulting universe by the nature of your suicide attempt. You could force extremely unlikely events to occur.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 2, 2007 #2

    vanesch

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    Yes, fun isn't it :smile:

    Only, it is a method which is only open to "true believers" :rofl:
     
  4. Oct 2, 2007 #3

    OOO

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    Very entertaining account of reality. Thank you for that one, Meatbot. I bet you'll never run out of methods to kill yourself. Please keep experimenting and tell us about your results.
     
  5. Oct 2, 2007 #4
    Meatbot probably ends up being left alive in a very bizarre world, but I'm afraid that we will hear him telling about them... "very unlikely".
     
  6. Oct 2, 2007 #5

    OOO

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    Sorry, didn't want to hurt you. It just appeared to me that something very unlikely has to be done for you to wake up. Do you realize what suicide is ? Did you care ?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2007
  7. Oct 2, 2007 #6

    JesseM

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    Quantum suicide is a thought-experiment about the consequences of the many-worlds interpretation, popularized by physicist Max Tegmark--see the lower section of this page. Personally I think the argument only works if you make some additional assumptions about philosophy of mind, but as philosophical assumptions go they're not so implausible (I would say the assumptions needed are similar to the ones made in the many-minds interpretation of QM, where each physical brain is associated with a large number of streams of consciousness, so that each time you have diverging versions of the same brain in the many-worlds interpretation, each stream has a certain chance of flowing into one version and a certain chance of flowing into the other)
     
  8. Oct 2, 2007 #7
    ” The experiment essentially involves looking at the Schrödinger's cat experiment from the point of view of the cat.”

    It is worth to add, perhaps, the first hand statement:” To cats usually addresses “thou”, although no single cat ever drank brotherhood with anybody.”

    Regards, Dany.
     
  9. Oct 2, 2007 #8
    Exactly....If many-worlds is right (and I think some form will end up being right), "you" (whatever that means) are constantly flipping into one branch or another as the universe splits. If there are two options at any given time, which do you experience? I don't know what happens if in both branches you are still alive. Perhaps someone has some insight.

    But if in one of those two branches you are dead, then it wouldn't be much of a leap to think that your consciousness would go to the other one by necessity, meaning you would feel as though you escaped death when in reality you both lived and died.
     
  10. Oct 2, 2007 #9
    Except that you may get to find out when you are old enough to die of natural causes. You may begin to find it odd that you have been so lucky when you reach 200 years old and have miraculously survived several dangerous incidents.
     
  11. Oct 2, 2007 #10

    JesseM

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    Like I said above, that's really closer to the many-minds interpretation. Many-worlds doesn't deal with questions about continuity of personal identity, what happens to "you" when branches split, or whether the word "you" has any real meaning in this context.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2007
  12. Oct 2, 2007 #11

    to me quantum immortality is axiomatic- but impossible to prove or even experience- the only hint at such a process would be an observer personally experiencing several 'miraculous' survivals- however I have always argued that the Born probabilities of an event lethal to an observer has much much more probable outcomes involving more practical methods of survival- 'miraculous' really means 'less probable'- if you swallow the barrel of a high caliber gun [guaranteed to kill you- not merely maim] and it successfully fires- you should NOT experience a miracle were the bullet tunneled to Alpha Centauri- instead you should wake up in some future where your dead body was resuscitated and reconstructed- since waking up in a hospital in the future were new technology fixed you is always more likely than miracles-

    this means that quantum immortality will always be an abstract idea without even the potential of basic circumstantial evidence- you will always experience survival and the reason for that survival will always be relatively rational and practical under the circumstances- the miracle outcomes are always very improbable- I think
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2007
  13. Oct 2, 2007 #12
    Yeah. Very good points. This is why I think it's quite likely that I will live to be well over 1,000 years old from my own point of view. In most universes you all will see me die at 100 or so, but I'll continue on living in those with advanced medicine and it'll seem perfectly rational to me since I'll see everyone else living that long as well. I will be kept alive by advanced medicine.
     
  14. Oct 3, 2007 #13

    vanesch

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    True. I think that at the age of 400, I will try to use the "improbability drive". By then, I might be convinced, if not totally senile :smile: First of all, I'll get rich through the lottery. That's easy: use some quantum device to fill out your lottery form, and then write a simple computer program that will read out the result of the drawing. If you are not the winner, blow up an explosive belt that you are wearing. If for one or other reason it fails (improbability drive...) try again.
     
  15. Aug 18, 2009 #14
    The problem with that though is that the quantum devices by their nature are far more likely to fail than your chances of winning the lottery are, There would be an arrangent of atoms that would cause the device to not work, or another arrangement that would mean you survive but terribly maimed.

    I DO think that the idea would stand more chances of working the lower the lottery win you were aiming for. So if you are playing a lottery with shorter odds and lower prizes it would work. All you have to do is play it time and time again to accumulate cash.

    It is interesting that from my own life viewpoint I do indeed seem to find myself in a universe where methods of prolonging life might reasonably be available within my lifetime through medicicinal advantages.
     
  16. Aug 19, 2009 #15
    Correction: not "one or another" but into BOTH.
     
  17. Aug 19, 2009 #16
    I believe it is more likely (or probable) that you end up "finding" yourself in a universe where you changed your mind the last minute and didn't commit the suicide than in a universe of infinitesimal probability where your suicide attempt failed.

    Just my two cents. "Immortality" just sounds so... unreal.
     
  18. Nov 11, 2010 #17
    If one person becomes multiple people, then the referring to "you" loses all meaning. I am my state now as well as all the states that led up to this moment. The branches my past self became that is not the me typing to you is not me. I have become the state that is now typing to you, while another me that arose from past me is not. A meta self exist as all of these states, but "you" are unaware of this because realization of your state is a function of your state and the states prior (memories).
     
  19. Nov 11, 2010 #18
    it would seem to me that ending up as a quadriplegic with severe brain damage constantly needing blood transfusions would be more likely then a full recovery for all of these "suicides", therefore that is what will happen to the "experimenter".
     
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