(Remember folks, in a thought experiment you can do anything! To say, “That’s impossible!” is not allowed!)
So I’ve been reading Hunger Games (which I highly recommend), and a devilishly conceived thought experiment presents itself.
Aliens come to Earth with highly advanced technology and a sporting air. They tell you they are going to make an exact copy of you (and your spirit). They say it will contain all your memories, thoughts, experiences—everything. Every atom in your body is duplicated and placed in the new one exactly where it was in the old. The only difference between you and your double is your spatial location. So they knock you out with some gas. Then you wake up in a large forest. You realize that you don’t know if you are the old you, or the new copy. There is no test for your identity. You look and feel just like you always have, but you know the double will wake up the exact same thoughts.
An alien approaches and tells you it’s a fight to the death between you and your double. If one of you does not die, they will kill both of you and all your family. They also say that no one will ever know which, the original or the copy, died. So which of you wins, will not matter much to your loved ones. They don’t even know about the fight.
(1) Why does it matter to you who wins?
(2) Assume you buy into the fight. How do you take down someone exactly like you? Someone, with exactly your skill set, background knowledge, physical condition, motivation, and feelings about things? Is there some strategy you could use (and that you know he/she may also use) that will improve your odds?