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Ian_Maxwell comments on Timeless Identity - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Ian_Maxwell 03 June 2008 01:52:08PM 1 point [-]

This argument makes no sense to me:

If you've been cryocrastinating, putting off signing up for cryonics "until later", don't think that you've "gotten away with it so far". Many worlds, remember? There are branched versions of you that are dying of cancer, and not signed up for cryonics, and it's too late for them to get life insurance.

This is only happening in the scenarios where I didn't sign up for cryonics. In the ones where I did sign up, I'm safe and cozy in my very cold bed. These universes don't exist contingent on my behavior in this one; what possible impact could my choice here to sign up for cryonics have on my alternate-universe Doppelg채ngeren?

Comment author: propater 08 March 2011 10:38:36AM *  1 point [-]

Same here. This does not strike me as a good argument at all... We can reverse it to argue against signing up for cryonics :

"Even if I sign up for cryonics, there will still be some other worlds in wich I didn't and in wich "I" am dying of cancer."


"Even if don't sign up, there are still other worlds in wich I did."

Maybe there is something about me actually making the choice to sign up in this world altering/constraining the overall probability distribution and making some outcomes less and less probable in the overall distribution...

I am new to this side and I still have to search through it more thoroughfuly but I really don't think I can let that argument fly by without reaction. I appologize in advance if I make some really dumb mistake here.


Okay, I thought this over a little bit and I can see a point: the earlier I sign up the more there will be of future "me"s getting cryonised. I do not see how much it matters in the grand scheme of things (I am just choosing a branch , I am not destroying the branch in wich I choose not to sign up.) but I guess there can be something along the lines of "I can not do much about the past but my decisions can influence the 'future'" or "my responsability is about my future 'me's, I should not worry about the worlds I can not 'reach'"

The argument still sounds rather weak to me (and the many-world view a bit nihilistic, not that it makes it wrong but I find it rather weird that you manage to get some sort of positive drive from it.)

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 29 May 2012 03:20:08PM 1 point [-]

I am just choosing a branch , I am not destroying the branch in wich I choose not to sign up.

Actually... you are. The physical implementation of making the choice involves shifting weight from not-signed-up branches to signed-up branches (note, the 'not-signed-up-yet' branch is defined in a way that lets it leak amplitude). That implementation is contained within you, and it involves processes we describe as applying operators on that branch which reduce its amplitude. This totally counts as destroying the branch.

Comment author: Zaq 10 October 2013 09:58:04PM 1 point [-]

Okay, we need to be really careful about this.

If you sign up for cryonics at time T1, then the not-signed-up branch has lower amplitude after T1 than it had before T1. But this is very different from saying that the not-signed up branch has lower amplitude after T1 than it would have had after T1 if you had not signed up for cryonics at T1. In fact, the latter statement is necessarily false if physics really is timeless.

I think this latter point is what the other posters are driving at. It is true that if there is a branch at T1 where some yous go down a path where they sign up and others don't, then the amplitude for not-signed-up is lower after T1. But this happens even if this particular you doesn't go down the signed-up branch. What matters is that the branch point occurs, not which one any specific you takes.

In other words, amplitude is always being seeped from the not-signed-up branch, even if some particular you keeps not leaving that branch.