[ExI] Let's play What If.

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Fri Oct 29 21:06:22 UTC 2010

On 10/29/2010 1:43 PM, Richard Loosemore wrote:

>> Since I am the original prior to any duplicating, I know I'm safe i

> But that interpretation implies an asymmetry between the two people,

Of course there's an asymmetry. Sometimes it is an asymmetry observable 
only by others, but so what? If the original remains awake during the 
operation, he can be in absolutely no doubt that he is the original. The 
duplicate *must* be in doubt, because his situation is radically 
discontinuous in ways the original's isn't.

The situation reminds me a bit of the asymmetry in special relativity, 
where the twin remaining on earth objectivity ages faster than the twin 
in the starship, because the starship underwent an acceleration, a 
discontinuous  change of state.

> After the duplication, the original would think to himself "Poor
> bastard, but at least I get to go free".

He would be right.

> The duplicate will wake up and say "WAIT!  What happened?!!!  You said
> the original would be okay!"

But then after a moment's thought, and a look around to see that he is 
in the compilation vat or receiving platform (or on the Moon, as in 
Budry's great novel ROGUE MOON) he'll realize he's mistaken.

> These two will be functionally identical.


> Each will claim to be the
> original, though one will have physical evidence that he woke up in the
> wrong place.

Untrue. The twin in the starship might feel no different from the twin 
back on earth, but a look at his circumstances will quickly set him 
straight (if he's honest).

> The thought will be stored in both versions after the operation.

Indeed, which will raise interesting issues for therapists, but in one 
case this thought will be recognized as an error.

*This has nothing to do with whether the copy IS NOW (for a moment) an 
exact duplicate, another "you", etc*. His history is different, and this 
can be proved using instruments, appeals to witnesses, etc.

Damien Broderick

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list