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

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sat Apr 28 12:58:00 UTC 2007

Randall writes

> [Lee wrote]
>> Now, yes, John [and I believe] that
>> people can have slightly different *recent* histories
>> and still be the same person. That is, I mean literally
>> that I and my recent duplicate share the same self. My
>> duplicate objectively has all the things about me that
>> I want to preserve. So if this one (pinches cheek)
>> dies and that instance of me over there lives, then I
>> still wake up tomorrow morning, not someone else
>> masquerading as me. I even look forward to waking
>> up tomorrow in this case, just as much as I would if
>> no harm was to come to this instance.
> Again, histories and memories are distinct: history
> involves the process by which the physical memories
> were constructed, while memories are merely content.

Let me see if I understand. The historical process by which
you in 2007 came to be is the traditional one:  birth, raised
by parents, school, etc.  But if we authoritatively told you
that this was all a lie, and that you had been raised as a part
of a government experiment, that you indeed did not exist
before 2005, that all your memories were implanted and
false, that your consciousness came into true focus only
last week---would you, given that you substantiate these 
amazing claims---suppose that you are not the person 
that you thought you were?  

(My answer to that is this:  Oh, I'm still Lee Corbin all right.
My actual history doesn't too strongly affect what is important
to me, how I want the rest of my life to continue indefinitely,
my values, and my friendships (given that all the people who
I am close to had arisen via similar government experimentation
and that their memories were as false as mine).  My good friend
F and I would simply argue---since we're both believers in
Hugh Everett's Many Worlds---that we were in effect copied
into *this* universe from an adjacent one in which we actually
did have all those things happen to us.)

> Heartland (I think) (and certainly I [Randall]) believes that
> it's the process which is a person, not the content.
> That said, he and I differ on what constitutes "the
> process", since I don't think suspending electrical
> activity in the brain necessarily ends it.

But the logical ramification of your (not Heartland's) belief
is that if you were replaced by a copy that we made ten
minutes ago, your number would be up, you'd be dead, 
and this other Randall who is not you would inherit your
life. Right?

Well, not John Clark, IIRC, would go to the extreme that
I, Robin Hanson, and many others would, namely, an 
instance of us would choose vaporization so that a recent
duplicate frozen in the next room would get $10M, and 
we would be making that choice for *entirely* selfish


P.S.  I've copied John Clark on this because I am interested
to reacqaint myself with his views regarding his replaceability
with a copy of him in the next room we made a few minutes

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list