Fear of Paradise – Cryonics and Many-Worlds

Fear of Paradise – Cryonics and Many-Worlds

It is quite likely, as of today, that within some five months I might be signed up for cryonics. Great, that only means I am rational. Now I have for long been a defender of the Many-World interpretation of quantum mechanics. In the beggining, my reasons were due to the elegance and beauty of the theory, specially in terms of computation. Nowadays I got some stronger arguments, some from papers on the topic, some from Yudkowsky, a guy whose intelligence far surpasses my view of greatness.

Take these two together and what do you get?  It is unpredictable. We do not have sufficiently powerful machines to compute how do quantum electro-dynamics and quantum-cromodynamics operate in higher levels. That is, we cannot, currently calculate if what we know about how the mycrophysical world should really on average cause what we see here, in the macro-level. We think it does, but that could be caused by selection effects.

This leaves open the following possibilities:

1) Life is a process that has evolved in such a way as to counter most of quantum mechanical indeterminacies that could destroy it (say, if all your carbonic chains disengaged in two seconds) so that from every 10^10 worlds, there is only one in which your brain disintegrates.

2) Life in fact only counters life-destroying indeterminacies in very few cases, say, one in every two (for a given amount of elapsed time). In fact we only experience life as we do because there is nothing it is like to be dead!

So, what happens when one signs for cryonics? If (1) is true, most likely I’ll keep dividing my current self into kazillions of others, as I always have, a tiny part will indeed be cryogenated (while I’m 23 I expect that to be a tiny part, for Darwin’s sake!) but the biggest share will simply keep living my life normally.

If (2) is true, on the other hand, there will be many, many, many worlds in which I die for one or other quantum reason, and I will be quickly cryogenated, that is, frozen in something that doesn’t shatter my cells (as water does) in hope of a bright future ressurection, like the spirits of old. In many of those I will in fact be ressurected! These may be as many as the ones in which I will keep living my life normally. Suppose now that in the future, the indeterminacies that here used to kill me all the time that were not taken care of by evolution have been taken care of.

What should I expect? If (1) nothing exeptional, sign my contract, get back, move on.

If (2) then I should expect to quickly wake up in a post-human world, highly likely to be a world that would make paradise shiver and tremble in the sight of its greatness. A world in which happiness has become the very essence of matter, and intelligence is so widespread we can afford giving it to sponges. This would happen some time after I signed my contract, perhaps before I took the plane back to Brazil.

Of course, as any animal about to be taken away from its environment, I am afraid of change. Yeah, alright, it is change for a paradise beyond what the Flying Spaghetti Monster Himself could conceive of, in all his noodlety. So what, my fear is irrational.

One may stop here and say: Hey! That won’t cut! What if you wake up in a post-human doomed scenario with no conscious beings and an evil superintelligence, or singleton scraping your ass with cactus?

To what I say: My conditional probability, given ressurection from cryonics, that it is not the case that those who uncryogenated me are friendly (people or AI) is about 0,0005% percent.

I gather here I should say that I think it some 8% likely that (2) is true, and 92% likely that (1) is true. So the rest of this text is written by these 8% of me.

There may even be many more apocalyptic scenatios in which the world is dominated by evil stuff than ones in which either life goes on as usual or paradise takes hold. But if I consider observer selection effects, I should only account for worlds in which I live, therefore, if (2) is the case, I should assume that soon after signing that piece of paper, I will be in the best place ever, ever, ever.

In a way, this can be thought of as a goodbye letter. I know that there will still be one Diego made of bio-stuff and human (as opposed to post-human), and in fact, he is one of the people to whom I ought to say goodbye. Goodbye, thank you, current Diego, in the name of your paradise-sharing-future-slice, you have made yourself the biggest favor one could ever do, and I’m only causally connected to you now, to tell you that, I know I will be more thankfull later, but by then, I won’t be able to say so.

For all of those who stay including my own slices, henceforth friends, also it has been a great experience to have been here with you, and I wish we could somehow share paradise together (of course you may have your own future slice there, but I’m talking by definition to those who will stay here) but we can’t.

I do not know what is it like to live a life besides that of a human, but from what I managed to learn about the human life, I ought to be thankful for all that you have given me, all the Experiences, with the capital E, all the sharing, fun, love and joy.

It is a fearful path the one that takes to paradise, and my body chemestry is doing what she can to make me dubious, but this mind has been taken by reason long ago, and been too happy, well fed, intelligent and emotion-lover to be taken back right now, posthumanity, I launch myself to your care, into the unknown, and beyond the scope of any imagination. Let’s Go! Holy shit, I shit my pants!

7 opiniões sobre “Fear of Paradise – Cryonics and Many-Worlds”

  1. There is the possibility (> 25% Bostrom, >50% Me) you don’t get cryogenized because the world will end in a global catastrophic way. This will likely happen in this century, a century – as a person who takes 30-pills a day knows – in which you will most likely not die from biological causes. So probably you will witness the sun disappear – in a nuclear winter caused by supervulcanism, nuclear war or a big asteroid impact – as humanity die slowly one by one from starvation and you can’t do absolute nothing about it besides watch all your love ones being killed by a surge of madness that will contaminate a humanity that in a few months will be converted in to a sea of putrefied carcasses.

    Of course you have chosen to only focus on the scientific theories that favors paradise (many-worlds and monism), but there are a vast number of other which indicates otherwise (geology, celestial mechanics and so on), this is a clear example of a confirmation bias, in which you only turn for the facts that favor your desire hypotheses. Also one can say that there is a status quo bias – if we assume that your status quos is being a transhumanist who signed up for cryonics and sit back and does nothing – in which you try to maintain the actual course of things even when a change in beliefs is the rational choice. There is also a long list of other biases affecting your judgment of catastrophic risks, something that someone who is familiar with Yudkowsky knows for sure.

    This means that sign up for cryonics is a very nice thing to do, but you still have to do A LOT to make paradise a sure thing.

    Rationality is a hard mistress.

    Sorry for eventual grammar mistakes.

  2. “There is the possibility (> 25% Bostrom, >50% Me) you don’t get cryogenized because the world will end in a global catastrophic way.”

    This is a subset of (1) for in that case I’d be living my life normally and would not be dying every second in most worlds.

    “this is a clear example of a confirmation bias, in which you only turn for the facts that favor your desire hypotheses. ”

    Not so, for I am only considering the possibility in which I do die in most worlds due to Quantum reasons. In which case I should consider only those worlds in which I am revived, which are the ones with paradise.

    A better focused reading might have led you through this without my having to tell you. All those catastrophic risks you speak of take place either during my normal life, in which case (1) is true. Or after I’m cryogenated and before I am ressurected, in which case I won’t be there to witness.

    So I was right after all.

    But thanks for pointing out about biases, they are very important indeed.

  3. If you think of a multiverse, each time there is a collapse, you divide into two distinct parts, so which one are you? Are you both at the same time or just one of them?

    If it is another you (in the future, or in a multiverse), or if it is another person, what’s the difference? So I don’t see why to do cryonics, since people will always live in the future anyway (except for the case of a catastrophe).

  4. This is not a normal multiverse, a multiverse is any sort of many universes set that composes reality, this is the special case in which there is fission through quantum mechanics.

    The question of which one are you has no meaning. This is true both for the fission case and also for more normal, relativistically compatible cases.
    See “Is personal Identity What Matters” by Derek Parfit for details on that.

    There is no matter of fact as to which one you are, so you are both.

    It is the same person in the same sense as you are the same person you were one week ago.

  5. Global Catastrophic Risks cut through 1 and 2, in fact
    they do not have an direct relation to 1 or 2.

    “Not so, for I am only considering the possibility in
    which I do die in most worlds due to Quantum reasons.”
    This IS a manifestation of confirmation bias.

    There is a gradual probability distribution of you dieing, you starving for 10 years, you in transhuman paradise and so on. You have to consider all of then, not just the one you get in paradise and the one where you die for good.

    A better focused reading might have led you through this
    without my having to tell you.

    This is the last time I will try to correct you in this one.

  6. Personal identity can’t hold onto material identity (“numerical sense”), because it allows for such a big variance of it, nor can it hold onto memories and personality (“qualitative sense”), for the same reason. Another reason why personal identity can’t hold onto either is the case of an identical copy of you or in the many-worlds theory. Personal identity has nothing to hold onto, therefore it is meaningless.

    I know that the question has no meaning, that was my point, you seem to know already. So, assuming personal identity is meaningless, both in “numerical” and “qualitative” senses, I suppose you would not do cryonics to preserve your personal identity. Would you still do cryonics only to preserve your memories and your personality, even if future beings could have better memories and better personalities?

  7. The fact is we exist hear, and now, not then or there,
    possibilitys are endless but the truth of our existance is still based on the simple fact that you exist now,,and not then, there is a black hole in the center of our galaxy, we are on the event horrizon of it, this is why we exspireance time or Linnear, the fact is that time exist at the same moment in time.. and after all the centureys that have passed im glad to say that im alot happyer living (existing) in the year 2009 than any other.. why,,because of technology because of civilisation,, so if a person is thinking of cryogenics and being frozen,, its just because theve watched alot of Sci fi and startrek and just want to live in that fucher not realising the whole time that that imperticular futcher doesnt exist, so the absulute truth why people want to be reserected after death,, simple,, because there terrefied of death, wich means that they are terrified of there own existance and everything that makes us what we are, we pass on our knowlage, the old die and the old ideas with them and new ideas from new people born after those who were once befour them long gone to history and forgoten,,maybe thats how its supposed to be,, would you realy want to live foreva? or face your existance the very thing that makes you what and who you are behind your eyes. and die just to see what happens,, to face it, i would do cryonics in a breath, but even if i came back to life, my soul would be in the past, i would choose to die, but to have my memorys thoughts and feelings stored on a computer, and thats that

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