Re: [sl4] thought experiment : who's where

From: Stathis Papaioannou (
Date: Sat Dec 05 2009 - 05:49:33 MST

2009/12/5 John McNamara <>:

> A billion years ago in the galaxy 'AG1026' that is just outside the
> observable universe (from Earth) and causally disconnected from us,
> lived a vast Jupiter brain named 'bob', whose hobby was to
> pseudo-randomly design minds. It creates them based on rational base
> designs and randomises the details. They are all stored as binary data
> and are never 'run'.
> One day it happens to create data perfectly identical to mind '2'. (see below)
> The odds are of course laughable, but non-zero. It is a thought experiment.
> in the year 2099 here on Earth...
> [mind '1' housed in body 'A'] voluntarily enters an "instant copy and
> destroy" style upload clinic.
> The copy is not intended to be perfect, instead all organs but the CNS
> will be upgraded.(hence the motivation to do this at all)
> The CNS is always copied 100 %perfectly.
> [mind '2' housed in body 'A'] is scanned and the observation signals
> travel through the sensor wires into the device's memory cells where
> they rest and can be non-destructively read and manipulated.
> the mind changed from '1' to '2' because several minutes passed
> between entering the clinic and the scanner activating.
> exactly one Planck time later ..
> [mind '2' housed in body 'B'] is created
> exactly one Planck time later ..
> the machine fails (1 in a 10billion chance) and completely destroys
> [mind '2' housed in body 'A'] and [mind '2' housed in body 'B'] and
> itself.
> A billion years later in the galaxy 'AG1026' that is still outside the
> observable universe (from Earth) and causally disconnected from us,
> 'bob' starts running the mind '2' dataset, it previously created
> pseudo-randomly, in a nice VR that seems normal to it where it
> marries, has kids, grows old and dies. At the point of death bob
> simply stops the simulation but keeps the data and all past changes to
> that data.
> no other significant events occur and no information is hidden from
> you as (god-like) observers of these events
> - - - - -
> so
> what happened ?
> Is there 1,2,3 or more 'self's in existence here ?
> if 1 when did it die ?
> did it die more than once ?

There is only one person (one stream of consciousness) who lives on in
the distant galaxy. Other than its role in destroying mind 2 in A and
B, the duplication is of no consequence, since a Planck interval is
not long enough to have any experiences. There is no death because the
subject continues to live after a billion year gap, equivalent to a
billion years of unconsciousness before waking up.

Stathis Papaioannou

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