Here’s a quote:
“4.3 Long-term inescapable suffering is possible
If death is impossible, someone could be locked into a very bad situation where she can’t die, but also can’t become healthy again. It is unlikely that such an improbable state of mind will exist for too long a period, like millennia, as when the probability of survival becomes very small, strange survival scenarios will dominate (called “low measure marginalization” by (Almond 2010). One such scenario might be aliens arriving with a cure for the illness, but more likely, the suffering person will find herself in a simulation or resurrected by superintelligence in our world, perhaps following the use of cryonics.
Aranyosi summarized the problem: “David Lewis’s point that there is a terrifying corollary to the argument, namely, that we should expect to live forever in a crippled, more and more damaged state, that barely sustains life. This is the prospect of eternal quantum torment” (Aranyosi 2012; Lewis 2004). The idea of outcomes infinitely worse than death for the whole of humanity was explored by Daniel (2017), who called them “s-risks”. If MI is true and there is no high-tech escape on the horizon, everyone will experience his own personal hell.
Aranyosi suggested a comforting corollary (Aranyosi 2012), based on the idea that multiverse immortality requires not remaining in the “alive state”, but remaining in the conscious state, and thus damage to the brain should not be very high. It means, according to Aranyosi, that being in the nearest vicinity of death is less probable than being in just “the vicinity of the vicinity”: the difference is akin to the difference between constant agony and short-term health improvement. However, it is well known that very chronic states of health exist which don’t affect consciousness are possible, e.g. cancer, whole-body paralysis, depression, and lock-in syndrome. However, these bad outcomes become less probable for people living in the 21st century, as developments in medical technology increase the number of possible futures in which any disease can be cured, or where a person will be put in cryostasis, or wake up in the next level of a nested simulation. Aranyosi suggested several other reasons why eternal suffering is less probable:
1) Early escape from a bad situation: “According to my line of thought, you should rather expect to always luckily avoid life-threatening events in infinitely many such crossing attempts, by not being hit (too hard) by a car to begin with. That is so because according to my argument the branching of the world, relevant from the subjective perspective, takes place earlier than it does according to Lewis. According to him, it takes place just before the moment of death, according to my reasoning it takes place just before the moment of losing consciousness”
(Aranyosi 2012, p.255).
2) Limits of suffering. “The more damage your brain suffers, the less you are able to suffer”
(Aranyosi 2012, p.257).
3) Inability to remember suffering. “Emergence from coma or the vegetative state is followed by amnesia is not an eternal life of suffering, but rather one extremely brief moment of possibly painful self-awareness – call it the ‘Momentary Life’ scenario.” (Aranyosi 2012, p.257).
4.4 Bad infinities and bad circles
Multiverse immortality may cause one to be locked into a very stable but improbable world – much like the scenario in the episode “White Christmas” of the TV series “Black Mirror (Watkins 2014),” in which a character is locked into a simulation of a room for a subjective 30 million years. Another bad option is a circular chain of observer-moments. Multiverse immortality does not require that the “next” moment will be in the actual future, especially in the timeless universe, where all moments are equally actual. Thus a “Groundhog Day” scenario becomes possible. The circle could be very short, like several seconds, in which a dying consciousness repeatedly returns to the same state as several seconds ago, and as it doesn’t have any future moments it resets to the last similar moment. Surely, this could happen only in a very narrow state of consciousness, where the internal clock and memory are damaged.”
Look, I’m not at all knowledgeable in these matter (besides having read Permutation City and The Finale of the Ultimate Meta Mega Crossover). Based on what I’ve read online on the possibility of quantum immortality, I don’t think it is probable, and quantum torment less so. But there’s something about a published article giving serious consideration to us suffering eternally or going through ‘The Jaunt’ from that Stephen King story which is creating a nice little panic attack (in addition to the already scary David Lewis article).
I plan to die and have no intention of signing up for cryonics. (EDIT: This meant die naturally. I have no desire to expedite the process, it’s just that I’m not on board with the techno-immortalism popular around here.) All I want to know is, is this stuff just being pulled out of his butt? Like, an extremely unlikely hypothetical that nonetheless carries huge negative utility? I’d be okay with that, as I’m not a utilitarian. Or have these scenarios actually been considered plausible by AI theorists?
I’m also desperate to get in contact with someone who’s studied quantum mechanics and can answer questions of this nature. An actual physicist (especially a believer in MWI) would be great. I’d think an understanding of neuroscience would also be very important for analyzing the risks, but how many people have studied both fields? With some exceptions, the only ones I do see discussing it are philosophers.
I’m in a bad place right now; any help would go a long way.