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TheOtherDave comments on Timeless Identity - Less Wrong

23 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 03 June 2008 08:16AM

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Comment author: TheOtherDave 01 October 2013 07:02:09PM 0 points [-]

Did I somehow split into 100 different persons? Or was there in fact 101 separate subjective identities, 1 of which terminated in 2013 and 100 new ones created for the simulations? The latter is a more straight forward explanation, IMHO.

I would say that yes, at T1 there's one of me, and at T2 there's 100 of me.
I don't see what makes "there's 101 of me, one of which terminated at T1" more straightforward than that.

Comment author: [deleted] 01 October 2013 07:47:11PM 0 points [-]

I don't see what makes "there's 101 of me, one of which terminated at T1" more straightforward than that.

It's wrapped up in the question over what happened to that original copy that (maybe?) terminated at T1. Did that original version of you terminate completely and forever? Then I wouldn't count it among the 100 copies that were created later.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 01 October 2013 07:54:44PM 2 points [-]

Sure, obviously if it terminated then it isn't around afterwards.
Equally obviously, if it's around afterwards, it didn't terminate.

You said your metric for determining which description is accurate was (among other things) simplicity, and you claimed that the "101 - 1" answer is more straightforward (simpler?) than the "100" answer.
You can't now turn around and say that the reason it's simpler is because the "101-1" answer is accurate.

Either it's accurate because it's simpler, or it's simpler because it's accurate, but to assert both at once is illegitimate.

Comment author: [deleted] 01 October 2013 08:29:23PM *  0 points [-]

I'll address this in my sequence, which hopefully I will have time to write. The short answer is that what matters isn't which explanation of this situation is simpler, requires fewer words, a smaller number, or whatever. What matters is: which general rule is simpler?

Pattern or causal continuity leads to all sorts of weird edge cases, some of which I've tried to explain in my examples here, and in other cases fails (mysterious answer) to provide a definitive prediction of subjective experience. There may be other solutions, but computational continuity at the very least provides a simpler model, even if it results in the more "complex" 101-1 answer.

It's sorta like wave collapse vs many-worlds. Wave collapse is simpler (single world), right? No. Many worlds is the simpler theory because it requires fewer rules, even though it results in a mind-bogglingly more complex and varied multiverse. In this case I think computational continuity in the way I formulated it reduces consciousness down to simple general explanation that dissolves the question with no residual problems.

Kinda like how freewill is what a decision algorithm feels like from the inside, consciousness / subjective experience is what any computational process feels like from the inside. And therefore, when the computational process terminates, so too does the subjective experience.