[extropy-chat] Fwd: cryonicist living life in reverse

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Mon Mar 12 23:06:19 UTC 2007

Stathis writes

> > > The point is, if these programs were run forwards, backwards or all jumbled up,
> > > you would not be able to tell that anything unusual had happened from within 
> > > the program.

> > Of course, at least to outward observers.  You would report what ever you report.
> > It does not *necessarily* follow that you experience anything. Recall the horrible
> > GLUT (Giant Lookup Table [capable of total emulation of a human being]) which
> > performs no computations but reports vived experiences.

> Given the set of all computations, those whose information content links them as
> related will feel themselves to be related, whether generated by a GLUT or a UD

This is your assertion.  It's not an argument. 

> All the extra, useless, non-me-now computations going on in the world do not
> confuse me and stop me from feeling myself to be me-now, although they might
> confuse everyone else if, for example, I were teleporting around the universe or
> my program were being implemented a moment at a time on different computers. 

Well, that's right, yes.

> > I concede that it is *possible* that I would have experiencs under reversed 
> > computations;  I dispute that it can be proven.

> What if your program were broken up into minutes and the minutes run in reverse
> order?

Then within each minute, future states would causally depend on past states, and
yes, I'd be conscious.  But that's because valid computations would be being
performed within each of those minutes.

But if the states are merely *stored* and then recalled (either in forward or
reverse order), no computations are taking place!   Imagine a 3D movie, a
version of "Casablanca" that manipulated each of the atoms in Humphrey
Bogart's body around for him.  Unless the instants were causally connected,
Bogart wouldn't be there, either as character or as actor.  No computation,
no Cafe Americain.

But isn't this really not germane to your main argument?  Aren't you really
claiming that the laws of physics are time-reversible, and so a completely
deterministic universe run in reverse would contain sentient beings?  I admit
that this is possible.

The reason that I doubt it, however, is that our current understanding of
physics every year becomes more patently incomplete.  Smolin's book
"The Trouble With Physics" really is brilliant, and especially intriguing are
the little snippets about the new theories that are *causality* based. 

Causality---as readers of Judea Pearl well know---is a very complicated
concept when reduced to the usual formulations that have stood us so well.
Stood us so well, that is, until now.  A causality based physics, for one thing,
could conceivably demand increasing entropy, which totally shoots down 
notions of our familiar time-reversed lives having any attendant experience.


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