Re: Many-worlds (was Re: [sl4] Re: Uploads coming first would be good, right?)

From: Mike Dougherty (
Date: Sun Mar 08 2009 - 18:45:17 MDT

On Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 7:32 PM, Stathis Papaioannou <>wrote:

> 2009/3/9 Matt Mahoney <>:
> >
> > The human brain computes probability based on a model that assumes that
> memories accurately reflect the past and that the past predicts the future.
> Suppose you are given a choice of (A) being tortured, and then having the
> memory of the torture erased, or (B) not being tortured, but then having a
> false memory of torture programmed into your brain. Our model says that
> after many trials you will consistently choose (A) even if you prefer not to
> be tortured.
> If you knew what was going on you would choose (B). If you didn't you
> would have no reason to choose (B) over (A).

I understood Matt's original position that we would choose A (with the
caveat that there is no lasting inexplicable physical damage) because the
consciousness with no memory of the experience is indistinguishable from
having not had the experience at all. A memory of fading intensity is still
much more traumatic than no memory.

I think it is important to approach this scenario without emotional
investment in the actual torture experience. We should discuss only the
states Matt proposed: Tortured with no memory (and I added no evidence) vs.
No torture and vividly detailed memory of torture.

Along the same line of thought as the crush-your-clone teleporter: Having
been told that you are in the group that has received implanted memory of
torture, you may rid yourself of by actually experiencing the torture you
already remember (perhaps the memory erasure drugs require this) - Do you
willingly retain your false memory or voluntarily accept torture as the cost
of relief from those memories?

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