Ah. I guess I'm not sure where to go from here, in that case.
Every level but the last one is supposed to be wrong.
The point is they're supposed to be wrong in a specifically crafted way.
Most of them I start to agree with and then you add a conclusion that I don't think follows from the lead-in.
This is by design. I tried to make the levels mutually exclusive. The way I did this was by having each level add a significant insight to the truth (as I see it) and then say something wrong (as I see it) to constrain any further insight.
I think you've got an unstated and likely incorrect assumption
that "me" in the past, "me" as experiencing something in the moment and "me" in the future are all singular and
necessarily linked. I think they've been singular in my experience, but that's not the only way it could be.
If you insist on mapping to QM, my answers match MWI somewhat. Each branch's past has an amplitude of 1, the future
diverges into all possible states which sum to 1. I'm not actually uncertain that "possible" is sensible concept, though, so
I'll answer these as if we were talking about copies in a classical universe, so they can sum to more than 1 of "me".
My intention is not to ignore QM/MWI or anything, but I did intend to provide levels where someone who doesn't understand (or even know about) QM would find themselves. The language I used was (hopefully) the language someone at that level would use to describe what they think, so all levels that can't be true under QM should sound ignorant of any QM insights. That was my intention. Intuition about QM should automatically push you at least to the first level where it sounds like I stopped describing a classical universe.
Further, this is mostly about our anticipation of subjective experiences. I didn't really mention amplitude, I just alluded to it by mentioning the squares of them we'd use to calculate our anticipation. When I say "me," I mean "some unmangled amplitude of me".
Unfortunately, even if I tried to use precise language, I'd have had trouble, and I wasn't even trying to do that, as this is supposed to be a resource anyone could use to place themselves.
I would address each of your entries, but most of them would probably be rephrasings of what I said above. Each level is supposed to contain something objectionable that pushes you to the next level.
6: Incoherent. Likelihood is about exclusive options, and this framing is not exclusive: both happen in the same universe. I predict that branches of me will experience both.
As far as this goes, I was trying to use the intuitive but inaccurate language from here. If you prefer, pretend I said "squared amplitude". Alternatively, if you have suggestions for better language someone at this level would still intuitively use, I'd be happy to hear it.
7: Good, then a weird "transfer" concept. A perfect duplicate at any point has the same conscous experience, and
diverges when the inputs diverge. It's not transfered, it's just in both places/times.
It's really hard to describe anticipation of subjective experience in these scenarios. If you have a suggestion of language I can use that is still wrong in a way that precludes the insights from successive levels, and also speaks as someone who is wrong in that way would speak about their expectation, I am very open to suggestions.
8: I'm uncertain what level of fidelity is required to be "me". My intuition is that a sufficiently-true simulation is
effectively me, just like a sufficiently-exact copy.
That is the intentional problem with 8, yes.
9: Sure. I don't think it necessarily follows that the ONLY way the superintelligence can "think about what I would do"
is to execute a full-fidelity model, it could very easily use much simpler models (like humans do for each other) for
I agree that the only model isn't a perfect model, but I have a strong hypothesis that "perfect model" and "implementation" are synonymous.
Edit: I see your objection with 9 and I (hopefully) fixed it.
I hope, at least, that this back-and-forth has been useful?
Absolutely. Talking to you was refreshing, and it helped me not only flesh out my ladder but also pin down my beliefs. Thank you for taking time to talk about this stuff.
so I don’t think I have much to add past what we’ve already gone over.
I did make an attempt to address your last reply. If you still feel that way after, let me know.
I don’t see that understanding QM would suffice to grant #3 and #4 without having solved the Hard Problem. Without actually having a full reduction of consciousness, there’s just no way to be certain that the reasoning you provide makes sense
This should change when you understand QM. I was trying to black box it.
And how do we do this? What makes a person “feel like the same person”, “from the inside”, through the passage of time? Do those quoted phrases even make sense? What do they mean, exactly? We really don’t know.
Can we? It seems like we can, but… is that just an illusion? Somehow? Why does it seemlike consciousness is continuous? Or is that a confused question (as some people indeed seem to claim)?
It doesn't matter, because we can prove they are the same black box, and thus their behavior is the same, even if we don't know how it works (or fully what that behavior even is). As long as we have A === B (which QM says we must), we can say (A->C) -> (B->C) even if we don't know whether A->C or how. To the extent that it A gives off some evidence that convinces us of C, B does exactly the same thing.
Well, and what if it does? We’re back to the “conditioning on reductionism” thing; until we actually have a full reduction, we just can’t blithely toss about assumptions like this!
… actually, we needn’t even go that far. It’s not even certainty of reductionism that you’re suggesting we condition on—it’s certainty of… what? Quantum mechanics applying to everything? But that’s a great deal weaker! I am not nearly as certain of that (in fact, I have no real solid belief about it), so by no means will I condition on a certainty of this claim!
1 and 2 imply this, and you were willing to give me those. QM supports reductionism independent of all the classical and empirical reasons we believe in reductionism. Like I said above, you asked me to black box it, and I'm claiming these are things that are clear when you understand QM. QM is brazen about being the exclusive language our universe uses to describe everything. It's physical nonsense to talk about something that exists and isn't described by QM. That's what existence means.
This part I actually just don’t get the point of. I mean, you’re not wrong, but so what?
It's preparation for the point "we do it all the time and maintain our sense of continuity in every branch" in 5 and 6.
As for #5 and #6, well, there I just don’t understand what you’re saying, so I can’t judge whether it’s relevant.
5 is basically:
When Schrödinger's cat enters a superposition of alive|dead, so does the entire universe, including us. Like the cat, we split into a!us and d!us (us in the world where the cat is alive and us in the world where it is dead). When we observe the cat, and find it out is alive|dead, we are finding out which world we are in, and correlating our brain state with the state of the cat. This is decoherence, and it pushes a!universe and d!universe apart in the mathematical substrate that defines them (so they can't interact anymore).
If we observe the cat is alive, we realize we are a!us. But there is still a d!us. We split, and they are observing a dead cat. a!us and d!us both can think back to the time before the split and say "that's me and I had an unbroken chain of time slices that lead me here - my consciousness was continuous". Both maintain continuity throughout the process.
6 is basically:
The above experience for a person cannot be described differently in QM (which is the language of existence) from the kind of copying that occurs in one branch!universe, except by differences that can't in principle have an effect as per point 2, so they black box as the same thing, and implications about one are implications about the other.
Fair enough. I don't see them as gibberish, so treating them that way is hard. I admit I didn't actually see what you meant.
I made an attempt to treat it as a black box in a different thread reply, but I still had to use the language of QM. I might be able to sum it up into short sentences as well, but I wanted to start with some amount of formality and explanation.
We gain these:
1. Everything obeys QM. To wit, nothing can exist anywhere/when that is not describable in the math of QM in principle.
2. If everything obeys QM, consciousness obeys QM.
3. As long as consciousness is not or does not consist of some fundamental element that does not obey QM, there is nothing anywhere that can differentiate between copies in principle in any way besides how we can differentiate between a person in the past and the same person in the future, having taken a mundane trajectory through spacetime. This includes how it "feels from the inside." If we can claim consciousness is continuous at all, we can claim it is continuous regardless of proximity in spacetime or any other consideration except for a particular change in physical structure across some change in spacetime. There is provably no computable difference, in the structure of our universe, between existing from one second to the next, and blinking out of existence somewhere/when and then into existence somewhere/when else.
4. As long as consciousness is not or does not consist of some fundamental element that does not obey QM, our subjective experience of being in one place at one time is a limitation of our own perceptions. When we exist in multiple places at the same time, each placetime!us perceives a single, unbroken continuity of consciousness in hindsight, but this is an artifact of a failure to perceive or communicate with other placetime!us branches.
5. We constantly exist in multiple places, as decoherence is the rule, and factorable subspaces where a particular placetime!us can exist and identify as a "world" are a significant exception. It just so happens that decoherence of a certain kind tends to create locally factorable subspaces that move away from each other in configuration space, so they can't meaningfully interact. For any reasonable definition of "we", "we" are constantly being copied every time there is any detectable (in principle) decoherence anywhere in our "world" (a "universe" that a single placetime!us has access to in principle). By observation, we know that at least every time the "we" we identify as has split, it hasn't interrupted our continuity of consciousness. As there are decoherence events constantly on scales we have trouble imagining in numbers of places we have trouble imagining at once, we can reason that we didn't just get absurdly lucky, and every copy of us looks back on these splits with the same feeling of continuity.
6. The splits we've observed and cannot interact with are in principle no different from a split in a single "world" where we can interact with our copy.
And possibly more. It's a lot and I'm doing the best I can from memory.
My response here would be the same as my responses to the other outstanding threads.
The limit of [the effect your original prior has on your ultimate posterior] as [the number of updates you've done] approaches infinity is zero. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter what prior your start with. As a convenience, if we have literally no information or evidence, we usually use the uniform prior (equally likely as not, in this case), and then our first update is probably to run it through occam's razor.
The rest of your objections, if I understand QM and its implications right, fall upon the previously unintuitive and possibly incoherent things that become intuitively true as you understand QM. As I said elsewhere:
I truly do think we can't move further from this point, in this thread of this argument, without you reading and understanding the sequence :(
I could be mistaken, but it seems to me that the distinction you're trying to make between what I'm saying and what I'd have to say for my answer to be [coherent] dissolves as you understand QM.
I could, of course, be misunderstanding you completely. But there also isn't anything you're linking that I'm unwilling to read :P
The big disconnect here is you are willing to say you'll take my word for it about QM, but then I say "QM allows us to 'reason about the things on the higher parts of the ladder' without 'knowing how consciousness emerges from the physical.'"
I could be wrong, but if I'm wrong, you'd have to dive into QM to show me how. QM provides us a conceptual black swan, I claim, and reasoning about this without it is orders of magnitude less powerful than reasoning with it, in a way that is impossible to conceive of except in hindsight.