The Evil Genie Puzzle

by Chris_Leong 1y25th Jul 201844 comments

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Foolish you. You decided to rub a lamp in the hope that a genie would appear and you found one, only it's an Evil Genie. He tells you only have two options: either wishing for your perfect life or being pelted with rotten eggs. You start thinking about how wonderful your new life will be, but of course, there's a catch.

In the past, wishing for a perfect life would have come with side-effects attached, but due to past abuses, the Council of Genies has created new, updated rules which ban any unwanted side-effects for the person who makes the wish or any of their loved one's. However, there's no rule against messing with other people. He tells you that he has already predicted your choice and if he predicted that you will wish for a perfect life, he has already created a million clones of you in identical rooms on Mars who will believe that they've just rubbed the lamp. However, since they've only hallucinated this, he doesn't have any obligations towards them and he will use his powers to torture them if they will choose the perfect life. On the other hand, if he predicts that you will choose to be pelted with rotten eggs, then he won't create any clones at all. Genies are well known to be perfect predictors.

Assuming you are a perfectly selfish agent who doesn't care about their clones, what decision ought you take? If you choose to be pelted, there's a 100% chance that if you had wished for a perfect life, you would have received it. On the other hand, if you wish for a perfect life, there's an overwhelming chance that you will wish that you had wished to be pelted. No matter what decision you make, it seems that you will immediately regret having made it (at least before it is revealed whether you are the original in the case where you choose the perfect life).

Extra Info: Some people might argue that perfect clones necessarily are you, but they don't actually have to be perfect clones. The genie could just clone someone else and give them the memory of finding the lamp and this ought to create the requisite doubt as to whether you are a real human on Earth or a clone on Mars.

Prior version of this punished the clones for existing or if it is predicted that they chose the perfect life, but the clones are now punished if they choose the perfect life.

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