[ExI] Strong AI Hypothesis: logically flawed

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Oct 3 06:07:05 UTC 2014

On 2 October 2014 07:45, Dan <danust2012 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tuesday, September 30, 2014 5:57 PM, Stathis Papaioannou
> <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> The other copies are not the you, now, in this world, but
> your past self is not the you, now in this world either.
> The copy of you that wakes up from cryonic sleep in a
> minority of worlds bears the same relationship to you,
> now as you, now bear to your past self.
> This relies on a certain view of persistence, which in itself is not
> uncontreversial. I'm sure you've heard of endurance, exdurance, and
> perdurance (or whatever other theory might be cooked up here) with regard to
> persistence. It's unclear to me which is the correct view to take here. And,
> again, I don't postulating one view is correct simply to make the solution
> you want is the way to go here. (The same goes for personal identity beyond
> temporal issues. The idea that self is an illusion is not settled and not
> without serious (in my mind) problems.)

Whatever the definition of death and personal identity you will be
left with this problem: your body has been replaced over time, yet you
don't worry about it; so if this is death or not really being you,
then this type of death or not really being you is no big deal.

> If you're blind or disfigured that is a real deficit and makes a real
> difference. If you die every night in your sleep and a different
> person wakes up in your bed with your memories every morning that is
> indistinguishable from ordinary life. In fact, it is arguable that that is
> what actually happens.
> It's true that the deficit is one you know about via memory: you recall that
> previous you didn't have said deficit and now you have it. (I was going to
> quip: But what if you really were already blind or disfigured and it's just
> your memory (and all other testimony) of not being so that's wrong here?)
> But my point is knowing you die every night is something that the new you
> would get used to -- or maybe not, but what could you do about it?

Well, suppose you could pay half of your income for a treatment that
would prevent it happening. You feel exactly the same in the morning,
but you are reassured by the doctor that you haven't died. Would you
pay for the treatment? What would you say to your friend who saves his
money because he thinks the definition of death this treatment is
meant to prevent is, since neither you nor anyone else notices any
difference, bullshit?

> But this doesn't clear up the matter of whether this is actually is the case
> or whether it clears up anything about possible worlds or a multiverse. That
> you couldn't tell any difference from the inside or out in the case of dying
> every night doesn't mean that this applies to supposed yous in other
> possible worlds or other universes. You're still trading on the idea that
> those other yous are somehow you rather than instances of you in another
> universe or possible world. And internally or externally, in many of these
> cases, they'd be distinguishable. The you that is here now exchanging emails
> with me is distinguishable from the you that's in another possible world
> who's never exchanged emails with me, for instance.

As I have explained before, almost all the matter in my body changes
over time, yet I still feel that that former self was me. So there is
no requirement for strict physical continuity: I am the continuation
of an entity whose memories I continue, and not necessarily an entity
made out of the same matter. If there are 10 identical copies of me in
the universe running in lockstep then I can't say which particular
copy I am the continuation of. As long as at least one copy remains, I
will continue living, just as I continue living despite the fact that
the atoms comprising my body last year have been thoroughly dispersed
in the environment.

> You could argue there are possible worlds or universes so close that you
> couldn't tell. Maybe, but it still doesn't answer whether they're the same
> you. Also, there are ones that are not so close where they are
> distinguishable, outside and in. Again, the problem is whether and how the
> yous (said in strong Cockney accent;) in different possible worlds or
> different universes are part of an overall you -- presuming either of these
> exist. That's not clear here. All of this seems like postulating a just so
> story on possible worlds or a multiverse to get the optimistic answer you
> want. (And we're not even getting into all the other possible worlds or
> universes where you life is far worse or nonexistent. Why just focus on the
> ones where you exist in a better state?)

If they differ from me then the copies are not me. Identical copies
will very quickly differentiate and are then no longer identical.

> Also, these are epistemic issues that don't really clear up what
> is the case. You might not know (or now know, considering that
> the problem might be tackled in the future) how to resolve these
> issues, but lacking a resolution doesn't erase the problem. Nor
> does merely adopting a resolution that seems
> uber-optimistic: no one really dies or needs to worry.
> This also doesn't really resolve the issue of whether strong AI
> is possible. I doubt it, but one conceive of it being the case
> that they are necessarily ruled out (in our world, or, if
> you please, in all possible worlds). Thus, fantasizing it
> might be different elsewhere doesn't guarantee just how it's
> different -- regardless of our ability to know.
> No, it doesn't have a direct bearing on the possibility of
> strong AI.
> At least in the actual world, we're in agreement on that. :)
> Regards,
> Dan
>  My latest Kindle book, "Born With Teeth," can be previewed at:
> http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N72FBA2
>  (It doesn't deal with strong AI or possible worlds, AFAIK.:)
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Stathis Papaioannou

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