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Is risk aversion really irrational ?

If you don't pick the option with higher expected utility, it's not actually utility.

The point is that we may have utility functions where u(p1A+p2B) != p1u(A)+p2u(B). That is, the utility of a bet may not be equal to the expected value of the utility of the outcomes.

Specific Fiction Discusion (April 2011)

One of the points in Deepness is that we almost exclusively experience the aliens as translated by the human "translators": due to their extreme skills, they are able to make the non-human easy for the humans to relate to.

In a brief glimpse near the end of the story, Vinge gives us a hint that perhaps the aliens aren't as human-like as the "translators" has made them seem.