[extropy-chat] How to be copied into the future?

TheMan mabranu at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 22 01:33:50 UTC 2007

> Message: 13
> Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 12:09:21 -0500
> From: Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com>
> Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] How to be copied into
> the
> future?
> To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Message-ID:
> < at satx.rr.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1";
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> >It?s not clear to me that the
> >chances of being saved by future posthumans is
> >increased more, or even equally much, by a Ray
> >Kurzweil way of living, than/as for example by a
> >Mother Theresa way of being ? given that the
> >posthumans value altruism more than anything else.
> Only if posthumans are godschmucked idiots will 
> they wish to retrieve Mother Teresa. 

You may be right about Mother Teresa. It doesn’t
matter. What I meant was:
It may be best to live such that you will look like a
100% altruistic person in the eyes of the posthumans –
whatever way of living that is.

> Message: 16
> Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 14:25:59 -0400
> From: "Robert Bradbury" <robert.bradbury at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] How to be copied into
> the
> future?
> To: "ExI chat list" <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Message-ID:
> Of course, on a somewhat more serious note, unless
> you
> invoke "magic
> physics" the looking back in time exercise is
> probably
> a pipe dream.  

This is how I think (correct me if I’m wrong):

Looking back in time should be possible by simply
looking far in space. Tremendous amounts of
information about our past exists, and will always
exist, in the form of waves and particles that
constantly leave our planet. Only a small fraction of
all that stream will ever bounce on other planets,
stars etc, although a lot of it may get distorted by
colliding with particles in the "empty space" (as
space isn’t totally empty). But even if only, say, one
thousandth of the "pixels" from Earth reach the eyes
of the posthuman beholder in a distant future, they
will still get a picture of us, maybe just a pretty
unclear picture. I mean, even though a small, old
photo of a given person may have only a thousandth of
the pixels of a large, modern photo of the same
person, you can often still recognize the person on
the small, old photo and get an idea of what he or she
is like. 

To solve the problem that the information about
Earth’s past is travelling away from Earth (and,
presumably, the posthumans) at the speed of light, the
posthumans could use some gravitational field to bend
the direction of those streams of information so that
they catch up with them in a very distant future. Then
they will be able to see us all, albeit maybe only
from certain angles and only when we are outdoors
(unless they will be able to calculate how waves and
particles from the buildings, where we spend a lot of
time, are effected by our behaviour inside of those
buildings, and such). Given enough information, in the
form of waves and particles constantly leaving Earth,
about our environment, and enough knowledge about the
laws of physics, the posthumans should be able to
conclude what we must have been like, so that they can
resurrect us. We can already accurately conclude a lot
about particles that we can’t see with any instrument.
Posthumans zillions of times more intelligent than
today’s scientists should be able to make accurate
conclusions on the basis of a lot less information
than today’s scientists. 

I wonder though what will happen from my perspective
if the posthumans don’t get it exactly right, just
almost. Let’s say due to insufficient and/or
misleading information they only manage to resurrect
”almost me” – somebody who is like me to 99,999%. Will
that person be me? How much must a future copy of me
resemble me in order for me to continue my life in his
body (when he is created after my death)?

Another way to solve the problem of light escaping
from Earth faster than one can travel after it, is to
travel until one finds an alien civilisation that has
caught the light from Earth and saved that information
in detail, and then buy that information from those

> What
> you can hope for is an allocation of resources
> sufficient to recreate a
> million (or maybe even a billion) variants on
> entities
> who leave behind
> enough information that one can get "reasonable
> approximations".  So 
> anyone
> with a significant "dataprint" stands a chance of
> being recreated.  

That would be a welcome addition to the information
collected the way I suggest above.
To create a maximally accurate ”dataprint” of oneself,
for example by telling a video camera about one’s
thoughts and feelings for lenghty periods of time
throughout life, one has to be totally honest to the
camera about everything, or the future person that
posthumans will think to be their successful copy of
you may not be you. That insight will make people only
think and do the kinds of things that they will some
day be ready to tell everything about to the video
camera (as anything they tell the video camera may be
used against them, if not by contemporary people who
accidentally find their recordings, in any case by the
posthumans after one’s resurrection). Will that
insight make people better (more altruistic), or
overly cautious and just plain boring? Maybe both, but
which side is going to dominate?

> Whether
> any future intelligences would bother to do so is an
> open question.  We 
> have
> the complete genome sequence of C. elegans, various
> Drosophila species, 
> even
> Pufferfish (Fugu rubripes).  We could, with
> sufficient
> funding, create 
> them
> from scratch in a lab.  Would we choose to do so?  I
> doubt it.  IMO, 
> only at
> such time as there are no forward progress vectors
> available will 
> people
> turn around and wrestle with the large scale
> recreation of the past.  I
> doubt there will be a lack of forward progress
> vectors
> for a very long
> time.  (Mind you we may close out the theoretical
> progress vectors in 
> the
> not-so-distant future, but that does not eliminate
> the
> engineering 
> progress
> vectors.)

It doesn’t matter a lot to me how long it takes before
the progress ceases so that I get resurrected, as long
as it happens some time. The sooner the better, but
better late than never.

Given an infinite future, sooner or later some crazy
scientist posthuman must decide to resurrect us. And
then it may not matter how we lived. If future isn't
infinite though, but long enough that some future
scientist will some day decide to resurrect some
humans from today, then how we lived may effect his
decision on which humans to resurrect. As that may be
the only scenario in which we can greatly influence
our future as individuals, it may be the only scenario
worth pondering about (from our egoist point of view).

> So, the questions you should be asking are not
> whether
> you are 
> appealing on
> a universal basis, but whether you can make oneself
> appealing (for
> recreation purposes) to a circa 2200, 2300, 2400,
> etc.
> era historian,
> archaeologist or anthropologist who may have
> resources, but only of a
> limited nature, at their disposal.
> Robert

That may still mean we should try to be appealing on a
universal basis, as we don't know what preferences
that historian etc will have.

> Message: 18
> Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 20:03:15 +0100 (MET)
> From: "Anders Sandberg" <asa at nada.kth.se>
> Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] How to be copied into
> the
> future?
> To: "ExI chat list" <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Message-ID:
<2045. at webmail.csc.kth.se>
> Content-Type: text/plain;charset=iso-8859-1
> Damien Broderick wrote:
> >
> >>It?s not clear to me that the
> >>chances of being saved by future posthumans is
> >>increased more, or even equally much, by a Ray
> >>Kurzweil way of living, than/as for example by a
> >>Mother Theresa way of being ? given that the
> >>posthumans value altruism more than anything else.
> >
> > Only if posthumans are godschmucked idiots will
> > they wish to retrieve Mother Teresa. I suggest
> > you read Christopher Hitchens? book The Missionary
> Position.
> Or posthumans with a sarcastic sense of humour.
> "Hello
> madam. As you no
> doubt know, you have been dead for 334 years. During
> this time, did you 
> go
> to heaven?"
> I think altruism is irrelevant as a "bait" for
> posthuman retrieval, as 
> are
> most other motivations. 

I came to think of another way in which altruism may
be the best choice:
If all of us don’t do all we can now to make sure that
the technological singularity goes well, the
techological singularity may wipe out all life (for
example by unfriendly AI and nanobots going crazy).
”Doing all we can to make sure the singularity goes
well”, what specific actions might that strategy
consist of? Maybe to make sure that as many people as
possible get to be happy, good and productive (so they
contribute optimally with the ground work necessary
for the singularity to happen) rather than frustrated
from hunger and illness, angry and therefore easily
destructive. Furthermore, the happier and saner people
are in the countries with technology of mass
destruction, the smaller the existential risk. I’m not
saying Mother Teresa contributed any more to a happier
and saner world than anyone else, but I’m saying maybe
contributing to a happier and saner world is the
egoistically smartest thing to do, to maximize chances
that a posthumanity will become reality so that one
day they can resurrect you. Maybe it is in your own
interest to take all the money that you had planned to
use on your cryopreservation, optimal supplements,
medical supervision etc, and instead use it to help
those people who are worst off on Earth get a better
life – so that more people contribute more to a
successfull singularity. Or maybe the money should be
spent on, for example, some measures necessarity to
prevent unfriendly AI from getting the power over
mankind before friendly AI does. My point is that
cryopreservation, supplements and such egoistical ends
may not be the optimal way to prolong your life, but
that devoting all of your life and all of your
resources to charity of some kind may be.

> Uniqueness makes much more
> sense. The more 
> unique,
> interesting and tangled up in important things you
> are, the better. You
> might also go for the trick suggested by Charles
> Sheffield in _Tomorrow
> and Tomorrow_, where the protagonist deliberately
> set
> out to create
> mysteries only he knew the truth about, and ensured
> that future 
> historians
> would know that he knew.

What kind of mystery could a human of today possibly
create that posthumans won’t be able to figure out by
themselves, but want to figure out?

> But as Robert said, resurrection is unlikely to
> happen
> through
> Clarke-Baxter wormholes. I would bet on massive
> brute-force constraint
> calculations retrodicting the possible past, and
> that
> would create
> resurrections of everybody. 

Would it really? Isn’t it possible that posthumans
will be able to calculate what we were like, without
having to resurrect us? Or do you inevitably create a
person by thinking about him/her? For example, is
merely thinking about torturing a person a kind of
mental voodoo that actually creates actual suffering
(other than the relatively mild degree of suffering
you experience yourself by thinking about the torture
in question).

> It still remains to
> ensure
> that you get 
> fished
> up from the simulator and given access to base
> reality
> if the 
> posthumans
> are not totally into ultra-altruism (or something
> more
> sinister, like
> post-Jehova's Witnesses trying to convert
> *everybody*
> retroactively - 
> the
> mormons may baptise past generations, but the PJWs
> will try to get them 
> to
> join the church actively).
> I'd rather get to posthumanity by growing up into a
> posthuman than
> becoming their pet.

That way of thinking seems undebatable at first, but I
think it can be misleading. Everyone can’t grow up
into a posthuman today, precisely because some of us
try to grow up into posthumans in order to save their
own skin rather than contribute optimally to creating
the singularity required before there can be any
posthumans. Those who have more money and other
resources than they need to stay alive (for a
traditional lifespan) might be better off sharing
their resources with the poor today, so that the
resources of this planet get distributed as evenly as
possible. That way, less people will be ill, meaning
there will be more hands working to create a good
singularity sooner, so that for example unfriendly AI,
if developed, will be less likely to win the
technological race for power. Or, one might be better
off spending one’s money on fighting global warming,
to diminish the risk that some countries will soon
threaten mankind’s survival with weapons of mass
destruction in order to get drinking water and other

Singularity will probably happen sooner of later if
all existential risks are avoided. If singularity
happens, we may all get eternal life. Therefore, it
seems to me it may be infinitely more desirable, even
from a purely selfish hedonistic perspective, to ever
so slightly contribute to increasing the chance for a
good singularity happening, than to prolong one’s life
a little by spending a fortune on supplements and/or
to increase one’s chances of eternal life slightly by

> Message: 21
> Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 12:17:55 -0700
> From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <sentience at pobox.com>
> Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] How to be copied into
> the
> future?
> To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Message-ID: <45FD9063.3070408 at pobox.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1;
> format=flowed
> Look, there's within-species variance in altruism,
> and
> then there's 
> between-species variance in altruism.  You know how,
> the same that, 
> even 
> though human beings think they have intelligence
> differences from other 
> human beings, and think that "brains aren't
> everything
> in the real 
> world", they don't invite chimps to be the CEOs of
> major corporations?

But a human would gladly reward a chimp who saved his
life. Just out of pure gratitude. Similarly, any
future posthuman who becomes aware that some of the
humans today contributed a lot to making it possible
for him (the posthuman) to come to existence at all,
might reward those humans out of pure gratitude, for
example by resurrecting them.

Such gratitude may not be egoistically irrational, by
the way. I'm thinking that the behaviour of rewarding
another person's good behaviour even when it doesn't
seem to be egoistically rational (for example when the
one you reward can't reward you back for rewarding him
or punish you if you don't reward him/her), can be
egoistically rational due to a prisoner's dilemma kind
of mechanism. If every new species rewards the
previous (perhaps even long dead) species for helping
it out (or for making its existence possible), a kind
of unspoken contract is created, a contract that is
beneficial for all (or nearly all) of the species that
imply the contract with their actions.

> Message: 1
> Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 12:17:37 -0700
> From: "spike" <spike66 at comcast.net>
> Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] How to be copied into
> the future?
> To: <auto404677 at hushmail.com>,	"'ExI chat list'"
> 	<extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Message-ID:
> <200703181927.l2IJRnTn029585 at andromeda.ziaspace.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain;	charset="US-ASCII"
> > bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of TheMan
> ...
> > Subject: [extropy-chat] How to be copied into the
> future?
> > 
> > In Arthur C Clarke's and Stephen Baxter's "The
> Light
> > Of Other Days", posthumans develop quantum
> technology...
> TheMan, I don't recall seeing posts from you in the
> past.  This is a great
> first post, lotsa thoughts and coherence.


> > ...I'm a hedonist. I want a life that is as long
> and
> > happy as possible ... /Par
> I am with you there bigtime.  I hedon as often as
> possible.  Such a nice day
> is this, I think I shall go out hedoning now in
> fact. 
> Welcome TheMan!  Or shall we call you /Par?

Call me whichever you like. No, actually, I prefer

> Message: 14
> Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 09:14:39 +0100
> From: Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org>
> Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] How to be copied into
> the future?
> To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> Message-ID: <20070319081439.GL1450 at leitl.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> On Mon, Mar 19, 2007 at 05:34:20AM +0100, Giu1i0
> Pri5c0 wrote:
> > Clarke-Baxter technique: seem workable if the
> underlying assumption of
> > a high density distribution of micro wormholes in
> vacuum is correct.
> One hell of an assumption. Until we know the
> opposite, the information
> constituting our being leaks out of us at the speed
> of light, and
> is lost irreversibly.

Isn’t it theoretically possible to bend the light with
gravitational fields for a very long time, while
travelling very fast after it, so that one eventually
catches up with it?

If it isn't, there's still a way: the posthumans could
measure the light that, after leaving Earth, bounces
back from other planets, and then, knowing all about
the laws of physics, calculate what that light must
have been like when it left Earth. Other planets could
serve as the Earth's mirrors.
> Message: 17
> Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 09:06:40 -0300
> From: "Henrique Moraes Machado (oplnk)"
> <hemm at openlink.com.br>
> Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] How to be copied into
> the future?
> To: <auto404677 at hushmail.com>, "ExI chat list"
> 	<extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Message-ID: <00de01c76a1f$0e225550$fe00a8c0 at cpd01>
> Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed;
> charset="iso-8859-1";
> 	reply-type=original
> Don't forget the simulation hypothesis. We can all
> be copies already.

Yes, but does that mean we should do something else
with our lives than what we should do if we are the

> Message: 18
> Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 13:13:04 +0100
> From: Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org>
> Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] How to be copied into
> the future?
> To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> Message-ID: <20070319121304.GH1450 at leitl.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> On Mon, Mar 19, 2007 at 09:06:40AM -0300, Henrique
> Moraes Machado (oplnk) wrote:
> > Don't forget the simulation hypothesis. We can all
> be copies already.
> No, we can't. Not without infinite computing power.

Why would it take infinite computing power? Why
wouldn’t for example a googolplexian times more
computing power than we have today be enough?

And if the universe is infinite, an extremely advanced
civilisation must somewhere _happen_ to create perfect
copies of an Earth, even if they have very poor or
close to no computing power. Chance and quantum
instability may be enough, in an infinite universe
with an infinite number of such trials taking place.
If, on the other hand, the universe is very large but
not infinite, only a finite number of such copies of
Earth may take place. None of them may contain all of
us. Then it may still be important how we live.

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