Re: Infinite universe

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sun Apr 27 2003 - 17:30:13 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> Eliezer wrote:
>> Any Process which contains you up until this point, or Bayesia up
>> until this point, *not* with a hands-off condition, affects your
>> future subjective probabilities because you might turn out to be
>> living there - you cannot distinguish Bens in "interventionist
>> simulations" from Bens in "top-level Bayesia" or "hands-off simulated
>> Bayesia". "You" are a pointer state that refers to all the hubble
>> volumes, universes, quantum branches, simulations, and Processes that
>> have faithfully computed Ben Goertzel up to this point.
> OK, but any two processes that contain me up to this point, and that
> are indistinguishable by any experiment I could do in the future, are
> effectively equivalent from my point of view. They don't have
> separate, independent existence.

No, my point was that many different processes which contain you *up until
this point* may diverge *in the future*.

> So, considering the hypothetical aliens outside my light cone -- if
> universes with & without them are not distinguishable by any future
> experiments I could do, then the universes with & without them are
> equivalent to me.
> Now, we may invoke Occam's Razor ;) If I'm given an equivalence class
> C of universes, all of which are pragmatically indistinguishable to me,
> I'm going to assess the plausibility of a universe in C in terms of its
> simplicity. Simpler universes in C are more plausible. The universes
> with the hypothetical aliens in it are going to be rated relatively
> implausible, because the aliens fail the Occam's razor test -- they are
> extra elements, which make the hypothetical universe more complex
> without adding any new testable properties.

On the contrary, as Tegmark points out, they make the universe more
simple. The integer 398,745,842,209,487,873,767 contains more information
than the set of all integers. The many-worlds interpretation of the
Schrodinger equation is the simplest because it contains no collapse
postulate. It would take a much more complex relativity theory to give an
accounting of a universe that stopped just beyond the borders of our
observable bubble.

"(As an historical aside it is worth noting that Ockham's razor was also
falsely used to argue in favour of the older heliocentric theories
*against* Galileo's notion of the vastness of the cosmos. The notion
of vast empty interstellar spaces was too uneconomical to be believable
to the Medieval mind. Again they were confusing the notion of vastness
with complexity.)"

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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