The Deplorable Device — How to harness Quantum Suicide to become insanely rich
This was something that I have been pondering for years but thought that was literally too dangerous an idea to talk about to other people, ie Roko’s Basilisk, however today a post that touches on the idea hit the top of r/philosophy so I think the cat is out of the bag.
Essentially what “The Deplorable Device” is a kind of perfect Artificial Intelligence replacement that uses Quantum Suicide.
First let’s briefly go over the standard Quantum Suicide apparatus: A Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) that generates 1’s and 0’s in a perfectly random binary sequence that is hooked up to a computer, and a shotgun that has an electronic device that pulls its trigger also hooked up to a computer.
The standard Quantum Suicide thought experiment is arranged such that for every 1 that the QRNG produces, the trigger on the shotgun is pulled, and for every 0 the QRNG produces, the trigger is not pulled. In theory, if the Copenhagen Interpretation is wrong, and the Many Worlds interpretation is right, putting the shotgun to your head and starting this apparatus will be entirely “safe”.
Say you run the apparatus for 10 cycles, if the Many Worlds Interpretation is correct, there should be (at least) one distinct parallel universe that splits off for each possible combination of 1s and 0s in a length-10 sequence (there would be 512 of them), but there would only be one of those parallel universes in which the sequence is “0000000000”, the only sequence to never trigger the shotgun and consequentially kill you.
You would always find yourself in the universe where the QRNG generated all 0s, because it would impossible for you to become entangled with any universe in which the shotgun would have gone off. (For a better explanation of this see Max Tegmarks videos about it).
That’s the standard Quantum Suicide thought experiment.
Now for a slight variation or what I call The Deplorable Device.
It still uses the QRNG and a shotgun connected to a computer, but rather than having the 1s and 0s directly connected to the shotgun firing or not firing, an intermediary actionable is inserted between the two, and the shotgun is set to trigger based on a certain pre-programmed criteria of the outcome of the actionable.
More simply put: [something happens] if the QRNG outputs a 1, and [something else happens] if the QRNG outputs a 0, and the shotgun only doesn’t trigger if those somethings happened in a certain way.
It’s much easier to explain using a concrete example so let’s use the first example that I think most smart people would probably use a perfect AI for if it fell into their laps: beating the stock market.
So in the case of using The Deplorable Device for beating the Market, you would take a very volatile stock (one that has large and rapid fluctuations in price), and program your computer to buy/hold the stock if the QRNG outputs a 1, and to sell/not buy the stock if the QRNG outputs a 0.
You then program the computer to trigger the shotgun if after any sell (0), you lose money.
So if you put $1000 in your trading account, put the shotgun to your head and ran the machine for 10 cycles, and the QRNG generates a sequence like 0001110010, the device would:
- not buy the stock for 3 cycles (000) after each zero the computer checks to see if money has been lost (which of course it hasn’t since you haven’t bought in) finds that it hasn’t and so doesn’t trigger the shotgun
- would buy all $1000 worth of the stock on the 4th cycle and hold the stock for 2 more cycles (111)
- would sell ALL the stocks you purchased, and check to see if money was lost, triggering the shotgun if it was, otherwise not buy again for 1 more cycle (00)
- would buy stocks on the 9th cycle (1) using ALL of the money that was made on any previous trades
- would sell ALL the stocks you purchased (0), checking to see if you lost money, triggering the shotgun if you had.
Running THIS machine for 10 cycles still splits into (at least) 512 parallel universes, one for each possible combination of 1s and 0s in a length-ten sequence, only the criteria for which combinations will NOT trigger the shotgun have changed.
In this case, only the sequences that correspond to buy/sell sequences that DO NOT lose money DO NOT trigger the shotgun.
This was an extremely simple version of the idea, you could tweak it by making the QRNG generating sequences of numbers 0–3 and using 2 and 3 for shorting and covering stocks for faster gains. You could have the machine programmed to choose the most volatile of all the stocks on a particular day to trade with for even FASTER gains.
In all probability you could turn $1000 into hundreds of millions in a single day with the right program.
But this really is only the tip of the iceberg for what The Deplorable Device can do, it can generate a string of characters that can match ANY criteria, providing that there is a foolproof method of checking that it does in fact match said criteria, and it is not totally impossible for the criteria to be met.
For example, you could have the machine generate the password or private key to ANY digital security system on the planet IN A SINGLE TRY. You would merely program the machine to only NOT trigger the shotgun if the password/private key was accepted on the first try.
You could have the device generate all on its own a perfect copy of Duke Nuke’em 3D. You would just need a cipher system of encoding the QRNG’s random string of digits into code, and then a manner in checking to ensure that the code that was produced exactly matched the code that makes up Duke Nuke’em 3D.
You could have the device generate the genetic sequence of a new supervirus to which there was no known remedy. In this case perhaps you would hire a virologist to check the product against these criteria and to press a button if it doesn’t match, unbeknowst to him the button triggers the shotgun.
You could have the device generate a speech that convince a person of anything, so long as there was a method of knowing when the person was not convinced so the shotgun can be triggered.
You could have the machine generate Best selling novels, Oscar-winning screenplays, War-winning strategies, foolproof business plans, or the entire codebase of Google.
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So long as something is not impossible (there exists NO possible series that will match a certain criteria), and there is a way of measuring whether or not a particular set of criteria has been met, there is nothing that the Deplorable Device cannot do.
It’s something that I have thought for a long time about and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to try and build it.
I have also have spent some time thinking about whether or not it’s a possible solution to the Fermi paradox. Since the only way to “bring someone with you” into a particular parallel universe is to make sure that they die as well with the specified criteria, ie you need to use a bomb rather than a shotgun, and if you want to take the whole world with you, well, you get the idea…
I’m curious to know what other people think of this.