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I simplify here because a lot of people think I will have contradictory expectations for a more complex event.

But I think you're being even more picky here. Do I -expect- that increasing the amount of gold in the world will slightly affect the market value? Yes. But I haven't wished anything related to that, my wish is -only- about some gold appearing in front of me.

Having the genie magically change how much utility I get from the gold is an even more ridiculous extension. If I wish for gold, why the heck would the genie feel it was his job to change my mental state to make me like gold more?

Possibly we just think very differently, and your 'expectation' of what would happen when gold appears also includes every thing you would do with that gold later, despite, among many, many things, not even knowing -when- you would speak the wish to get the gold, or what form it would appear in. And you even have in mind some specific level of happiness that you 'expect' to get from it. If so, you're right, this trick will not work for you.

The genie is, after all, all-powerful, so there are any number of subtle changes it could make that you didn't specify against that would immediately make you, or someone else, wish for the world to be destroyed. If that's the genie's goal, you have no chance. Heck, if it can choose it's form it could probably appear as some psycho-linguistic anomaly that hits your retina just right to make you into a person who would wish to end the world.

Really I'm just giving the genie a chance to show me that it's a nice guy. If it's super evil I'm doomed regardless, but this wish test (hopefully) distinguishes between a benevolent genie and one that's going to just be a dick.

A wish is a pretty constrained thing, for some wishes.

If I wish for a pile of gold, my expectations probably constrain lots of externalities like 'Nobody is hurt acquiring the gold, it isn't taken from somewhere else, it is simply generated and deposited at my feet, but not, like, crushing me, or using the molecules of my body as raw material, or really anything that kills me for that matter'. Mostly my expectations are about things that won't happen, not things that will happen that might conflict (that consists only of: the gold will appear before me and will be real and persistent).

If you try this with a wish for world peace, you're likely to get screwed. But I think that's a given no matter your strategy. Don't wish for goals, wish for the tools to achieve your goals - you'll probably be more satisfied with the result to boot.

I just take this as evidence that I -can't- beat the genie, and don't attempt any more wishes.

Whereas, if it's something simple then I have pretty strong evidence that the genie is -trying- to meet my wishes, that it's a benevolent genie.

Wish 1: "I wish for a paper containing the exact wording of a wish that, when spoken to you, would meet all my expectations for a wish granting X." For any value of X.

Wish 2: Profit.

Three wishes is overkill.

That's hardly a critique of the trolley problem. Special relativity itself stipulates that it doesn't apply to faster-than-light movement, but a moral theory can't say "certain unlikely or confusing situations don't count". The whole point of a moral theory is to answer those cases where intuition is insufficient, the extremes you talk about. Imagine where we'd be if people just accepted Newtonian physics, saying "It works in all practical cases, so ignore the extremes at very small sizes and very high speeds, they are faulty models". Of course we don't allow that in the sciences, so why should we in ethics?

I can attest that I had those exact reactions on reading those sections of the article. And in general I am more impressed by someone who graduated quickly than one who took longer than average, and by someone who wrote a book rather than one who hasn't. "But what if that's not the case?" is hardly a knock-down rebuttal.

I think it's more likely you're confusing the status you attribute to Kaj for candidness and usefulness of the post, with the status you would objectively add or subtract from a person if you heard that they floundered or flourished in college.

I don't see how this is admirable at all. This is coercion.

If I work for a charitable organization, and my primary goal is to gain status and present an image as a charitable person, then efforts by you to change my mind are adversarial. Human minds are notoriously malleable, so it's likely that by insisting I do some status-less charity work you are likely to convince me on a surface level. And so I might go and do what you want, contrary to my actual goals. Thus, you have directly harmed me for the sake of your goals. In my opinion this is unacceptable.

It's excessive to claim that the hard work, introspection, and personal -change- (the hardest part) required to align your actions with a given goal are equivalent in difficulty or utility to just taking a pill.

Even if self-help techniques consistently worked, you'd still have to compare the opportunity cost of investing that effort with the apparent gains from reaching a goal. And estimating the utility of a goal is really difficult, especially when it's a goal you've never experienced before.

You are quite right. My scores correlate much better now; I retract my confusion.

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