[ExI] Free will was: Everett worlds

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Sat Aug 29 15:51:32 UTC 2020

Quoting John Clark:

> Message: 5
> Date: Sat, 22 Aug 2020 10:07:41 -0400
> From: John Clark <johnkclark at gmail.com>
> To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Subject: Re: [ExI] Free will was: Everett worlds
> Message-ID:
> 	<CAJPayv2nE8Bej-nKDuvZUd8UwcQCcM2mzrXGfdyrOjJtJXmKOw at mail.gmail.com>
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> On Fri, Aug 21, 2020 at 8:26 PM Stuart LaForge via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> * > You are correct that cow spelled in English can't say "moo". But
>> what about cow spelled in DNA?*
> DNA contains information but for information to do anything it has to be
> about something, and in this case the information is about a sequence of
> Amino Acids in a protein. Information by itself can't do anything because
> information by itself never changes, but matter can change, and a protein
> is made of atoms and atoms are made of matter.

What you are saying is classically correct, but at a quantum level you  
have a mathematical object i.e. information, described by Schrodinger  
called a wave function, that evolves over time. The information in the  
wave changes without needing to refer to changes in matter. Instead,  
all possible changes in matter, i.e. possible Everett worlds refer to  
it instead. At the quantum level, there seems to be some sort of  
Taoist Yin and Yang-style role-reversal happening between matter and  
information. In fact in Everett's theory, there is only ONE monolithic  
wave function, a universal one.

> In Alan Turing's 1935 paper
> he introduced something that we now call a Turing machine, he explained how
> matter could be organized in such a way that it performed a calculation, he
> gave us the basic principle behind the operation of all computers.A
> mathematical book can't add 2+2, not even if it contains Turing's brilliant
> paper, because the atoms in the book are not organized in the way that
> Turing said they needed to be in to perform calculations. The important
> thing to remember about a Turing machine is that it's a machine, and
> machines are made of atoms, matter can change but information by itself
> cannot, it needs the help of matter. And without change there is no
> calculation or intelligence or consciousness.

All actual computers that have been constructed thus far have been  
finite state machines approximating a Turing machines and not actual  
Turing machines which are purely abstract mathematical ideals that  
have infinite tape i.e. unlimited memory or hard drive space. The  
multiverse MIGHT be an actual Turing machine but nothing else can be.

> * > Everett's theory could very well be right but would require
>> the ontological existence of infinity as a physical quality.*
> Maybe, but not necessarily, nobody knows. The number of Everett Worlds is
> everything that is physically possible, and that might not be infinite, it
> might just be astronomically large raised to the astronomically large power.

Incidentally, the fact that an infinite-dimensional Hilbert space is  
necessary to describe the Universal Wave  Function also implies the  
ontological existence of infinity. Because the number of universes  
grows over time in a faster-than-exponential fashion, a multiverse  
that is merely astronomically large raised to the astronomically large  
power would quickly run out of space.

>>> *Our Hubble  volume alone has an information capacity of approximately
>> 7*10^186 by  Bekenstein's bound.*
> That's the maximum amount of information according to Bekenstein that could
> fit into a volume the size of the observable universe, but the actual
> amount is far below the maximum, it's about 10^104 bits, 10^82 times less.
> But never mind, the trouble with the Bekenstein's bound is that it
> assumes General Relativity holds true all the way down to the Planck level
> of 10^-35 Meters and 10^-43 Seconds, and that is almost certainly not true.
> We won't really know how much information a given volume of space can
> contain until we have a Quantum Theory of Gravity.

Why do you think general relativity can't be true at Planck scales?  
General relativity is based on the fundamental principles of calculus  
which allow any infinitesimally small region of curved space-time to  
be approximated as flat Minkowski space. The Planck scale is really  
small but is not smaller than infinitely small.

> * > Another issue with Everett's theory is that, if consciousness is
>> truly unnecessary for the functioning of MWI, then how can you explain the
>> experimentally verified phenomenon of the Quantum Zeno effect?  Briefly,
>> quantum states do not transition while they are being  observed. So a
>> radioactive atom would never decay so long as someone was continually
>> observing it. So a radioactive atom would never decay so long as someone
>> was continually observing it. Why would the universe always wait for you to
>> look away before splitting into multiple quantum states? *
> Suppose an atom has a halflife of one second, the universe splits and so do
> I after one second.  In one universe the atom decays and in the other it
> doesn't. In the universe where it didn't decay after another second the
> universe splits again, and again in one universe it decays but in the other
> it has not, it survived for 2 full seconds. So there will be a version of
> me that observes this atom with a one second half life surviving for 3
> seconds, and 4 seconds, and 5 years, and 6 centuries, and you name it. By
> utilizing a series of increasingly complex and difficult procedures in the
> lab it is possible for the lab to be in the universe that contains
> observers that see the atom surviving for an arbitrary length of time. But
> the longer the time and the more atoms involved the more difficult the
> procedures become and is soon ridiculously impractical.

That is a really good explanation for how the Quantum Zeno Effect  
could operate in Everett's multiverse, but it also seems that it  
allows researchers to freely choose to be in the universe where the  
atom takes an arbritrarily long time to decay with effort. This  
demonstrates that to a certain extent that we can choose the Everett  
branch we find ourselves in. That sounds like free will to me,  
contrary to Giulio Prisco's notion that MWI is incompatible with such.

Stuart LaForge

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