Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

You are (mostly) a simulation.

-4 Post author: Eitan_Zohar 18 July 2015 04:40PM

This post was completely rewritten on July 17th, 2015, 6:10 AM. Comments before that are not necessarily relevant.

Assume that our minds really do work the way Unification tells us: what we are experiencing is actually the sum total of every possible universe which produces them. Some universes have more 'measure' than others, and that is typically the stable ones; we do not experience chaos. I think this makes a great deal of sense- if our minds really are patterns of information I do not see why a physical world should have a monopoly on it.

Now to prove that we live in a Big World. The logic is simple- why would something finite exist? If we're going to reason that some fundamental law causes everything to exist, I don't see why that law restricts itself to this universe and nothing else. Why would it stop? It is, arguably, simply the nature of things for an infinite multiverse to exist.

I'm pretty terrible at math, so please try to forgive me if this sounds wrong. Take the 'density' of physical universes where you exist- the measure, if you will- and call it j. Then take the measure of universes where you are simulated and call it p. So, the question become is j greater than p? You might be thinking yes, but remember that it doesn't only have to be one simulation per universe. According to our Big World model there is a universe out there in which all processing power (or a significant portion) as been turned into simulations of you.

So we take the amount of minds being simulated per universe and call that x. Then the real question becomes if j > px. What sort of universe is common enough and contains enough minds to overcome j? If you say that approximately 10^60 simulated human minds could fit in it (a reasonable guess for this universe) but that such universes are five trillion times rarer than the universe we live in, than it's clear that our own 'physical' measure is hopelessly lower than our simulated measure.

Should we worry about this? It would seem highly probable that in most universes where I am being simulated I once existed in, or humans did, since the odds of randomly stumbling upon me in Mind Space seem unlikely enough to ignore. Presumably they are either AIs gone wrong or someone trying to grab some of my measure, for whatever reason.

As way of protecting measure, pretty much all of our postsingularity universes would divide up the matter of the universe for each person living, create as many simulations as possible of them from birth, and allow them to go through the Singularity. I expect that my ultimate form is a single me, not knowing if he is simulated or not, with billions of perfect simulations of himself across our universe, all reasoning the same way (he would be told this by the AI, since there isn't any more reason for secrecy). This, I think, would be able to guard my measure against nefarious or bizarre universes in which I am simulated. It cannot just simulate the last few moments of my life because those other universes might try to grab younger versions of me. So if we take j to be safe measure rather than physical measure, and p to be unsafe or alien, it becomes jx > px, which I think is quite reasonable.

I do not think of this as some kind of solipsist nightmare; the whole point of this is to simulate the 'real' you, the one that really existed, and part of your measure is, after all, always interacting in a real universe. I would suggest that by any philosophical standard the simulations could be ignored, with the value of your life being the same as ever.

Comments (102)

Comment author: Dentin 17 July 2015 03:46:06PM 5 points [-]

I consider it bad form to do such a massive rewrite, thereby obsoleting the entire previous comment stream.

Regarding your new post, I think you need to taboo the word 'measure' and rewrite all your posts without it. It would make things much more clear for the rest of us. When communicating with others, it is more important to be clear and precise than it is to be compact, and your use of 'measure' is neither clear nor precise to a good number of your audience.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 17 July 2015 07:40:49PM *  0 points [-]

I consider it bad form to do such a massive rewrite, thereby obsoleting the entire previous comment stream.

I've made three desperate threads in about a week; I don't want to take over the website. I think we can agree that my original post wasn't very useful, though.

Regarding your new post, I think you need to taboo the word 'measure' and rewrite all your posts without it. It would make things much more clear for the rest of us. When communicating with others, it is more important to be clear and precise than it is to be compact, and your use of 'measure' is neither clear nor precise to a good number of your audience.

Sorry. I'll try and see how that goes in the future.

Comment author: LessWrong 20 July 2015 11:59:48AM *  2 points [-]

Can someone explain me what's the point of this post? No offense intended; reading the first paragraph made my mind literally explode wondering what the hell I've just read.

I haven't read Permutation City (a comment mentioned it) and in fact I approached all LW material I've read with only my previous experience and reasoning abilities, and ALL topics such as this that feel so meta, out-of-this-world, and seemingly with no practical implications make no sense to me.

Am I missing something?

Comment author: Dentin 20 July 2015 02:40:10PM 2 points [-]

Nope, you're pretty much bang-on here. The stuff being discussed has no observables and no practical applications. Mostly, it appears to be a way for the author to feel better about the topic, as he claims to be prone to panic attacks and existential anxiety.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 20 July 2015 12:37:13PM *  0 points [-]

Permutation City is only required reading to understand Dust Theory. I'm arguing that the odds of us being simulated (if the reference class includes the whole multiverse) is extremely high. I also believe in the information theory of identity; this means that part of our consciousness is really being implemented in the physical world. This, following the lines of argument, gives hypothetical future FAIs a motive to simulate us.

I didn't realize how hard this was to follow if you aren't already familiar with these concepts. Sorry!

Comment author: gjm 17 July 2015 02:01:37PM 2 points [-]

Eitan, I think you should set down exactly what you take "Dust Theory" to mean, for at least the following reasons: Not everyone has read "Permutation City"; those who have may have forgotten some details; the book may not nail down all those details firmly enough to make the term unambiguous; you might mean by it something slightly different from what Egan does.

(For the avoidance of doubt, that last one would not necessarily be a bad thing. The most credible thing deserving the name "Dust Theory" might not be quite the same as what's described in what is, after all, a work of fiction with its own narrative constraints.)

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 17 July 2015 07:56:02PM *  -2 points [-]

Dust Theory isn't actually relevant to this. I'm discussing practicality rather than interpretation, i.e. "shut up and calculate".

Comment author: gjm 17 July 2015 10:16:22PM 1 point [-]

But a lot of what you've been writing makes explicit use of that term. Your post begins "First of all, let's assume that our minds really do work the way Dust Theory tells us". If what follows is less than perfectly clear on its own (as, at least for me, it is) then it's reasonable to try to use your allusion to Dust Theory to help disambiguate. But we can only do that in so far as we understand exactly what you're taking Dust Theory to be.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 18 July 2015 07:07:36AM *  -1 points [-]

Basically, all that is required is for two minds in the same conscious state to have only one phenomenological experience. This is something I think is absolutely true.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 18 July 2015 05:19:03PM *  0 points [-]

Basically, all that is required is for two minds in the same conscious state to have only one phenomenological experience.

If you mean that there is literally one experience (numerical identity), not two identical experiences (qualitative identity), that would need support.

And you still need further assumptions to say something interesting about measure, expected experience, personal history etc.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 18 July 2015 06:36:13PM *  -1 points [-]

If there are two identical experiences, it doesn't actually affect the argument. Except that you would be wholly in a simulation (or not), and there would be less incentive for future FAIs to simulate you. Grim, if I took it seriously.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 18 July 2015 07:15:14PM *  1 point [-]

If there are two identical experiences, there is no problem of jumping, .or waking up as someone else. Identical twins don't randomly swap identities. Jumping is a dynamical, causal process. You can make it happen by transplanting a brain,or copying a neural pattern, but there is no reason it should happen because of pure logic,

While we're on the subject, if there is a single experience threaded through multiple worlds, there is also no jumping. You can't jump from one version your self another, because there is only one version. You can't jump from one world to another, in the sense of leaving one and ariving at another, because you are always in all of them.

That disposes of jumping, but you seem to have some further concern about simulation.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 20 July 2015 07:23:20AM *  0 points [-]

If there are two identical experiences, there is no problem of jumping, .or waking up as someone else. Identical twins don't randomly swap identities. Jumping is a dynamical, causal process. You can make it happen by transplanting a brain,or copying a neural pattern, but there is no reason it should happen because of pure logic,

Sure, but haven't I just said I don't take Duplication seriously?

While we're on the subject, if there is a single experience threaded through multiple worlds, there is also no jumping. You can't jump from one version your self another, because there is only one version.

The whole point is about what happens when my self becomes less detailed. If it resumes its former detail (waking up), all may not be as it was. If a memory is completely extracted from my brain, than my brain ceases to anchor me predominantly in worlds where that memory happened. Other options could fill in the hole.

You can't jump from one world to another, in the sense of leaving one and ariving at another, because you are always in all of them.

This has never been about 'jumping' wholesale! I just used the word because there is no other.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 21 July 2015 10:29:02AM *  0 points [-]

Sure, but haven't I just said I don't take Duplication seriously?

"Unification (Bostrom's term) seems to be almost irrefutable"

The whole point is about what happens when my self becomes less detailed.

I would have thought the point was justifying the claim about dissolution.

If it resumes its former detail (waking up), all may not be as it was

That is, somehow or other, a claim about causlaity, .transtemporal identity, or something else you have never provided a premise relating to.

If it resumes its former detail (waking up), all may not be as it was. If a memory is completely extracted from my brain, than my brain ceases to anchor me predominantly in worlds where that memory happened. Other options could fill in the hole.

I can make some sense of that, assuming duplication. If your brain has been copied N times, then you have a 1/N chance of being the original .... assuming you can only be one at time.

That would create a worry about being in a simulation that wasn't stable, but your actual worry is apparently about lack of reality....although a .simulation still has an indirect connection to reality.

But then you believe in Unification, which would mean you you are indissolubly n whatever world you ate in.

This has never been about 'jumping' wholesale! I just used the word because there is no other.

You can use a phrase, or invent a word.

Comment author: hairyfigment 15 July 2015 06:35:21PM 3 points [-]

What the frakking Hell? Dust theory on its face gives almost uniformly false predictions. Now, we are admittedly confused about how to assign probabilities in cases like this, but confusion is a bad reason to adopt a radical new view of reality. That's not how confusion is supposed to work.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 15 July 2015 07:02:40PM 0 points [-]

Dust theory on its face gives almost uniformly false predictions.

Could you name a few?

Comment author: hairyfigment 15 July 2015 07:10:04PM 4 points [-]

Discontinuities in the observed laws of physics, before I finish typing this. Nope, still wrong on its face.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 16 July 2015 03:26:08AM 0 points [-]

Which laws of physics in particular?

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 16 July 2015 10:52:34AM 0 points [-]

No laws in particular: all laws in general.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 16 July 2015 12:13:29PM *  0 points [-]

Why should it disobey every observed law of physics? Are you arguing that conscious observers would almost certainly experience chaos? If so I agree with you. I don't accept 'pure' Dust Theory.

Comment author: James_Miller 18 July 2015 06:34:51PM 1 point [-]

Why are you in a simulation and not a Boltzmann brain? If the universe goes on forever after heat death, then there will be an infinite number of Boltzmann brain yous.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 18 July 2015 06:48:59PM *  2 points [-]

I see a coherent, justified universe around me with apparently sound perceptions. Therefore, I conclude that it is overwhelmingly more likely that something is wrong with your reasoning/assumptions than I am a Boltzmann brain.

Seriously, Boltzmann brains are never ever the answer. Why do people keep using them?

Comment author: Manfred 18 July 2015 07:59:08PM 3 points [-]

Seeing a coherent, justified universe is just a restriction on what kind of Boltzmann brain you are. There is a very simple calculation here (if you've ever taken introductory thermodynamics) and it goes like this:

In an infinite universe, the likelihood of existing in some "macroscopic state of the world" like "your brain is inside your body on the earth in the solar system" or "your exact brain is floating inside a cloud of disordered gas the mass of the solar system" is proportional to how many "microscopic states of the world" correspond that that macroscopic state, where a microscopic state means writing down the states of all the subatomic particles and what they're doing. (This is the assumption that the universe reaches thermal equilibrium).

And because the solar system is so orderly (it's not at maximum entropy), there are many, many, many, MANY more possible microscopic states corresponding to a macroscopic state like "your brain is floating inside a cloud of disordered gas" than there are to the actual states corresponding to a real solar system.

Thus, if Boltzmann brains exist, you probably are one. And if you have an infinite universe that reaches thermal equilibrium, they exist.

Conversely, if I'm not a Boltzmann brain, then it's because the universe happens to not reach thermal equilibrium (e.g. the universe ends, or expands so fast that everything cools to the ground state eventually, or there exists some method of violating the second law of thermodynamics).

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 20 July 2015 08:26:20AM *  0 points [-]

In an infinite universe, the likelihood of existing in some "macroscopic state of the world" like "your brain is inside your body on the earth in the solar system" or "your exact brain is floating inside a cloud of disordered gas the mass of the solar system" is proportional to how many "microscopic states of the world" correspond that that macroscopic state, where a microscopic state means writing down the states of all the subatomic particles and what they're doing. (This is the assumption that the universe reaches thermal equilibrium).

And because the solar system is so orderly (it's not at maximum entropy), there are many, many, many, MANY more possible microscopic states corresponding to a macroscopic state like "your brain is floating inside a cloud of disordered gas" than there are to the actual states corresponding to a real solar system.

I don't understand much of this. My argument is that Boltzmann brains would almost certainly experience chaos. So I would have to be in the 0.000000000000000000001% of Boltzmann brains to observe a rational universe (not to mention one that actually predicts the existence of Boltzmann brains). Yes, the rational Boltzmann Brains actually would outnumber their regular counterparts, but that's talking past the problem. The odds are astronomically higher that something is wrong with your science. Maybe FAI figures out how to create negentropy, or breaks out into another universe, or finds a way to have infinite computing power. You suggested some options yourself. All of these have a probability considerably higher than 0.000000000000000000001%.

Comment author: turchin 18 July 2015 09:38:25PM *  1 point [-]

The idea that you are Bolzmann brain is of the same level of dangerous ideas as your interpretation of Dust theory. Basically it is the same theory. I spent unpleasant evening once thinking that I may be Bolzmann brain. But I solve it after I decided that information theory of personal identity is true, and so the number of copies does not matter, if at least one of them continue its existence.

The fact that you are BB does not exclude the fact that you are in simulation as there are special class of BB - that is Bolzmann supercomputers. It is an AI that appears from nothing and creats a simulation of our world. I think that this may be dominating class of BBs (by number of human observers). It also solves the problem of orderly world view around us.

Comment author: James_Miller 18 July 2015 09:57:06PM 0 points [-]

I think that this may be dominating class of BBs (by number of human observers).

Interesting. If you have time please elaborate.

Comment author: turchin 18 July 2015 10:07:29PM *  1 point [-]

I was planning to write a post about one day...

Basically the idea is that between ordinary BB and real brains exist third class of objects. These objects temporary appear from fluctuation but are able to create very large number of minds during its short existence. These objects are more complex than ordinary brain and thus more rare, but as they are able to creates many minds, the minds inside these objects will dominate. At first I named these objects "Bolzmann typewriters" but later I understood that it could be just a computer with a program which is able to create minds. (And as simulated mind is simpler than biological brain, which include all neurons and atoms, such simple simulated minds must dominate.)

Another type of Bolzamnn typewriter are universes fine tuned to create as many minds as possible (and even our universe is a type of it.)

If we are in Bolzmann typewriter or Bolzmann supercomputer it may have observable consequences, like small "mistakes in the matrix". It also may have abrupt end.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 20 July 2015 08:42:51AM *  0 points [-]

You're operating under the assumption that only humans count as observers, which is almost certainly not true and breaks the whole theory down.

(Btw, if such complicated things can exist in high-entropy environments, than why aren't we able to survive there after heat death? Unless we're talking about quantum permutations?)

Comment author: turchin 20 July 2015 10:23:53AM 0 points [-]

In fact, I think that only humans who are able to understand Doomsday Argument should be counted as observers... :) But where I use this idea here?

Yes, may be we can survive after heat death in such fluctuation and in my recent roadmap "How to survive the end of the Universe" it was suggested.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 20 July 2015 10:44:14AM *  0 points [-]

All I'm saying is that out of all possible observers that would arise in a Boltzmann state, ours is a long way from the most common.

In fact, I think that only humans who are able to understand Doomsday Argument should be counted as observers... :)

Why?

Comment author: turchin 20 July 2015 11:57:01AM 0 points [-]

When I search my position in the class of observers that are like me, the only thing which is define this class of observers is that it is able to write down and understand this sentence. And I should not count the ones who are not able to understand it, because I already know that they are not me. In short: If one ask "Why I am not a worm?", the answer is: because a worm can't make this question.

So the right question would be in case of BB: "from all observers who could think that they are in BB, am I most common or not?" The answer depends on how random our circumstances are. My surrounding seems to be not so random as TV signal noice: I sit in my room.

The problem is that we can't take for granted that BB could judge randomness of their surroundings adequately. For example: in a dream you may have a thought and think that it is very wise. But in the morning you will understand that it is bullshit.

So, in fact, we have a class of observers, which now defined by two premises: the thought: "Am I a BB" and the observation: "My surrounding seems to be not enough random for BB" (which may be untrue, but we still think so)

Now we could ask a question where is the biggest part of this subset of observers? And even for this subset of observers we still have to conclude that its biggest is in BB.

Personally, I think that it is just a problem of our theory or reality, and if we move to another reality theory, the problem will disappear. The next level theory will be theory of qualia universe. But there may be other solutions: if we take linear model of reality than only information is identity substrate but not continuity, and so copies are smothly add up to one another.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 20 July 2015 12:52:04PM *  1 point [-]

When I search my position in the class of observers that are like me, the only thing which is define this class of observers is that it is able to write down and understand this sentence. And I should not count the ones who are not able to understand it, because I already know that they are not me. In short: If one ask "Why I am not a worm?", the answer is: because a worm can't make this question.

But if the question has nothing to do with whether or not you understand it? Taking the DA as our example, the only thing you ought to be concerned about is what human are you. I don't see why comprehension of the DA is relevant to that.

The problem is that we can't take for granted that BB could judge randomness of their surroundings adequately. For example: in a dream you may have a thought and think that it is very wise. But in the morning you will understand that it is bullshit.

And our knowledge of BBs comes solely from a long series of assumptions and inferences. If most observers are Boltzmann brains, than most observers, of whatever type, will experience chaos. If you're going to say that that might not be true because BBs are deluded, I have to ask why the same doesn't apply to the argument that we might be BBs. It's a great deal more complicated than my own argument, which is that chaos is more common than order.

Why not assume an evil daemon, if we're going to reason this way?

Comment author: James_Miller 18 July 2015 10:15:14PM *  0 points [-]

So our laws of physics seem consistent because this requires less code.

Comment author: turchin 18 July 2015 05:29:25PM 1 point [-]

Now you just repeating Bostrom simulation argument. But why you rewrite early post is not clear as it will be misleading for commenters.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 18 July 2015 06:38:30PM -2 points [-]

Now you just repeating Bostrom simulation argument.

Certainly not. The simulation argument just talks about one universe. I'm taking the multiverse into account.

Comment author: joe_montana 18 July 2015 10:25:11PM 0 points [-]

If we are in simulated universe, you don't have to worry. With high probability (99%) the outer universe is also simulation.

Comment author: turchin 18 July 2015 10:39:56PM 0 points [-]

Matrioshka universe is not stable because glitch on any level will terminate downlevel

Comment author: joe_montana 18 July 2015 10:56:30PM *  0 points [-]

If they are using backups on their simulators/computers, they just restart from the last backup. Therefore if the root universe is using backups and all simulated are copy from the root, the system is stable. The restart is not visible inside the simulated universe.

Comment author: turchin 18 July 2015 09:27:07PM 0 points [-]

yes, it is obvious patch it Bostrom's logic. If you continue it, you may conclude that cheap simulation are more numerous. "Cheap" means this that physics detalisation is poor and probably it is simulation of just one person - you.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 20 July 2015 08:33:25AM *  0 points [-]

yes, it is obvious patch it Bostrom's logic. If you continue it, you may conclude that cheap simulation are more numerous. "Cheap" means this that physics detalisation is poor and probably it is simulation of just one person - you.

You haven't properly read my argument. That's exactly what I say- but also that the simulation is designed around a real experience.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 19 July 2015 02:08:00PM 0 points [-]

You know Bostrom is arguing against unification, right?

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 20 July 2015 09:01:25AM 0 points [-]

Yes, where did I give the impression that I didn't?

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 21 July 2015 08:57:15AM 1 point [-]

"I do. Unification (Bostrom's term) seems to be almost irrefutable, and therefore Dust Theory is at least partly right."

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 21 July 2015 09:25:01AM 0 points [-]

I said it was Bostrom's term. How is that a wrong impression?

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 21 July 2015 12:28:44PM 1 point [-]

Its easy to make the inference that it's Bostrom argument that seems irrefutable, particularly as you didnt give one of your own.

Comment author: jacob_cannell 17 July 2015 08:45:40PM *  0 points [-]

Upvoted because I've come to similar conclusions and believe that simulation anthropics are interesting and worth discussing.

I didn't read your first version of the post. I guess you are being downvoted because of some combination of poor/obtuse presentation ('dust theory' is a poor name, it suggests ultra low probability worlds), history of presenting 'crazy' ideas, etc. I feel somewhat bad for you so I may create another supporting thread to present and discuss this general topic.

Also, it would really help if you link to earlier discuss of anthropics - some of these issues have been discussed at length here in the past.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 18 July 2015 07:10:19AM *  -2 points [-]

I feel somewhat bad for you so I may create another supporting thread to present and discuss this general topic.

That sounds like a good idea, but don't feel pressured. EDIT: Actually, I regret saying that. This is an urgent topic that needs to be discussed, and I people are too used to me creating desperate threads now to pay attention.

Also, it would really help if you link to earlier discuss of anthropics - some of these issues have been discussed at length here in the past.

I'm afraid I'm not familiar with these discussions.

Comment author: jacob_cannell 19 July 2015 03:41:07PM 0 points [-]

That's part of the problem. Use the google search bar on this site, search for "anthropics". Also look at previous discussions of SIA, SSA issues, sim argument stuff, etc.

Comment author: turchin 15 July 2015 08:59:06PM *  0 points [-]

I feel sorry that I inspired this thread by my comment but did not elaborate it enough. Basically I have multilevel depositorium of wild ideas, with wildest are on the top. (I think I should make a map about it :) So I peak an idea from the next level of the depositorium, not the wildest one, to help Eltan. As I know that it is wild idea I can't take it for granted and I understand that it needs more profound explanation. As I write slowly on foreign language, I was hesitated to go for long explanation which will only spoil my carma afterwords.

Basically, my idea would be easy to explain using quantum multiverse hypothesis. The explanatory logic when could be ported to Dust theory.

  1. Different minds have different probabilities to exist in multiverse.
  2. When, IF there is a way to influence probabilities of existence, when minds able to do so will dominate. It is just another explanation for natural selection and evolutionary psychology, nothing new here.
  3. If there is other ways to change distribution of minds in different branches of multiverse, some minds will use it and will dominate and most likely we are such type of minds. Or, simply speaking, if magic is physically possible, when such magic capable mids would dominate, so they will be an attractor in total multiverse mind space. (Again, if you see Bostrom's UN++ article you could find rational explanation how a mind could manipulate probability of future reality by almost magical means but in fact using Doomsday argument). It all depends of word "if", so we can't take it for granted.

I was speaking about it only to illustrate what is an attractor of minds in complex universe. Different complex universes has different mind attractors, for example, if time travel is possible, where will be constant loops as attractors.

Now we move to the topic. Suppose that many me-like-expirineces exist in different worlds. If I narrow my experience, it may exist in many more worlds. If I narrow it to a point, I could be almost everybody. When I open my eyes, and I become one of trillions different observers. Resulting process may be explained as jumping of consciousness from one observer to another. Personally, I think it is not a problem at all, as after many jumps consciousness will return to original observer and it will not have observable consequences.

Lets assume for the sake of the argument that such jumping may happen.

This jumping of consciousness from one observer to another may be represented as a line in the set of all possible observers, and such line may go almost infinite and random until it meet an observer that somehow prevents its jumping - he will be an attractor. How he could do it? His consciousness must be more stable and each small part of it must be more firmly connected with other.

Now the things go wilder. We will evaluate human consciousness for these criteria. Human has almost constant dreaming during sleep time, and I suggested that it may prevent consciousness from loosing its exact correspondence to mostly human and "his" world. (But on the next level of wilderness we could remember that yogis deliberately tries to experience one point state. I had it once during dream. It like a become a point even without colors or difference between audio and video.)

Also humans have qualia that are uniform inside all visual field (which is strange in fact). So any small qualia, any green point is enough to firmly correspondent to all possible experiences and thus stabilise them against jumping. I think that qualia are needed mostly to strictly stabilise worlds. I understood that I went too far for rationalist forum, so I will stop with my speculations how qualia stabilise the world.

Comment author: jacob_cannell 17 July 2015 08:37:02PM *  1 point [-]

What is Bostrom's UN++ article?

EDIT: nevermind, google can easily find it

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 16 July 2015 10:43:36AM 1 point [-]

Resulting process may be explained as jumping of consciousness from one observer to another.

May it? DT and MWI don't support the idea of consciousness that can detach itself and literally jump. Or if it is a metaphor, what is it a metaphor for?

Personally, I think it is not a problem at all, as after many jumps consciousness will return to original observer

Do you have any reason for believing that other than the inconvenience of the alternative?

Comment author: turchin 16 July 2015 02:09:18PM 0 points [-]

I speak about DT and MWI in terms of opening post, where they need to explain more general theory which was named "flux universe". Idea of flux universe is that things which are not inside your attention become blurred. The most well known example of blurred things us Shredinger cat. But in my opinion you do not need neither DT or MWI to get to flux reality. Because even in classical universe the same observers (copies) may exist in different circumstances. And if I deliberately exclude from my attention many things I will become equal to many other observers, thus changing size of my reference class.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 16 July 2015 04:02:53AM *  1 point [-]

If there is other ways to change distribution of minds in different branches of multiverse, some minds will use it and will dominate and most likely we are such type of minds. Or, simply speaking, if magic is physically possible, when such magic capable mids would dominate, so they will be an attractor in total multiverse mind space.

I have no idea why you think this is the case. How would "magic-capable minds" dominate Mind Space? What even is magic? I read Bostrom's UN++ paper and I do not understand how it is used in your logic.

Personally, I think it is not a problem at all, as after many jumps consciousness will return to original observer and it will not have observable consequences.

Well, that's where we will have to disagree.

This jumping of consciousness from one observer to another may be represented as a line in the set of all possible observers, and such line may go almost infinite and random until it meet an observer that somehow prevents its jumping - he will be an attractor. How he could do it? His consciousness must be more stable and each small part of it must be more firmly connected with other.

Yes, this is precisely my understanding of it.

(But on the next level of wilderness we could remember that yogis deliberately tries to experience one point state. I had it once during dream. It like a become a point even without colors or difference between audio and video.)

Also humans have qualia that are uniform inside all visual field (which is strange in fact). So any small qualia, any green point is enough to firmly correspondent to all possible experiences and thus stabilise them against jumping. I think that qualia are needed mostly to strictly stabilise worlds.

I'm afraid that I do not understand a single sentence here, and I can't fathom how this has to do with magical powers.

I understood that I went too far for rationalist forum, so I will stop with my speculations how qualia stabilise the world.

No way, you've given far better answers than anyone else here.

Comment author: turchin 16 July 2015 01:44:17PM 0 points [-]

Ok, first I will explain what do I mean using word "magic" here. I define magic as an ability to influence probability of your own success by direct manipulation of probabilities, rather than simple fitting. In Bostrom article Adam and Eve manipulate probabilities of useful events by manipulating total number of observers in their universe. Now is my claim: IF any magic is physically possible, when evolutionary process of natural selection has already use it. Because manipulating of probabilities of success of your offsprings will give you strong evolutionary advantage. This magic may be very small, just 51 percent chance to get better genes in offspring and 49 per cent chance not to die in 50-50 situation. This claim is not equal to the claim that any magic exist or any claims about possible mechanism of such magic. But if evolutionary small magic exist, we could find its evidence studying theory and history of the evolution. Such evidence would be unprobable genetic mutations or evolutionary jumps. (But one of explanatory mechanism of such magic could be just anthropic principle - we could find our selves only on the worlds there evolution was quick enough to create intelligence). But even stronger mechanism of evolutionary magic is possible, and they are most likely connected with manipulating за branches probabilities in the quantum multiverse.

And here we come to stronger claim: If any magic is possible in any part of quantum multiverse and is using manipulating of amount of branches - when we are most likely in such part of the multiverse. Prove: if someone able manipulate ammount of branches, it most likely is about creating many new branches. Many here means astronomically more. So we are probably here, based on self-sampling assumption.

Ok, lets try to explain one-pont state in your own words. Basically, your personality model consists of pure attention part P, and memory part M1. If P moves away from M1, it can't return back and could go to any M2, M3 and so on. Basically one point state is pure attention without any experience. In words of contemporary philosopher BENJ HELLIE it is just "sole pellet". Somehow it is possible to feel pure attention, may be it is a situation when it starts to experience itself. (Or maybe it is only illusion). Some esoteric theories are concentrated about this ability, mostly Dzogchen school of TIbet Buddhism (rigpa conception). But in european rational tradition one may remember phenomenalogical reduction by Husserl https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Husserl#The_elaboration_of_phenomenology

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 16 July 2015 06:01:56PM *  0 points [-]

In Bostrom article Adam and Eve manipulate probabilities of useful events by manipulating total number of observers in their universe. Now is my claim: IF any magic is physically possible, when evolutionary process of natural selection has already use it. Because manipulating of probabilities of success of your offsprings will give you strong evolutionary advantage. This magic may be very small, just 51 percent chance to get better genes in offspring and 49 per cent chance not to die in 50-50 situation. This claim is not equal to the claim that any magic exist or any claims about possible mechanism of such magic.

Why? I think the mechanism has everything to do with it; can you think of any other way to perform 'magic' than Adam's anthropic cheat? Besides, it wouldn't even work- if he were being observed by us, we have no rational reason to believe that a wounded deer will come around, and we'd be right. It's simply an anomaly brought about by Adam's highly improbable perspective as the first of billions of observers.

Ok, lets try to explain one-pont state in your own words. Basically, your personality model consists of pure attention part P, and memory part M1. If P moves away from M1, it can't return back and could go to any M2, M3 and so on. Basically one point state is pure attention without any experience. In words of contemporary philosopher BENJ HELLIE it is just "sole pellet". Somehow it is possible to feel pure attention, may be it is a situation when it starts to experience itself. (Or maybe it is only illusion). Some esoteric theories are concentrated about this ability, mostly Dzogchen school of TIbet Buddhism (rigpa conception). But in european rational tradition one may remember phenomenalogical reduction by Husserl

OK, I think I have a better grasp now. But what are you arguing for? What's the point?

Comment author: turchin 16 July 2015 06:54:01PM *  0 points [-]

I do not argue now, I just try to answer your questions. The final nature of reality is not known to me, but I have many interesting ideas. If our idea of reality is wrong it means that new existential risks exist. And may be new opportunities to prevent them.

Magic it self is not important, it is important that it require different nature of reality.

Now how to manipulate probabilities. For example I want to win in a lottery with chances 1 to 100. What I need to do so is a copy machine and external computer and MWI interpretation. I create 100 copies of me, and put them in sleep. Than external computer check result of the lottery and kill 99 sleeping copies which do not win. The only survived copy finds that it won. (Such "magic" can't be measured by outside observer.)

It in fact somehow resemble two-slot experiment. It may be presented in following way: An electron sends its wave function to "see" all possible ways and "calculate" probabilities using all trajectories and their interference. After it, it move by one of this trajectories. Sending wave-function is like creating millions copies. Interference of trajectories which results in cancelling of trajectories is like killing wrong copies. Actual trajectory is like awakening in with wining ticket. Basically it helps the electron to create some "magic" like moving through two slots simultaneously.

While this explanation may be simplificated and probably wrong, I hope it may be food for thoughts. It does not include qualia, for example.

UPDATE: I think that first living organisms was able to use this also somehow, so it is not only for electrons and supercomputers, but also for living beings, and this ability evolve during evolution.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 15 July 2015 06:50:03PM 0 points [-]

When I was a youth I wondered where my consciousness came from. How it came that I perceived, that my consciousness was mine. Where it came from. What good luck that the consciousness that was I had such good parents and home. I could have been someone else, someone suffering. I conceived many consciousness instances like processors waiting for a being (e.g. a baby) to become conscious and start 'executing' in it. But where were these? Were these the souls? And were did they go when we die?

It was quite obvious that even if these instances 'persisted' that they carried no state from one physical being to the next. Otherwise there'd be effects from that. Like memory. I obviously had no memory of having been in other being previously. Some people seemed to claim it but not concvincingly so. And also memory was encoded in the brain and that decayed. So the only persistent thing about my imaginary consciousness processors were ... the concept of a processor being necessary. And that seems to have solved the mystery for me then.

Curiously these ideas mostly came in the evening when sleep was near but I never thought that the consciousness would break by sleep.

Comment author: polymathwannabe 15 July 2015 07:01:00PM 3 points [-]

I had the same question as a kid. Only about a couple of years ago I discovered it was of academic interest.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 15 July 2015 07:05:15PM 0 points [-]

Yeah, that closely matches it.

Comment author: turchin 15 July 2015 08:04:23PM 1 point [-]

When I was 6 years old I was surprised that I see the world from my eyes but not my grandmothers eyes. I asked her "Why me is me", but she didn't understood what I am speaking about. Still curious.

Comment author: polymathwannabe 15 July 2015 05:15:06PM 0 points [-]

What do you mean, we're attractors to other consciousnesses?

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 16 July 2015 04:58:43AM *  -1 points [-]

Oh god I still can't get this thought out of my head. Can someone please tell me what they think of my solution to the problem?

I just read 'The Finale of the Ultimate Meta Mega Crossover' again. Is there a motivation for entities with unlimited computing power to simulate all possible programs in order? Or to take an interest in beings like me? Would that be enough to remove most of my measure from 'real' universes? I think probably not, but I need to be sure. I'm not thinking too clearly now.

EDIT: Wait a minute, this becomes more plausible after realizing someone out there in some universe has unlimited computing power. If so, could it affect measure? Or does only the density of the 'unlimited' universe itself affect measure? Please answer.

EDIT2: Max Tegmark argues that actual infinite quantities are not possible, because otherwise this causes trouble in the 'mathematical universe' model (only Gödel-complete mathematical structures can exist). If true, does this solve the problem? There may be universes with arbitrary amounts of computing power, but they still need to be optimized. Would the occasional intelligences that want to simulate humanlike beings overcome the measure of actually-existing universes like this one? Most such intelligences would want to simulate only the last few instants of life, but some (however rare) are certain to simulate the whole. And if they created billions of identical copies of me, would that increase measure as well?

The question is basically now: does the measure of my actual existence overcome the measure of worlds where I am simulated, even taking into account potentially limitless resources available to simulate?

I'm less panicked by this thought now, since if they are after my measure they must, in effect, simulate me exactly as I would really exist (taking into account the vertiginous question). So that part of my measure does not matter and I can value the part that really does correspond to an external reality.

Either way, if any of this is true (even with those that just simulate the last few instants of life) than an afterlife really does exist for everyone, regardless of quantum immortality.

EDIT3: OK, I think I've hit on a solution, but it'll take a while to type up.

Comment author: polymathwannabe 16 July 2015 07:05:10PM 3 points [-]

By the gods, this is getting serious. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Eitan's Basilisk.

You need a reality check:

  • You're building a theory of reality from fictional evidence. Even if the underlying theory exists in real life, the author's narrative choices introduce a tremendous bias. Browsing through LW's earlier material will show you why that doesn't work.

  • Apparently, you believe your mind creates reality. That's simply not true, as I was very much alive before I knew you existed. Of course, I have no way of definitely proving my previous subjective experiences to you, but suffice it to point out that, if you give your mind a fundamental role in the history of the universe, you're failing at reductionism.

  • To manage your anxiety: Precommit to set a "save point" every evening, before you go to sleep. If every morning you remember having set the "save point" of the previous night, you're still you. (The trick behind this trick is that it will show you that the past that you remember was a real present when you experienced it.)

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 17 July 2015 12:49:16AM 0 points [-]

Er... what exactly are you arguing against? I do not believe that my "mind creates reality."

Comment author: polymathwannabe 17 July 2015 01:40:04PM *  1 point [-]
Comment author: Lumifer 16 July 2015 03:03:50PM 3 points [-]

Oh god I still can't get this thought out of my head.

Why don't you deal with THIS problem, directly?

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 16 July 2015 05:49:27PM 0 points [-]

I'd love to know how.

Comment author: Lumifer 16 July 2015 05:57:16PM 6 points [-]

Assume you have an anxiety problem. Start operating on the basis of this assumption -- that you mind needs to be adjusted. Either go to a professional or start experimenting with self-help techniques. One of recent Yvain's posts at SSC is precisely about what works for anxiety.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 16 July 2015 07:58:44AM 3 points [-]

I think you are making too many inferences without sufficiently accounting for possible errors in your assumptions and the inferences themselves.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 17 July 2015 06:11:01AM *  -1 points [-]

OK, I've rewritten the OP. Sorry about panicking at first.