[ExI] any exact copy of you is you + universe is infinite = you are guaranteed immortality

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky sentience at pobox.com
Sat Jun 16 18:57:37 UTC 2007

TheMan wrote:
>>I mention this to show that the question of what it
>>feels like to have 
>>a lot of copies of yourself - what kind of
>>subjective outcome to 
>>predict when you, yourself, run the experiment - is
>>not at all 
> I never assumed that the number of copies of me would
> change my life in any way, or the way it feels, as
> long as I live it in the same way. Do you experience
> your life as richer, or somehow better in some way, if
> you have more copies, than if you have fewer copies?
> That feels like an arbitrary theory to me. I fail to
> see why it should be like that.

No, that is not what I was attempting to say.  (Several people made 
this misinterpretation, but it should be obvious that I don't believe 
in telepathy or any other nonstandard causal interaction between 
separated copies.)  Having lots of copies in some futures may or may 
not affect the apparent probability of ending up in those futures. 
Does it?  In which future will you (almost certainly) find yourself?

This is what I meant by "What does it feel like" - the most basic 
question of all science - what appears to you to happen, what sensory 
information do you receive, when you run the experiment?  All our 
other models of the universe are constructed from this.  I do not 
exult in this state of affairs, and I think it reflects a lack of 
understanding in my mind more than anything fundamental in reality 
itself - that is, I don't think sensory information really is 
primitive, or anything like that - but for the present it is the only 
way I can figure out how to describe rational reasoning.

By "what does it feel like" I meant the most basic question of all 
science - what appears to happen when you run the experiment?  Do you 
feel that you've repeatedly won the lottery, or never won at all? 
Standing outside, I can say with certitude, "so many copies experience 
winning the lottery, and then merge; all other observers just see you 
losing the lottery".  And this sounds like a complete objective 
statement of what the universe is like.  But what do you experience? 
Does setting up this experiment make you win the lottery?  After you 
run the experiment, you'll know for yourself how reality works - 
you'll either have experienced winning the lottery several times in a 
row, or not - but no outside observers will know, so what could you 
have seen that they didn't?  What causal force touched you and not them?

This, to me, suggests that I am confused, not that I have successfully 
described the way things are; it seems a true paradox, of the sort 
that can't really work.  When I was younger I would have wanted to try 
the experiment.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                          http://singinst.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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