Antidote to Pascal's Wager 2015-09-04T00:41:09.273Z
The Fox and the Low-Hanging Grapes 2012-03-06T23:19:55.482Z
How hard do we really want to sell cryonics? 2011-04-29T21:34:01.049Z
Write It Like A Poem 2011-02-16T15:11:41.693Z
Turing Test Tournament For Funding 2010-12-17T18:53:15.242Z
Blood Feud 2.0 2010-11-29T14:12:15.156Z
Disconnect between Stated/Implemented Preferences 2010-03-17T02:26:45.596Z


Comment by Strange7 on Psychic Powers · 2015-12-10T05:39:30.264Z · LW · GW

If what I'm saying what feel clear to you, you would ignore what I'm saying.

We're all empiricists here, so let's run an experiment. You've got this theory that gjm won't understand if you try to explain. How 'bout you stop rehashing that, actually try to explain some of those technical terms you mentioned earlier, and see how your theory holds up?

Comment by Strange7 on On Walmart, And Who Bears Responsibility For the Poor · 2015-09-23T08:53:51.160Z · LW · GW

"at least those people working in the sweatshops aren't homeless"

Bizarrely enough there are many people who have jobs, yet cannot afford housing. Something about rising real estate prices.

Comment by Strange7 on On Walmart, And Who Bears Responsibility For the Poor · 2015-09-21T12:58:08.039Z · LW · GW

A union makes sense when the workers have specialized interests, but for unskilled labor isn't it simpler just to work through the overarching government?

Comment by Strange7 on On Walmart, And Who Bears Responsibility For the Poor · 2015-09-21T12:13:09.325Z · LW · GW

Personally I would expect large corporations and the very rich to be capable of defending their position against any reasonably predictable shift in the economic environment, since they have resources and motivation to lay out more comprehensive contingency plans than anyone else. That extra productivity from "Job 2" doesn't just vanish into the aether. Higher minimum wage means the poorest people have more money, then they turn around and spend that money at Walmart.

The ones who lose out from a higher minimum wage would be the middle managers, who are then less free to treat bottom-tier workers as interchangeable, disposable, safe targets for petty abuse. With higher wages, those workers will have more of the financial security that makes them willing to risk standing up for themselves, and specialized skills that make them more expensive to replace. That's what wage compression, reductions in turnover, and improvements in organizational efficiency look like from the trenches.

Comment by Strange7 on Antidote to Pascal's Wager · 2015-09-21T10:45:21.925Z · LW · GW

This is an adequately accurate summary, though you may have missed the pun.

Comment by Strange7 on Stupid Questions September 2015 · 2015-09-04T08:25:07.548Z · LW · GW

"Let's help everyone equally, or in proportion to their needs or something" is easier to agree on than "let's devote the entire GDP of Russia to my personal enjoyment, and maybe my friends and allies in proportion to their loyalty." With the former, people quibble over definitions and in-groups and details of implementation; the latter, even Putin dares not propose openly.

I'm not claiming that propensity to charity or altruism causes, or even particularly correlates with, economic development. I'm just saying that economic development is good, and that it's marginally better for the world economy when some excess food goes to a human who'll eat it, rather than sitting in some warehouse until it rots, even (perhaps especially) if the human in question can't afford to buy food at the going market rate. When rational people see something being squandered, they prefer to throw that resource into charity, where it will do some good, rather than preserve the wasteful status quo.

Or you are so unfocused you solve none of them?

You start with the especially vast, horrific problems which can be sorted out cheaply, like scurvy and polio and malaria, then proceed to more complicated, less severe stuff as returns begin to diminish. That's the whole idea of evaluating medical interventions in terms of dollars-per-QALY, isn't it?

Comment by Strange7 on Stupid Questions September 2015 · 2015-09-04T01:55:51.431Z · LW · GW

Some combination of Social Security Disability payments, caring friends and family, private-sector charities, and hospital emergency rooms that aren't allowed to check for ability to pay before providing treatment. It's a bad system with a lot of cracks to fall through, and a distressing number of poor people suffer miserable pointless deaths.

Comment by Strange7 on Stupid Questions September 2015 · 2015-09-04T01:43:28.175Z · LW · GW

Colonizing the galaxy is a political problem, not a question of engineering possibility. A sufficiently zealous world government could jump-start asteroid mining with an Orion Heavy Lifter, construct mirror arrays near the sun, and start lobbing around interstellar VNMs, all with relatively simple refinement and application of existing technologies. Problem is, the best way of putting a complete industrial base into orbit runs afoul of certain atmospheric nuclear test ban treaties.

Without a reactionless drive there's no point sending a colony ship faster than about 60% of the speed of light. Gotta save some remass to decelerate.

Comment by Strange7 on Stupid Questions September 2015 · 2015-09-04T01:21:43.860Z · LW · GW

It's an investment.

When you have some asset that you don't immediately need, and somebody else would be able to make better use of it, renting it out or giving it away enriches the whole system. Then you get to live in that richer system and enjoy the benefits. Your quality of life is better when you live somewhere with reliable electricity, uncensored internet, and trivial access to potable water, right? A fancy car isn't much fun without fuel or decent roads.

Helping somebody on an altruistic basis is just another transfer of resources toward where they'll be used more efficiently. It's less directly profitable to the donor than sale or rent, but reduced transaction costs and targeting explicitly based on need means the net societal benefit can be greater.

Maximizing overall QALYs may be, in itself, a less efficient way to improve the society you live in than slanting toward helping your immediate social circle, municipality, or nation, but it's easier for everyone to agree on, and every dollar or man-hour spent on arguments is one less to spend on getting the actual work done. Besides, we live in a world where more of the mercury contaminating fish in Lake Michigan comes from industry in China than from local sources. You never know whose problems might land in your back yard, so just go ahead and solve all of them.

All that social stuff, instinctive empathy and cultural expectations alike, is secondary. It developed so people can do the right thing without needing to understand why it's the right thing.

Comment by Strange7 on Rationality Quotes November 2014 · 2014-12-02T17:34:31.194Z · LW · GW

Pretend to be a radical environmentalist or something.

Comment by Strange7 on Rationality Quotes November 2014 · 2014-12-02T17:10:59.308Z · LW · GW

An explicit argument that lack of regulation would produce better results than the current regulatory system is not the same thing as disliking and actively opposing the current system yet having no idea what to replace it with.

Comment by Strange7 on Rationality Quotes December 2014 · 2014-12-02T17:04:31.976Z · LW · GW

I'm fully aware that there's more to nautical charts than the water's surface, and I used the term 'satellite photography' somewhat broadly. More of the deep ocean has been mapped by sensors in polar orbits, which can stay on-station indefinitely and cover the entire globe without regard for local obstacles, than ever was (or likely would have been) by surface craft and submarines.

Comment by Strange7 on Unemployment explanations · 2014-12-01T20:56:24.506Z · LW · GW

Henry George was looking at the labor market, and pointing out that you can't really understand the causes of large-scale unemployment, "the paralysis which produces dullness in all trades," without looking all the way back up the supply chain, if necessary to natural resources and how they're being used or prevented from use, until you find something necessary that's not being supplied. Can you find a counterexample to THAT claim, a cause for general unemployment which can't be traced back to a lack of supply?

Comment by Strange7 on Rationality Quotes December 2014 · 2014-12-01T20:45:46.405Z · LW · GW

As far as literal charts of literal bodies of water on the surface of the earth, satelite photography actually has pretty much solved that problem.

As far as metaphorical waters, human civilization is larger than most people really think, and consists disproportionately of people finding and publishing answers to interesting questions. "Don't assume the waters are uncharted until you've done at least a cursory search for the charts" is sound advice.

Comment by Strange7 on Cryonics Questions · 2014-12-01T20:38:55.669Z · LW · GW

A poorly put together gun is perfectly capable of crippling the wielder, and most bombs light enough to throw won't reliably kill everyone in a room, especially a large room. Also, guns are harder to get right than bombs. That's why, in military history, hand grenades and land mines came first, then muskets, then rifles, instead of just better and better grenades. That's why the saying is "every Marine is a rifleman" and not "every Marine is a grenadier."

A well-made Friendly AI would translate human knowledge and intent into precise, mechanical solutions to problems. You just look through the scope and decide when to pull the trigger, then it handles the details of implementation.

Also, you seem to have lost track of the positional aspect of the metaphor. The room outside represents the future; are you planning to stay behind in the garbage compactor?

Comment by Strange7 on Unemployment explanations · 2014-11-30T09:02:42.966Z · LW · GW

Just to make completely sure I understand you here... you went looking for something that's not a natural resource underlying major economic issues, but could still affect those issues, and the best answer you could come up with was the sun ? The local star, that gigantic nuclear furnace whose radiant energy is the source of power for all photosynthetic life on earth, excepting maybe some geothermal-powered grow-lights in Greenland or something. That sun, that's the one you're referring to?

If solar energy flux abruptly changed by even one percent, up or down, or was widely anticipated to do so, i don't think unemployed ice cream manufacturers and salespeople would be the main economic consequence, or even noticeable among all the other chaos.

Comment by Strange7 on Cryonics Questions · 2014-11-30T08:34:56.352Z · LW · GW

There might be an 'extinct in the wild, building up a viable breeding population in captivity' situation, though.

Comment by Strange7 on Cryonics Questions · 2014-11-30T07:32:32.220Z · LW · GW

So start with a quick sweep for functional-looking knives, followed by pieces of armor that look like they'd cover your skull or torso without falling off. No point to armor if it fails to protect you, or hampers your movements enough that you'll be taking more hits from lost capacity to dodge than the armor can soak up.

If the walls don't seem to have closed in much by the time you've got all that located and equipped, think about the junk you've already searched through. Optimistically, you may by this time have located several instances of the same model of gun with only one core problem each, in which case grab all of them and swap parts around (being careful not to drop otherwise good parts into the mud) until you've got at least one functional gun. Or, you may not have found anything that looks remotely like it could be converted into a useful approximation of a gun in the time available, in which case forget it and gather up whatever else you think could justify the effort of carrying it on your back.

Extending the metaphor, load-bearing gear is anything that lets you carry more of everything else with less discomfort. By it's very nature, that kind of thing needs to be fitted individually for best results, so don't just settle for a backpack or 'supportive community' that looks nice at arm's length but aggravates your spine when you actually try it on, especially if it isn't adjustable. If you've only found one or two useful items anyway, don't even bother.

Medical supplies would be investments in maintaining your literal health as well as non-crisis-averting skills and resources, so you're less likely to burn yourself out if one of those problems gets a grazing hit in. You should be especially careful to make sure that medical supplies you're picking out of the garbage aren't contaminated somehow.

Finally, a grenade would be any sort of clever political stratagem which could avert a range of related bad ends without much further work on your part, or else blow up in your face.

Comment by Strange7 on Rationality Quotes November 2014 · 2014-11-30T00:11:57.890Z · LW · GW

Alright, so you bring this alleged time traveler with you to visit two or three different psychologists, all of whom are appropriately surprised by the whole 'time travel' thing but agree that you seem to be perceiving and processing the facts of the situation accurately.

Furthermore you have a lot of expensive tests run on the health and functionality of your brain, and all of the results turn out within normal limits. Camera-phone videos of the initial arrival are posted to the internet and after millions of views nobody can credibly figure out how it could have been faked. To the extent that introspection provides any meaningful data, you feel fine. In short, by every available test, your sanity is either far beyond retrieval down an indistinguishably perfect fantasy hole, or completely unmarred apart from perhaps a circumstantially-normal level of existential anxiety.

Now what?

Comment by Strange7 on Rationality Quotes November 2014 · 2014-11-29T23:56:17.572Z · LW · GW

If you've been fooled, there's still no point to calling it impossible, given that you're trying to find out what actually happened.

Comment by Strange7 on Cryonics Questions · 2014-11-29T21:42:24.653Z · LW · GW

with democracy acting like a smokescreen for the voters - to give them an illusion of control, and to prevent them from revolting.

Voting prevents revolts in the same sense that a hydroelectric dam prevents floods. It's not a matter of stopping up the revolutionary urge; in fact, any attempt to do so would be disastrous sooner or later. Instead it provides a safe, easy channel, and in the process, captures all the power of the movement before that flow can build up enough to cause damage.

The voters can have whatever they want, and the rest of the system does it's best to stop them from wanting anything dangerous.

Comment by Strange7 on Cryonics Questions · 2014-11-29T21:26:11.656Z · LW · GW

Let's say you're about to walk into a room that contains an unknown number of hostile people who possibly have guns. You don't have much of a choice about which way you're going, given that the "room" you're currently in is really more of an active garbage compactor, but you do have a lot of military-grade garbage to pick through. Do you don some armor, grab a knife, or try to assemble a working gun of your own?

Trick question. Given adequate time and resources, you do all three. In this metaphor, the room outside is the future, enemy soldiers are the prospect of a dystopia or other bad end, AGI is the gun (least likely to succeed, given how many moving parts there are and the fact that you're putting it together from garbage without real tools, but if you get it right it might solve a whole room full of problems very quickly), general sanity-improving stuff is the knife (a simple and reliable way to deal with whatever problem is right in front of you), and cryonics is the armor (so if one of those problems becomes lethally personal before you can solve it, you might be able to get back up and try again).

Comment by Strange7 on Rationality Quotes November 2014 · 2014-11-29T20:55:03.361Z · LW · GW

I'm saying the control systems on the plane constitute an artificial intelligence, advanced enough to do almost all the work of flying the plane but not general enough to do anything unrelated to flying the plane, and (at issue) not friendly enough to tell the pilots "this is likely just a little ice clog, in which case you don't need to do anything" or, later in the catastrophe, "the single most important part of stall recovery is bringing the plane's nose back down," let alone override their panicky incompetence outright and act on such simple suggestions itself.

Comment by Strange7 on Unemployment explanations · 2014-11-29T20:40:05.880Z · LW · GW

Suppose there's only a limited demand for the goods produced and the other company uses technology that lets it fewer workers than the first one did.

"Labor-saving" innovations are simply increases in efficiency. If the new process allows more of the same (or equivalent) goods to be produced with less inputs, the price will drop and demand will increase. Significantly lower cost might even open up completely new applications for the goods.

Comment by Strange7 on You have a set amount of "weirdness points". Spend them wisely. · 2014-11-28T16:34:16.656Z · LW · GW

My objection is to the 'set amount.' What about the Bunny Ears Lawyer trope, where someone purchases additional weirdness points with a track record of outstanding competence?

Comment by Strange7 on Unemployment explanations · 2014-11-28T16:23:56.106Z · LW · GW

The neighbor is possibly going to attack... why? Maybe because they want something you have, that they could seize by killing you? Such as your land? The term "lebensraum" comes to mind.

Communist ideology, likewise, exists to promote communist political policies, which have a number of major differences from capitalist (or, say, monarchist) policies when it comes to how natural resources should be exploited on industrial scales and how the products of that industry should be directed. Workers controlling the means of production, and so on.

As for falsifiability, it would be easy enough to imagine people going to war over a set of political issues (let's say, calendar reform or the right to be openly homosexual) which have no clear implications one way or another for industry. It's just, that doesn't happen. Gulf War 2? Oil. American civil war? Cotton, by way of slavery. WWII? Germany and Japan trying to bootstrap. Sub-saharan bloodbaths? Closely correlated to droughts, with a time lag as food scarcity propagates through the system. Without an underlying resource conflict, no war occurs.

There's always more to it than that, of course, because people are complicated. The first world war, for example, was a horrific morass of misplaced optimism and lost purposes, but when you look at the promises the leaders were making, it was always "no, really, we'll be able to push ahead and capture valuable territory at low cost THIS time!" and the reparations afterward were transparently a transfer of resources from the losers to the winners.

Comment by Strange7 on The Hostile Arguer · 2014-11-28T05:54:32.680Z · LW · GW

I'm not saying that someone making the "understand when you're older" argument is being dishonest. They might not even be incorrect. It's just that, if that's the best case they can come up with, even after thinking it over, you're probably better off making your decision on some basis other than their opinion.

Comment by Strange7 on The Hostile Arguer · 2014-11-28T03:59:13.478Z · LW · GW

It's not that there aren't any people whose unsupported assertion is more trustworthy than an explicit, persuasive-sounding argument for the opposite side, though certainly individuals of such discernment and integrity are rare. The issue is that any person so reliable would also necessarily have enough underlying intelligence to be able to, in any situation not involving implausibly extreme levels of time pressure, construct a better (or at least more contextually specific) argument than "you'll understand when you're older." The only plausible explanation for being so vague is if they not only don't want to tell you, but are further trying not to provide enough keywords for you to look up the real reason yourself.

Comment by Strange7 on Unemployment explanations · 2014-11-28T00:57:45.481Z · LW · GW

Superior competitors don't tend to cause widespread unemployment, though. People just go work for the company that's on the rise.

As for uncertainty about a coming war... he's saying that it all comes back to natural resources, access to land, and sure enough that tends to be what wars are about.

Comment by Strange7 on Unemployment explanations · 2014-11-28T00:45:50.384Z · LW · GW

Homeownership makes employees less willing to relocate, but also more tolerant of short-term decreases in the demand for their skills, since they can postpone maintenance on a house (or perform it inefficiently themselves with the surplus time) more safely than they can miss rent payments to a landlord.

Comment by Strange7 on Talking Snakes: A Cautionary Tale · 2014-11-28T00:05:44.063Z · LW · GW

"Haha, no, of course I don't believe in monkeys transforming into humans! That'd never work. I just think they diverged from a common ancestor, many hundreds of thousands of years ago. Surely you're aware of the differences between, say, sunni and shia islam, despite both believing that all the same prophets said all the same things, and splitting only a few hundred years back? To say nothing of the other Abrahamic religions.

Think of a living organism as being like a city, with cells like individual households, each keeping their own copy of DNA scripture in the nucleus. When that scripture gets transcribed incorrectly, or reinterpreted, the change can potentially alter any detail about how the larger city works. The cumulative effect of changing no more than one detail every few years, and recombination to found new colonies which then make their own changes, eventually results in different tribes that seem to have nothing in common."

Comment by Strange7 on Talking Snakes: A Cautionary Tale · 2014-11-27T23:25:36.923Z · LW · GW

Nobody believes that....

I cannot recall any instance of a claim in that format turning out to be correct.

Comment by Strange7 on Talking Snakes: A Cautionary Tale · 2014-11-27T23:21:55.022Z · LW · GW

Parrots can talk; a parrot named Alex even accidentally learned how to spell out a word for emphasis when the listener didn't seem to be paying attention. Pre-curse, this "snake" wasn't crawling around on the ground. Maybe it was just a slightly cleverer species of parrot.

Comment by Strange7 on Rationality Quotes November 2014 · 2014-11-06T04:47:12.009Z · LW · GW

died from UFAI

How sure are you about that? Everyone on Air France flight 447 died as a direct result of insufficiently-friendly AI. Patient zero for ebola in the US was discharged from the emergency room with some painkillers and antibiotics because software looking through his medical records failed to recognize, and call the triage nurse's attention to, obvious risk factors.

Comment by Strange7 on Is Sunk Cost Fallacy a Fallacy? · 2014-11-03T19:33:50.826Z · LW · GW

If there was some non-negligible probability that the study was bad, RationalWiki would, given their dislike for chiropractics, have seized upon that and discussed it explicitly, would they not?

Comment by Strange7 on Rationality Quotes November 2014 · 2014-11-03T13:41:48.226Z · LW · GW

Marriage to Kim Kardashian is not contagious.

As far as we know! Perhaps it simply has a long incubation period, and transitive polyamory will be legally recognized some time in the 2020s.

Comment by Strange7 on Is Sunk Cost Fallacy a Fallacy? · 2014-11-03T13:30:49.955Z · LW · GW

It's only a No True Scotsman if you can point to an actual citizen of Scotland who doesn't meet the 'true Scotsman' standard.

You are conflating two claims here. One is that chiropractic is more expensive than conventional treatments for lower back pain, and the other is that chiropractic is less effective than conventional treatments for lower back pain. What support do you have for the latter claim?

Comment by Strange7 on A discussion of heroic responsibility · 2014-11-02T19:07:21.148Z · LW · GW

You just borrow more.

And/or authorize the police to steal.

Comment by Strange7 on Is Sunk Cost Fallacy a Fallacy? · 2014-11-02T17:11:57.873Z · LW · GW

You haven't made an argument that indirect funding is the best way to go

On this point we are in agreement. I'm not making any assertions about what the absolute best way is to fund research.

and you've made baseless claims.

Please be more specific.

There's nothing to respond to: the burden of proof is on anyone who claims that bizarrely indirect mechanisms through flawed actors

All humans are flawed. Were you perhaps under the impression that research grant applications get approved or denied by a gleaming crystalline logic-engine handed down to us by the Precursors?

Here is the 'bizarrely indirect' mechanism by which I am claiming industrial engineering motivates basic research. First, somebody approaches some engineers with a set of requirements that, at a glance, to someone familiar with the current state of the art, seems impossible or at least unreasonably difficult. Money is piled up, made available to the engineers conditional on them solving the problem, until they grudgingly admit that it might be possible after all.

The problem is broken down into smaller pieces: for example, to put a man on the moon, we need some machinery to keep him alive, and a big rocket to get him and the machinery back to Earth, and an even bigger rocket to send the man and the machinery and the return rocket out there in the first place. The Tsiolkovsky rocket equation puts some heavy constraints on the design in terms of mass ratios, so minimizing the mass of the life-support machinery is important.

To minimize life-support mass while fulfilling the original requirement of actually keeping the man alive, the engineers need to understand what exactly the man might otherwise die of. No previous studies on the subject have been done, so they take a batch of laboratory-grade hamsters, pay someone to expose the hamsters to cosmic radiation in a systematic and controlled way, and carefully observe how sick or dead the hamsters become as a result. Basic research, in other words, but focused on a specific goal.

would NASA ever under any circumstances admit this?

They seem to be capable of acknowledging errors, yes. Are you?

"It turns out what we did in Apollo was probably the worst way we could have handled it operationally," says Kriss Kennedy, project leader for architecture, habitability and integration at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, US.

Comment by Strange7 on Is Sunk Cost Fallacy a Fallacy? · 2014-11-01T12:00:31.344Z · LW · GW

'Breakthroughs and basic science' seem to be running in to diminishing returns lately. As a policy matter, I think we (human civilization) should focus more on applying what we already know about the basics, to do what we're already doing more efficiently.

Comment by Strange7 on Is Sunk Cost Fallacy a Fallacy? · 2014-11-01T11:50:01.895Z · LW · GW

I didn't say it was the only effective funding mechanism. I didn't say it was the best. Please respond to the argument I actually made.

Comment by Strange7 on Is Sunk Cost Fallacy a Fallacy? · 2014-10-28T13:11:05.740Z · LW · GW

"Modern-day best-practices industrial engineering works pretty well at it's stated goals, and motivates theoretical progress as a result of subgoals" is not a particularly controversial claim. If you think there's a way to do more with less, or somehow immunize the market for pure research against adverse selection due to frauds and crackpots, feel free to prove it.

Comment by Strange7 on Is Sunk Cost Fallacy a Fallacy? · 2014-10-26T02:03:14.064Z · LW · GW

if you want research, buy research

Focusing money too closely on the research itself runs the risk that you'll end up paying for a lot of hot air dressed up to look like research. Cool-but-useless real-world applications are the costly signalling mechanism which demonstrates an underlying theory's validity to nonspecialists. You can't fly to the moon by tacking more and more epicycles onto the crystalline-sphere theory of celestial mechanics.

Comment by Strange7 on Confused as to usefulness of 'consciousness' as a concept · 2014-10-25T00:36:14.551Z · LW · GW

why did evolution build us to place fundamental emotional and normative value on conforming to what any rational selfish agent will figure out?

If you're running some calculation involving a lot of logarithms, and portable electronics haven't been invented yet, would you rather take a week to derive the exact answer with an abacus, and another three weeks hunting down a boneheaded sign error, or ten seconds for the first two or three decimal places on a slide rule?

Rational selfishness is expensive to set up, expensive to run, and can break down catastrophically at the worst possible times. Evolution tends to prefer error-tolerant systems.

Comment by Strange7 on Open thread, Oct. 6 - Oct. 12, 2014 · 2014-10-18T00:59:57.487Z · LW · GW

problems other than math and science problems

No such thing.

For any given problem, once a possible solution is reached, do you expect to be able to check that solution against reality with further observations? If so, you have constructed a theory with experimental implications, and are doing Science. If not, you have derived the truth, falsehood, or invalidity of a particular statement from a core set of axioms, and are doing Math.

Comment by Strange7 on Rationality Quotes October 2014 · 2014-10-18T00:10:36.974Z · LW · GW

Would it have fit into less space than the set of possible programs for the Z80?

Comment by Strange7 on Rationality Quotes October 2014 · 2014-10-17T23:50:36.969Z · LW · GW

What about Honda?

Comment by Strange7 on Newcomblike problems are the norm · 2014-10-04T21:08:36.734Z · LW · GW

For the play money iterations, that assumption would not hold.

Why not? People can get pretty competitive even when there's nothing really at stake, and current-iteration play money is a proxy for future-iteration real money.

Comment by Strange7 on Newcomblike problems are the norm · 2014-10-03T22:04:42.514Z · LW · GW

Thank you! If I was the other clone and heard that I was about to play a game of PD which would have no consequences for anyone except the other player, who was also me, that would distort my incentives.

Comment by Strange7 on Newcomblike problems are the norm · 2014-10-03T16:27:15.669Z · LW · GW

fighting the hypothetical

It's established in the problem statement that the experimenter is going to destroy or falsify all records of what transpired during the game, including the fact that a game even took place, presumably to rule out cooperation motivated by reputational effects. If you want a perfectly honest and trustworthy experimenter, establish that axiomatically, or at least don't establish anything that directly contradicts.

Assuming that the other party is a clone with identical starting mind-state makes it a much more tractable problem. I don't have much idea how perfect reasoners behave; I've never met one.