X-Message-Number: 14160
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 12:49:15 EDT
Subject: quantum states, archives

Yvan Bozzonetti says that a "quantum state" (set of quantized phase space 
coordinates) includes the spatial coordinates of the system, and that, in 
general, systems at different locations are distinguishable. Good.

However, most writers do NOT usually use the term "quantum state" in this 
way. For example, every introductory text on quantum mechanics uses examples 
such as the one-dimensional harmonic oscillator, the hydrogen atom energy 
levels, etc., which do not take account of the spatiotemporal location of the 
system--for the simple reason that the experiments involved do not need or 
use this information.

Writers like Tipler, talking about possible future reconstruction of past 
people, explicitly deny that spatiotemporal location changes the "identity" 
of the system. The validity of this view is unsettled, at best.

To repeat myself yet again, many thought experiments cast doubt on such 
ideas. For example, suppose that, far away and far in the future, somehow 
there is created a near-duplicate of you--not as you are now, but as you were 
as a child. Have "you" "survived"? Has that child survived? Everything 
depends on postulates of doubtful validity, and it is simply premature to 
take a firm position.
Thomas Donaldson appears to intimate that archival material will not help us 
restore the memories of revived patients, because (for example) merely 
reading your diaries will not restore your actual missing memories. However, 
everyone suggesting archives assumes that eventually we will know how to 
translate written and other material into biological form, "reading in" not 
as English words or photo pixels but as the appropriate 
anatomical/physiological counterpart, integrated into the memory system.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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