Re: Memory Merging Possible For Close Duplicates

From: Mike Dougherty (
Date: Sun Mar 16 2008 - 19:50:09 MDT

On Sun, Mar 16, 2008 at 3:55 PM, Lee Corbin <> wrote:
> What nuances? Do I have to go back and find whatever post it was and
> begin looking? Could you try harder to give context? Thanks.

You do not need to go back. The original context was a fictional
scenario where you listened to a 20 minute tale of your wife's day.
There is a level of detail that is "just the facts," detail that
includes humorous situations perhaps only your wife would find
relevant, details that includes particular facial expressions during
the retelling, details including respiration and heart rate of the
story-teller or listener, ad nauseam. I was using 'nuances' to
include those details which provide only subtle refinements on a
reasonably useful answer to the question, "How was your day?"
  In other words... you missed that point. It was perhaps of tertiary
importance to what I was saying. It has become a distraction. I
would have aggressively trimmed this from my reply, but I think it
served as a self-referential example.

> It is similarity of structure, ultimately. Of course, we have various
> Suppose that by some *obvious* [1] isomorphism, today Lee is one bit string
> where two 0's happen to be changed to 1's. By all measures
> of similarity, those two strings are still very similar. (It would be

Your definition of similar is not sufficient for me to make sense of
your bit string analogy. I "get" that there might be some reference
to TM or Life Board in there, but I'd have to guess too much. I'm
learning that when I assume too much agreement I will find later than
whatever building goes up will inevitably be torn down to its unstable

> If the teleporter or copying machinery is working well, there will be very few bit errors.

I'll grant that you have a perfect copy maker including the dimension
of time, such that all bits recording ones existence up to the point
of the copy are absolutely identical. Each instance has their new
experience encoded and appended to the identical stream of bits that
were absolutely perfectly copied. Using the Sa->Sb->etc notation from
another current thread, I would imagine normal/expected
causation-induced changes between states over a small interval of time
to be similar (though I am not 100% certain how to accurately measure
similar to five nines precision, right?)

> > [...]memories [..] are used to determine identity up to the point of copy [...]
> Yes. Or new experiences which create or destroy small parts
> of the structure.

You are allowing new experience to create or destroy parts of the
structure? That is inconsistent with your definition of preserving
information as the True history of an entity's existence. Once the
log is open for editing, there will be no integrity to any measure.
By this possibility I could simply edit-in or edit-out any memory
necessary to force the checksum in your similarity measure. This is
all made up TE anyway, so even if I can't hack your memory gracefully
I should be able to do so by brute force. Oops, didn't get it right
on the first try... maybe I'll get it on the second attempt, or
fifty-second attempt.

> Well, I don't quite agree with your "because both copies have a belief
> in their identity as Me". To me, it's a fact of the matter, not a conviction.

I have consistently used belief to indicate a subjective understanding
of the facts available to a clone. (eg: the clone believes itself to
be... or I believe X from a subjective measure.) I certainly
understand the confusion this may cause since the word belief is
overloaded with meaning such that it should perhaps not be used at

> Well, that's two of us. Actually, there may be three or four here who agree with us! :-)

That we agree on this point is probably the only reason you have had
any patience with this thread. I appreciate the dialog. It has
reiterated for me how difficult communication is when two people
agree, let alone when they may not.

> > close duplicates should merge at least as easily as they are created?
> I don't see how that last statement follows from anything above.

I do not know how to proceed. The statement does not follow from
anything above, it was the starting point for my participation in this
thread. It has taken this dialog to reach the point of agreement
above. I imagine this is where in an in-person conversation that one
of us would offer to refresh drinks, then start again on a different
topic upon returning. :)

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