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Eleizer wasn't the first to think of this sort of thing:
Economic Weirdtopia: There is no economy. Everyone lives a self sufficient existence on isolated farms. Think Solaria.
And the mapping of attraction to those noumena is entirely subjective! Like in another Elizer Yudkowsky essay:
One common answer to the question "What will we do in the future when we've fixed all that is wrong with today" is "How the hell should I know?"
For example, imagine our neolithic ancestors asking each other the same question. "What will they do in the future when they don't have to worry about fo...(read more)
Warren Buffet uses the 'birth points' idea ("Ovarian Lottery" in his terminology) in a great thought experiment for developing his morality and ethics.
At the end he puts a political slant on it, but I've read oth...(read more)
I heard a funny story once (online somewhere, but this was years ago and I can't find it now).
Anyway I think it was the psychology department at Stanford. They were having an open house, and they had set up a PD game with M&M's as the reward. People could sit at either end of a table with a cardb...(read more)
The classic example is picking people for a sports team. The difference in performance from the very top superstars is much greater than the guys who just make the team.
So the superstars are obvious choices, but there isn't a whole lot of difference between the guys who just make the team and the...(read more)
Animal trainers have this problem all the time. Animal performs behavior 'x' gets a reward. But the animal might have been doing other subtle behaviors at the same time, and map the reward to 'y'. So instead of reinforcing 'x', you might be reinforcing 'y'. And if 'x' and 'y' are too close for y...(read more)
I think the work you're looking for is 'truthiness'; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness
Isaac Asimov said it well: "Never let your morals get in the way of doing the right thing."