Quantum Suicide

This stuff is excellent Frightday night material (a relatively old but appropriately sensationalist link). It’s the Outside in candidate for a conceivable postmodern religion, channeling video game ontology into an off-the-cliff practice of the numinous. It has to be a better place to look than Odinist revival (which it might ultimately eat). QS fanatics would merit an argument, and better still, they’d be immunized against it.

NRx would find a lot to talk about with these folks — until they pulled the trigger. For instance: Exit. Imagine a near-future world in which political disputes were dominated by QS cults. It would be remarkably tolerant of electoral processes, whose defects would have been made a matter of indifference. Divide the social body on the issue of greatest political rancor, and submit the contest to a ‘resolution’ procedure with significant probabilistic input. Whoever loses terminates themselves, in ‘this’ sector of the multiverse. The outcome, from the perspective of the QS religion, would be that branching universes acquired increasingly distinctive ideological flavors. Everyone ends up with the future they selected, in worlds pre-cleansed of dissent. Elections would be OK, but why not just roll the dice? The important thing would be the schism, and from the QS perspective, every true devotee ends up on the right side of it. This is the future you chose would actually always be true.

Replace elections with the flip of a coin, accompanied by mass suicidal auto-selection. On the day this becomes an articulate political program, the Quantum Suicide religion will have arrived.

February 20, 2015admin 12 Comments »


12 Responses to this entry

  • Quantum Suicide | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Quantum Suicide […]

    Posted on February 20th, 2015 at 5:10 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    So you’re endorsing Jeb Bush 2016?


    Posted on February 20th, 2015 at 6:43 pm Reply | Quote
  • Erebus Says:

    This is interesting.

    Quantum suicide implies quantum immortality… which, I think, generally implies that:

    (a) our personal, subjective consciousness is effectively immortal, inasfar as its immortality is compatible with the laws of physics,
    (b) radical life extension, “brain uploading”, or similar, are going to become available to our subjective consciousness,
    (c) our subjective consciousness was born in this era as it is the very first in which the application of these technologies will become viable — that, in other words, we are going to be among the first immortals. I don’t think that this is necessarily as stupid as it sounds. Having said that, if one is stuck with a truly terminal illness, I think that quantum immortality is already effectively disproven — for that person. (On the strict condition that one does not sign up for cryonics!)

    A QS religion would have an easier time branding itself a QI religion…

    …Not that it would be too difficult to get people to pull the trigger. If the Hale-Bopp people could do it….


    Posted on February 20th, 2015 at 7:12 pm Reply | Quote
  • Scott Alexander Says:

    I included a civilization that solved its political disputes through quantum suicide once in a role-playing game. We had some discussion about it and the consensus was that it would have to be very carefully regulated for two reasons. I dug up the thread and found the following:

    “I’m worried about the CONSTANT SUICIDES. Suppose that you and I both love the same girl, and she’s interested in both of us but only one of us can marry her. The easy answer is to use a splitter networked to a weapon. If the splitter comes out red, it kills me; if the splitter comes out blue, it kills you. Now there is one version of me married to my true love, and one version of you married to your true love, and we’re both quite happy. There’s an argument to be made that there’s also a version of me that’s dead, and that’s bad, but some people argue that since you can’t be a dead version of yourself, it’s meaningless to even talk about it and you should expect to see the splitter to come out blue, with certainty.

    Some people at Less Wrong have even suggested a quantum lottery. Suppose a million people pay $10 for a quantum lottery ticket. They’re connected to a million-way splitter, which on a result of “1”, kills everyone except person number one, on a result of “2” kills everyone except person number two, and so on up to a result of a million. The survivor gets the entire ten million dollar lottery jackpot. Under some versions of quantum theory, this results in a million people who now each have ten million dollars, and zero versions of people who don’t. It’s a quick and easy way to get $10 million.

    The problem is that from the point of view of any particular universe, 999,999 people have just committed suicide. And since if this works it would be a no-brainer, eventually everyone would start committing suicide in order to split off into better and better worlds, until anybody who didn’t use splitters would end up standing along atop a pile of corpses.”


    Posted on February 20th, 2015 at 7:14 pm Reply | Quote
  • Aeroguy Says:

    aeon. co/magazine/science/is-the-many-worlds-hypothesis-just-a-fantasy/

    Suppose my friend makes a secret dice roll with a pair of 6 sided dice. There exists a very accurate probability table for predicting what any given roll might be. From my perspective the number rolled exists as a wave function in superposition until my friend reveals the dice which collapses the wave function. Rather than viewing the probability table as a reflection of my own ignorance I could take up a non-falsifiable theory that would enable me to have my friend kill me if the outcome of the dice roll isn’t to my liking thus assuring that I only experience the after(collapse)life of my own choosing. This seems like a fine religious belief for the people who lay awake at night in fear of roko’s basilisk.

    We still have non-linear causality though.

    Did my earlier post get eaten? Admin please delete the earlier duplicate post if not. (broke the top link in case that was the problem)


    Alrenous Reply:

    Amazing, a piece of journalism titled with a question where the answer is ‘yes’ instead of ‘no.’


    Posted on February 20th, 2015 at 7:46 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brother Nihil Says:

    Hahaha funny stuff. Forget AI — the Quantum Suicide Singularity is near!


    Posted on February 20th, 2015 at 7:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • Quantum Suicide | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on February 20th, 2015 at 9:46 pm Reply | Quote
  • neovictorian23 Says:

    An amusing piece to think about; unfortunately, there are (at least) two utter howlers:

    Quantum mechanics says objective reality doesn’t exist, that instead all we see are probabilities collapsing into one particular configuration… Yeah, and that “one particular configuration” is what we call “objective reality.” Comments are not the place for extended philosophical treatises, but “reality” is a word, and there’s a thing that’s not a word, and it was here before humans could talk. and before our solar system formed, for that matter.

    1 in a quadrillion is essentially impossible is complete and utter cow dung. If the writer would’ve considered the rest of his own article, well how many quantum “events” are there in the universe per second? Hell, how many are there in your home town? Whatever the number is, “1 in a quadrillion” is happening every second somewhere on Earth. Some things we can imagine and make up words for are “impossible.” There is no thing that is “essentially” impossible.

    But Admin’s application of the idea to dispute resolution is genius.


    Posted on February 20th, 2015 at 10:08 pm Reply | Quote
  • Nyan Sandwich Says:

    QS is stupid, and QSers will wipe themselves out in the vast majority of worlds and get replaced by non-QSers. Gnon always wins.


    Posted on February 20th, 2015 at 10:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • Aeroguy Says:

    Good thing we don’t still think guillotines cause instant death. Assuming many worlds, would QS work if death came faster than perception could catch up or would it need to be truly instant? After all there is a branching when the random number machine undergoes wave collapse where the two future yous are equally you, regardless of perception.

    Suppose for example everyone’s got an explosive wired inside their head and there’s a 50% probability event, to make sure the loser’s all die at the same time the explosives are primed to go off at midnight after the probability event occurs to avoid issues with signal lag. From the perspective of a participant it should still work, since their consciousness could only perceive waking up the next morning and not perceive dying. However if you knew the result before midnight and told a losing participant their fate, would that be murder? From the perspective of the participant the wave function just collapsed forcing them to the losing side that they would not have otherwise experienced. While from your perspective they were already going to die since the wave function had already collapsed.

    Depends on if reality is subjective and perceived or objective and absolute. If subjective and perceived then QS works but not many worlds since other worlds are outside your perception, while if objective then many worlds is possible but QS becomes impractical since the probability event must be itself the direct instantaneous cause of death to avoid creating a loose end version of yourself that has a 0% survival chance.


    Posted on February 20th, 2015 at 10:46 pm Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    A cry for help.

    Help from Gnon.


    Posted on February 21st, 2015 at 1:53 am Reply | Quote

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