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MWI, weird quantum experiments and future-directed continuity of conscious experience

4 SforSingularity 18 September 2009 04:45PM

Response to: Quantum Russian Roulette

Related: Decision theory: Why we need to reduce “could”, “would”, “should”

In Quantum Russian Roulette, Christian_Szegedy tells of a game which uses a "quantum source of randomness" to somehow make a game which consists in terminating the lives of 15 rich people to create one very rich person sound like an attractive proposition. To quote the key deduction:

Then the only result of the game is that the guy who wins will enjoy a much better quality of life. The others die in his Everett branch, but they live on in others. So everybody's only subjective experience will be that he went into a room and woke up $750000 richer.

I think that Christian_Szegedy is mistaken, but in an interesting way. I think that the intuition at steak here is something about continuity of conscious experience. The intuition that Christian might have, if I may anticipate him, is that everyone in the experiment will actually experience getting $750,000, because somehow the word-line of their conscious experience will continue only in the worlds where they do not die. To formalize this, we imagine an arbitrary decision problem as a tree with nodes corresponding to decision points that create duplicate persons, and time increasing from left to right:

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Minds that make optimal use of small amounts of sensory data

10 SforSingularity 15 August 2009 02:11PM

In That alien message, Eliezer made some pretty wild claims:

My moral - that even Einstein did not come within a million light-years of making efficient use of sensory data.

Riemann invented his geometries before Einstein had a use for them; the physics of our universe is not that complicated in an absolute sense.  A Bayesian superintelligence, hooked up to a webcam, would invent General Relativity as a hypothesis - perhaps not the dominant hypothesis, compared to Newtonian mechanics, but still a hypothesis under direct consideration - by the time it had seen the third frame of a falling apple.  It might guess it from the first frame, if it saw the statics of a bent blade of grass.

They never suspected a thing.  They weren't very smart, you see, even before taking into account their slower rate of time.  Their primitive equivalents of rationalists went around saying things like, "There's a bound to how much information you can extract from sensory data."  And they never quite realized what it meant, that we were smarter than them, and thought faster.

In the comments, Will Pearson asked for "some form of proof of concept". It seems that researchers at Cornell - Schmidt and Lipson - have done exactly that. See their video on Guardian Science:

'Eureka machine' can discover laws of nature - The machine formulates laws by observing the world and detecting patterns in the vast quantities of data it has collected

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