[extropy-chat] cryonicist living life in reverse

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Mar 14 11:36:12 UTC 2007

On 3/14/07, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 14, 2007 at 08:25:41PM +1100, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> >    Yes, yes. There's not just the computation to consider, there is also
> >    the observer or the environment. But what if the computation *is* the
> >    observer and the environment, dreaming away with no external
> >    interaction?
> It doesn't matter, you still have to do the computation. Enumerating
> all possible states requires an infinite computer. There is no evidence
> for any such thing. Even if you had such a thing, it is not obvious that
> observers self select the states, magically picking slices out of
> sequence.

Yes, you have to do the computation, but who decides what counts as an
implementation of a computation/ of a particular Turing machine? You could
make it completely bizarre and counterintuitive,  for example saying that
ones and zeroes are represented by particular birds flying to and from
particular trees in a forest. Your scheme could change from day to day as
the computation progresses: red birds and yellow birds on Wednesdays, green
birds and brown birds on Thursdays, etc. It would be perfectly legitimate
according to a particular mapping scheme, and if you knew what this scheme
was, you could look at the birds flying to and fro and say, "aha, the
computer is now experiencing an itch behind its left virtual ear". If you
claim that the computer won't experience the itch unless you look at it and
understand that that is what is happening, you are saying something very
strange about the nature of consciousness: that we can only be conscious if
another observer is actively noting that we are conscious.

As for the idea that observers "magically" pick slices out of sequence, the
point is, it is impossible to know where your present moment is in sequence.
You can't know that your program wasn't started a nanosecond ago, or that
what would subjectively be next Tuesday wasn't in real time run last week.
All you have knowledge of is your present moment. The illusion of being an
individual progressing forward in time is maintained without any need for
sequencing. Indeed, that is the underlying idea behind block universe
theories of time, making them empirically indistinguishable from linear
theories of time.

Stathis Papaioannou

As for observers
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