physical law, and just a few chance events had to be a little bit different than they were.
So maybe you will escape that truck, in your personal world, where you continue to exist, and maybe that’s the easiest way for you to continue. Then the next time, maybe some cell that might have produced a cancer that killed you reverted back, because a cosmic ray hit it just the right way, or just some thermal event in the cell. So you escape that cancer. Then maybe some aging related effect miraculously reversed because of some nutrient interaction. Maybe this goes on and on and on, and after awhile, you find yourself the oldest living person (laughter) in the world, having miraculously escaped a number of close calls.
David: I’ve thought something very similar.
Hans: Almost all of these ideas can be found in fiction.
David: It came from the experience of having my car go over a cliff a couple of years ago.
Hans: Oh gosh.
David: I thought I should have definitely been killed in this experience. I thought that perhaps in one universe I was killed, but I escaped into another universe, where I now live–and everyone here in this world is someone who died in a previous world.
Hans: Right. You don’t even have to go through to this philosophical position where am I to have the idea of alternative universes, because the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is basically winning over the physics community. The many worlds interpretation is kind of a microcosm of this, because in all those slices of the wave function, we still have basically the laws of physics as we know them. Whereas, the worlds I’m talking about don’t necessarily have the laws of physics as we know them. So it’s a bigger set of possible worlds. But even in the many worlds interpretation, indeed, there should be some in which for almost any event you manage to survive. Maybe eventually it gets too far fetched for that to continue this way, although maybe not. All it really would take is for some aging processes to reverse themselves, which maybe isn’t that big of deal. So that’s one way.
Another way is, maybe you die. Suppose you were to explode in a hydrogen bomb, and you turned into high-speed plasma moving in all directions. Well, maybe it would be too far fetched to continue you that way, as the probabilities required would just be too large. It’d be sort of like the probabilities that all the particles would reverse and reassemble you, just by chance. So maybe another alternative is that you find yourself knowing that this existence that you’ve been having isn’t quite what you thought it was. What it really is is a simulation in somebody’s computer, and when you die, they sort of pull you out of the simulation, and reinstate you in slightly altered circumstances. Either they pull you out altogether into their world, or just into some other simulation. Something like that.
They continue you on. They have the power to do that if they’re running the simulator. Or maybe you just find the logic of your consciousness continuing simply without the need for a bunch of neurons to kind of ape the structure of your thinking. And when we write artificial intelligence programs that are just plain reasoning programs, we don’t simulate neurons or anything. We just simulate concepts, like beliefs and probabilities and so on. So there are just some numbers of strings. I would say that everything that I think could be encoded that way a lot more simply than it is using all those neurons. Now when we do it on the computer, of course, we have underneath those basic concepts.
We still have the computer, which is just as complicated as the neurons, but why can’t those concepts just stand on their own in the appropriate abstract context? We need the computer to simulate the AI