score: 0 (0 votes) ·
I would take Bob's deal if either adequately compensated or convinced that the premise was true. I already have done work for pay that was so unpleasant I'd rather be tortured for a short time than do that sort of work again, and time wasted is partial death anyway.
As for our culture in general, this deal is very very common. Many people watch someone from another universe, a 'fictional person' being tortured to death for their entertainment, and there isn't any proof that the characters in, say, Saw, aren't real people somewhere. Now, before we come down hard on horror fans, note that every fan of the Dark Knight movie with Heath Ledger is watching entertainment that killed someone. Every person who relaxes by reading history or war .... everyone who reads the Bible or watches most entertainment based on it. At least Eliezer's example President is honest enough to say that he needs to watch this to refresh his spirit; people (like me!) who go and refresh their spirit by looking at past sufferings of people, animals, etc are at least 'guilty' of encouraging that type of suffering
in much the same way that hamburger buyers (in a modern farm economy) are guilty of causing animal suffering.
Note that /I do not think suffering is bad/ in and of itself. Sometimes it /is/ necessary. Bob and the President might just be doing something sensible.
Considering that IRL we have had a series of leaders who make themselves feel better by /torturing people non-consensually/, I'd rather live in Bob's world where it's Bradley Manning, or some random Afghan goat farmer whose neighbor wanted to graze on their land, who is getting tortured, in some cases to death, so that Great Leader can feel better.
The Truly Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma
score: 1 (1 votes) ·
I am a dedicated Paperclipper. Ask anyone who knows me well enough to have seen me in a Staples!
As such, I use my lack of human arrogance and postulate that at least some of the entities playing the IPD have intelligence on the order of my own. I do not understand what they are playing for, "1 million human lives" means virtually nothing to me, especially in comparison to a precious precious paperclip, but I assume by hypothesis that the other parties are playing a game similar enough to my own that we can communicate and come to an arrangement.
Now I invert time in my own mind and play through the entire game /backwards/, cooperating on the very first ( to humans, last) turn as a /signal/ to people who /think like I do/ that I am willing to cooperate. I bind myself to cooperate on the /last/ turn no matter what so that other players who have good lookahead (note that for example, electrons, have good lookahead, see "Sum over Histories" in quantum mechanics) can see that signal.
Now I mentally flip time again and form an intention to cooperate on the /first/ turn and play Tit for Tat or some minor variation like Two Tits For A Tat (this game is also playable in the Biker subculture as well as in the IPD) throughout the game.
Now anyone who thinks like I do - rationally and independently of time order - should cooperate with me on every turn.