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Affective Death Spirals

At the same time though, not calculating a value until something actually needs it is exactly the kind of efficiency hack one would really want to implement if they were going to simulate an entire universe...

So if we are in some level of sub-reality that would make it much more likely that the model is correct, even if there's no way for us to actually test it...

So from a practical point of view, it comes down entirely to which model lets us most effectively predict things.  Since that's what we actually care about.  I'll take a collection of "parlour tricks" that can tell me things about the future with high confidence over a provably self-consistent system that is wrong more often.

The Affect Heuristic

Even if you can't keep picking until you've gotten all the reds, there may be some number of draws where the probability of drawing more than one from the jar with more reds exceeds the loss of probability from them being a smaller portion of the total.

But it depends on exactly what the rules are.

In terms of our reflexes...  The lower levels of consciousness often aren't particularly good at math, so they probably just use a rough count.

Have the lockdowns been worth it?

I mean, a lot of it I think has to do with the lockdown rules being fairly obviously being written by the dumbest people in the room.

As a couple of examples, here where I am they shut down all "nonessential" jobs and it rapidly became clear that they had no idea what was actually essential and no idea what actually spread the virus.  Specifically:

Automotive repair shops were shut down entirely for months.  It's as if they had no conception that all those "essential" transport jobs to get food back to the stores actually have to do vehicle maintenance.  It wasn't until shipping started to take a hit that they actually listened to complaints.

"non-essential" rural workers taking advantage of the down time to catch up on maintenance were having jack-booted thugs show up on their property (in the middle of nowhere, with no workers who didn't live on-premises) and order them to cease working and go sit inside their homes because somehow that would make everyone safer.  Never mind that these people's only possible exposure would have been coming directly from the aforementioned jackboots.

Logging and mining operations that go  weeks on end with little to no outside contact ordered to shut down and send all their people home, despite the fact that those people were almost certainly at less risk of exposure working in a remote region than back in the city or town.

I expect it'll be less an anti-lockdown backlash than an anti-idiot backlash.  But people may have a hard time differentiating the two.

Have the lockdowns been worth it?

The other problem is that a super-strict lockdown tight enough to actually stop the virus in this manner would likely have a higher mortality rate than the virus.  COVID spreads like mad, but it's hit to average life expectancy seems to be pretty small.

Have the lockdowns been worth it?

Building on your statement that many of the affected will be hard to reach with aid payments: some study on just what amount of government redistribution is actually helpful might also be in order.  Redistribution may solve the immediately obvious problems of people being suddenly unemployed, but it also slows the economy's ability to adapt to the significantly changed environment.  So there's undoubtedly a crossover point where it hurts more than it helps in the long run.

Not that I expect most governments would pay any attention at all if somebody did work up a number or a formula, but being able to see which nations come closest to hitting it could be entertaining.

We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think

On the other hand, of the people I know who have gotten divorced, refusal to admit mistakes seems to be one of the leading causes...

Doublethink (Choosing to be Biased)

The other possibility, of course, is that the predisposition that causes some people to want to buy lottery tickets also causes some other behaviour that is more beneficial than the ticket-buying is harmful.  Evolution may eventually sort these two out, but changes that subtle can take a long time.

For example, having two copies of the mutation that causes sickle-cell anemia will almost inevitably kill you.  But having just one copy of that mutation makes you practically immune to malaria.  So in an environment where malaria is sufficiently prevalent the immunity of the lucky is a sufficient advantage to offset their higher proportion of dead children.

Doublethink (Choosing to be Biased)

Those two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive though.  Only your own happiness really matters to you, but at the same time you are a finite being and so can't do everything for yourself.  So, on average, your best strategy is to recruit allies who are willing to help you attain happiness.

And while there may be short-term advantages to hurting others to benefit yourself, the best long-run strategy is to be the cause of as little suffering as possible because dishing out suffering makes other people less likely to help you with your own goals.

The fact that this strategy does sometimes spectacularly fail doesn't change the fact that it's your best bet.  At least until you get to be old enough that it's time to start cashing in favors because long-term investments are no longer likely to pay off.  And even then it still pays to not alienate your friends.

Doublethink (Choosing to be Biased)

From a purely probabilistic point of view, laying aside personal skill at anything in particular, the odds of a randomly selected lottery player winning the jackpot are probably better than those of a randomly selected garage or dorm-room tinkerer being the next Jobs or Bezos.

So yeah, you probably can't breed out lottery-playing without also seriously damaging the entrepreneurial spirit.

Covid 12/24: We’re F***ed, It’s Over

Don't forget there's another factor:  Coming down with COVID can easily take someone out of the workforce for a couple of weeks.

The essential workers may be at less risk of dying, but depending on how you define "essential" having a large portion of them down for the count could put quite a crimp in your ability to hand out vaccines.

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