[extropy-chat] Survival

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Thu Apr 12 21:42:48 UTC 2007

John writes

> "Lee Corbin" <lcorbin at rawbw.com>
>> But there is a way to have your cake and eat it too. It's simply this:  as
>> you self-improve, adopt the maxim that you will *always* run earlier
>> versions of yourself in the background.
> That seems like a bit much, I may think about the John Clark of ten years
> ago a little from time to time but I certainly don't run a full simulation
> of him,

Right.  Far from it

> and yet I still don't feel he's dead.

And I agree: he's not dead.  Probably.  Almost surely you retain enough in
common with the you of ten years ago that by the meanings I propose,
that John Clark still lives.  Yet we must get beyond supposing that the
reality corresponds to the binary alive/dead.  You could gradually change
into someone else.  Do you deny that in certain contrived thought 
experiments you could gradually turn into me?  (We very slowly and
surreptiously start replacing certain of your earliest memories by certain
ones of mine---there may be a point of total confusion in the middle of
the process, etc.)

> But for the sake of argument let's assume I take your advice. Question: Do
> you think a computer running Windows Vista that was simulating a computer
> running Windows XT that was simulating a computer running Windows 2000 that
> was simulating a computer running Windows 98 that was simulating a computer
> running Windows 95 that was simulating a computer running Windows 3.1 that
> was simulating a computer running DOS would outperform a new clean Linux
> box?

By no means.  Emulation always carries a cost.  The cost may be great or 
it may be relatively little.  In a pinch, I would hope that Lee+  will grant 
the 2005-2010 version or versions perhaps a second of runtime every
ten-thousand years, or whatever.  Certainly Lee+ will easily see that he
does me no good whatever if he can't hold his own existence in the 

So I agree that there is a small window in which you are right:  perhaps
the future will be so competitive that anything that recalls being me at
all and who bothers to expend any energy running me now and then
simply dies off.

But by the same token (the window is small), it could be so very ruthless
that no entity which remembers being you in any manner whatsoever

But anyway, I think that there is a truth to the question "at time t does
the solar system or does it not contain a running version of an entity
similar in structure enough to the Lee Corbin of  ~1965 - ~ 2015
that it can be accurately said that he still lives to some non-trivial extent?"

And so even if nothing which simulates "something similar to me now"
can be competitive, well, then I'm dead anyway by my lights.


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