Anthropic decision theory for self-locating beliefs

by Stuart_Armstrong1 min read12th Jul 20212 comments

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Sleeping Beauty ParadoxAnthropics
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Crossposted from the AI Alignment Forum. May contain more technical jargon than usual.

This is a link post to the "Anthropic decision theory for self-locating beliefs" paper, with the abstract:

This paper sets out to resolve how agents ought to act in the Sleeping Beauty problem and various related anthropic (self-locating belief) problems, not through the calculation of anthropic probabilities, but through finding the correct decision to make. It creates an anthropic decision theory (ADT) that decides these problems from a small set of principles. By doing so, it demonstrates that the attitude of agents with regards to each other (selfish or altruistic) changes the decisions they reach, and that it is very important to take this into account. To illustrate ADT, it is then applied to two major anthropic problems and paradoxes, the Presumptuous Philosopher and Doomsday problems, thus resolving some issues about the probability of human extinction.

The key points of that paper are also available in this post sequence.

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I'm not sure about the utility of a monetary payout in this variant of the Sleeping Beauty problem where she is killed at the end of the experiment. Is she assumed to pay for something she values in the one remaining day in which she (physically or psychologically) exists?

I can see two distinct possibilities here: whether she buys something of local utility (maybe an ice-cream), or of global utility (e.g. gifting it to someone she values). This may matter a great deal in the Tails case: even the copy altruistic average utilitarian will recognise that average utility is increased twice as much as in Heads for this case, even though each copy won't know whether or not it has.