Quantum suicide and immortality

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In quantum mechanics, quantum suicide is a thought experiment. It was originally published independently by Hans Moravec in 1987[1][2] and Bruno Marchal in 1988[3][4] and was independently developed further by Max Tegmark in 1998.[5] It attempts to distinguish between the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics and the Everett many-worlds interpretation by means of a variation of the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment, from the cat's point of view.

Quantum immortality refers to the subjective experience of surviving quantum suicide regardless of the odds.[6] In their speculative work on the topic of future science and artificial intelligence, authors Goertzel and Bugaj,[7] describe a very different metaphysical notion as "quantum immortality", one they claim is applicable in all circumstances, for every "intelligent entity", and that serves as a means of "transfer" to other universes. The authors mistakenly portray Frank Tipler's Final anthropic principle and this "quantum immortality" as significant aspects of controversy surrounding Hugh Everett's work.

Keith Lynch recalls that Everett took great delight in paradoxes such as the unexpected hanging. Everett didn't mention quantum suicide or quantum immortality in writing, but his work was intended as a solution to the paradoxes of quantum mechanics. Lynch said "Everett firmly believed that his many-worlds theory guaranteed him immortality: His consciousness, he argued, is bound at each branching to follow whatever path does not lead to death",[8] Tegmark explains, however, that life and death situations don't normally hinge upon a sequence of binary quantum events like those in the thought experiment.[6]

Contents

The quantum suicide thought experiment

Unlike the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment which used poison gas and a radioactive decay trigger, this version involves a lethal weapon and a device that measures the spin value of photons. Every 10 seconds, the spin value of a fresh photon is measured. Conditioned upon that quantum bit, the weapon is either deployed, killing the experimenter, or it makes an audible "click" and the experimenter survives.

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