The Quantum Immortality section of my book How To Live Forever takes up a lot of space, partly because of the work involved in describing the many different ways that the universe can be infinite in size and shape.
I’m considering cutting it right down to just one or two pages, because I don’t want an unproven (but compelling) idea taking up a lot of space in an otherwise proof-based book.
But, I also don’t want to just throw the work away. So, I’m thinking of expanding it into a book of its own.
There’s certainly a lot of topics around quantum immortality that could do with investigation.
- What is quantum immortality?
- How do we know it is real?
- How can you make money through quantum immortality?
- What about old age?
- If you are immortal, how should you behave?
- Is there any evidence that Quantum Immortality is true?
I’ll explore a few of these here very briefly.
What is quantum immortality?
Quantum physics suggests that there may be infinite worlds, one for every possible solution in a quantum equation. This means that for every chance that you might have died, there is also a chance that you didn’t. You can only be aware of universes where you survived, therefore your awareness is (and therefore, you are) immortal.
How do we know quantum immortality is real?
We don’t. The many worlds interpretation (MWI) of quantum physics is just one of a few plausible interpretations. The one most commonly known is the Copenhagen interpretation (CI) which suggests that when a quantum event happens, the event magically “collapses” to choose one possible result as reality. Occam’s Razor suggests that the simplest answer is usually the most correct. CI requires the universe to somehow choose a reality. MWI does not. MWI is simpler and therefore probably correct.
How can you make money through quantum immortality?
One possibility comes to mind: create a suicide device (do not do this: this is a thought experiment) which will release an overdose of a poisonous gas during your sleep if certain numbers don’t come up in the lottery on a specific night. Buy those exact numbers on a lottery ticket for that night. Go to sleep. If you wake up the next morning, then you are now rich. Quantum Immortality suggests that there are billions of worlds where you will not wake up, but you won’t experience those.
What about old age?
The traditional thought experiment for Quantim Immortality is drastic – you are shot with a gun that is triggered based on essentially the flip of a quantum coin. When you get to an extreme age, every breath could be your last. This is random, which is exactly what Quantum Immortality takes advantage of. So in some universes, your current breath may be your last. In others, you will go on to breath at least one more time. And repeat, forever.
If you are immortal, how should you behave?
Don’t be an ass. Just because you are immortal does not mean you can treat other people as “lesser mortals”. Remember that even if they can’t kill you, you could still spend a lot of time in prison or in hospital. Quantum immortality ensures that you will survive everything that is thrown at you, but it does not ensure that it won’t hurt.
Is there any evidence that quantum immortality is true?
No. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence, but nothing hard. For example, the universe can be infinite in many ways (size, multiverse, mathematical reality, etc), quantum physics is completely consistent with the many worlds interpretation, we are currently living at a time when all diseases (and even old age) are being cured and people are getting older and older around the world. All of these increase the likelihood that you can survive anything, or at least survive long enough that the disease that might eventually kill you will be cured before it gets you.
This is all off the top of my head, written while riding a bus to work. I think I could come up with a further few questions to thrash out into full chapters
If a quantum immortality book sounds interesting and you have any questions you’d like me to explore, please comment below.