Sep 03, 2018
TL;DR: Measure decline in random mind creation may be prevented if we take into account very large number of random mids created in other universes.
Summary: P.Almond suggested the idea of the resurrection of the dead via a quantum random generator which creates a random mind, but such an approach has several problems: non-human beings in our world, non-necessary suffering of non-perfect copies, and measure decline.
Here I suggest three patches, which prevent most of the undesired effects:
1. Human mind matrix to prevent pure random minds appearing.
2. Digital immortality data to create a person which satisfies all known external expectations, and the use of randomness only to fill unknown information.
3. Multiverse-wide cooperation for the “cross-resurrection” of the dead between multiple worlds via quantum random minds, so the total measure of all resurrected people will not decline.
Almond in “Many-Worlds Assisted Mind Uploading: A Thought Experiment” suggested the following idea about the resurrection of the dead by the use of a quantum random generator, which would create a random mind within a computer (Almond, 2006):
[A technician who lost someone’s brain scan file] writes a computer program which takes input from a physical system. The physical system, known as a quantum event generator, generates "1"s and "0"s randomly as a result of quantum events. The program will use the physical system to tell it what sequence of "1"s and "0"s will be used to try to recreate the lost scan file. The program starts with an empty scan file which will be filled with "1"s and "0"s.
If the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is correct, all possible minds will appear in separate timelines starting from the moment of random mind creation, which would mean the resurrection of everyone from his own point of view. However, this approach will a) not help an outside observer, who wants to resurrect a relative, for instance, as the observer would see only a random mind, and b) the quantum "measure" of existence of each mind will be infinitely small.
2. Problems of Almond’s approach
To illustrate the problems with quantum mind uploading, I will explore a simplified thought experiment where only names will be restored using quantum mind uploading. First, here is what Almond suggested:
Thought experiment “Not-patched quantum mind uploading”:
Bob had a friend John Smith. John has died and Bob wants to resurrect him. Bob remembers only first letter of John’s name: S.
Bob and John are interested only in the uniqueness of name preservation, and no other identity considerations are important. Bob wants to observe his friend to be alive, and for his friend to be named “John S….” (I would call it immortality from the point of view of the external observer). John wants his own immortality, and will be satisfied only if “John Smith” is created.
Bob creates random quantum mind A using a quantum generator to choose each new letter in the names.
It turns out that A is “jYY2№@11”. Only less than 10-30 share of all such copies in the multiverse are named John Smith. Both Bob and John are unhappy.
This thought experiment leaves both John and Bob unsatisfied, and we see three reasons for that below:
2.1. Problem 1: Measure decline
Problem 1 is a problem for John.
Measure could be defined as a share of an observer of a given type between all possible observers. If the typical size of the simulated mind is, say, 10^15 bites, the chances that a randomly generated mind will be exactly the needed person is 2^(10^15). In other words, a quantum mind generator results in a measure decline of 2^-(10^15) which is an extremely large number. Even in our thought experiment 1 measure decline is 1030 times.
Many authors claim that large measure decline should be treated as death or as an infinitely small chance of survival. Such discussions appeared in the context of so-called quantum immortality, that is, the counterfactual possibility to survive death via existing in quantum multiverse timelines where a person will not die.
Even if the measure decline is not bad per se, it leads to a world where very small probability outcomes will dominate possible futures of an observer, and such parasitic outcomes may be full of suffering. For example, the quantum immortality improbable survival landscape may be dominated by people who are very old and dying but can’t die (it could be patched by signing up for cryonics).
If we use some expected utility calculations, and measure decline results in declining utility of any useful outcome associated with it, we could just ignore my copies with infinitely small measures.
2.2. Problem 2: Non-human and not welcomed minds
Problem 2 is mostly for Bob.
Another problem is that most random minds will be non-human, and will not be adapted to our world, so they will suffer or cause suffering to people living here. In our thought experiment “jYY2№@11” is an example of a non-human random mind.
Such random minds are also extremely bad for any outside observer, like Bob, as he will be very unlikely to meet anyone resembling his friend John Smith.
2.3. Problem 3: Damaged minds
Problem 3 is a problem for both Bob and for John.
Most randomly-created minds will be not minds at all, but some garbage code, or at “best case,” damaged minds. For example, if Bob wants to resurrect John Smith, there will be much more copies where his name (as well as his other properties) is a parody of the name Smith, for example Smthi, Smiht, Misth, Smitt, etc. For n bits long name, there are n individual names which have 1 bit difference.
Thus, for any real person, there will be much larger set of his-her damaged copies, which implies suffering for such a person as the most probable outcome of the quantum random resurrection and s-risks for all people.
Fortunately, quantum random mind uploading could be patched, so it will provide much more satisfaction for John and Bob.
Patch 1. The use of the human mind’s universal model as a starting point
The goal of this patch is to escape minds of “aliens” or of non-workable gibberish code, and thus prevent suffering of most created minds. For example, for a human mind model, his-her possible name will be generated not as random symbols but from the preset of typical human names.
Such a human mind model may look like an untrained neural network which has the general architecture of a human mind, with some other constraints, so any random set of parameters will create a more-or-less normal human mind. We assume that some future assistant AI will be able to find an appropriate model.
In that case, Bob uses a random mind generator for parameters of the universal human mind model. He gets “Maria Stuart”. This will increase the share of the worlds where real John Smith is resurrected to 10-10. Both John and Bob are a little bit more satisfied, as Bob gets a human friend, and John increases his measure.
Obviously, some minds may not want to be resurrected, but this could an important parameter in the model, and models, where “resurrection preference = false” will be ignored.
Patch 2. The use of the digital immortality data to create only minds which comply with our expectations
The problem of Bob’s satisfaction could be overcome by the use of Bob’s expectations as priors, if there are no other current of future sources of data about John.
In that case, Bob could use his memories about John S. to create a model of John S. He remembers that John was either John Smith or John Simpson. He uses a random quantum coin to choose between Smith or Simpson, and gets “John Simpson”.
In another branch of the quantum multiverse, where the coin fails tails, John Smith appears, but his measure declines to 0.5. Both John and Bob are partly satisfied. Bob got someone who looks like his friend, but Bob knows that it is not exactly his friend, and that his friend has now smaller measure of existence.
Digital immortality, or indirect mind uploading, is the collecting information about a person while he is alive with hope that future advanced AI may be able to resurrect the person, by creating an advanced model of the personality based on all available information. Such a model will, by definition, satisfy Bob and all other relatives, as all available information has already been taken into account, including all relatives’ expectations. However, large chunks of information will never be known, and thus have to be replaced with some random data. Even if quantum randomness is used to fill the gaps, John will have an infinitely small share of all possible worlds, and in most other worlds he will be replaced by someone else.
Patch 3. The use of multiverse-wide cooperation for the cross-resurrection
The next step is that Bob considers that not only his universe exists, but all possible other universes exist in the Multiverse.
Bob concludes that because all possible observers exist in the Multiverse, his John Simpson created via a quantum random generator is a resurrection of some John Simpson from another universe, while John Smith who lived in our universe, will be resurrected in some other universe where another copy of Bob will do the same experiment.
In other words, Bob and Bob’s copies in other universes cooperate to resurrect the exact John Smith.
As the second universe is exactly the same as ours except for John’s name, there is another exact copy of Bob in it, and this Воb’s copy is also wanting to resurrect his friend John S., so he uses another quantum random mind generator. Now the following happens:
So, the total measure of John Smith has not declined, if Bob takes into account that other copies of Bob in other universes will run the same experiment. By deciding to start the random mind generator (and to not turn off the resulting mind), Bob joins a large group of other minds, who think similarly, but who are located in causally disconnected parts of the Multiverse. Everyone expects that some other random generator recreates an exact copy of their loved one.
In a real case of large missing data, like gigabytes, this requires a simultaneous run of an extremely large number of quantum random mind generators, like 10^(10^9), which is only possible via multiverse-wide cooperation. The measure will not decline in such a case too, as for every dead person there will be one random person, and given the large numbers, any person will be randomly recreated, at least in approximately one world. (Some may go deeper and take into account standard deviation, but because we use quantum generators in the many worlds interpretation, each universe creates exactly its share of John, and there will be no fluctuations, which would result in non-existence of some Johns and two copies of another.)
Any of Воb’s copies can join such a multiverse-wide cooperation by creating just one quantum random mind (and treating the resulting mind well).
4. Remaining problems
Multiverse. What if the multiverse doesn’t actually exist? In that case, Bob and John get partly satisfying results, as Bob gets John’s copy, but John’s copy is not perfect from John’s point of view. If the quantum multiverse is not real, but some other form of the multiverse exists, like the one based on inflational cosmology, the resurrection method will still work.
Defection. Bob may not create any random mind generators at all but still expect that someone else will recreate his friend. In general, the rate of defections may be known and compensated by increasing the number of random minds by those who have more resources.
There are several other possible generic problems of multiverse-wide cooperation, including infinite ethics, the possibility of acausal blackmail, a method to measure similarity between agents, and problems with agents that have other values as described in EA post's comment.
I hope that this post may increase one's hope in the future personal resurrection by superintelligent AI.