That's certainly true, but from the regular human perspective, the real trouble is that in case of a conflict of values and interests, there is no "right," only naked power. (Which, of course, depending on the game-theoretic aspects of the concrete situation, may or may not escalate into warfare.) This does have some unpleasant implications not just when it comes to insectoid aliens, but also the regular human conflicts.

In fact, I think there is a persistent thread of biased thinking on LW in this regard. People here often write as if sufficient... (read more)

Negative-sum conflicts happen due to factual disagreements (mostly inaccurate assessments of relative power), not value disagreements. If two parties have accurate beliefs but different values, bargaining will be more beneficial to both than making war, because bargaining can avoid destroying wealth but still take into account the "correct" counterfactual outcome of war.

Though bargaining may still look like "who whom" if one party is much more powerful than the other.

Open Thread, April 2011

by ata 1 min read2nd Apr 2011111 comments


It seems we have agreed that open threads will continue but that they will go in the Discussion section, so here's this month's thread.