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If I am given a thing, like a mug, I now have one more mug than I had before. My need for mugs has therefore decreased. If I am to sell the mug, I must examine how much I will need the mug after it is gone and place a price on that loss of utility. If I am buying a mug I must set a price on how much I need it after I have it and place a price on that increase of utility. If the experiment is not worded carefully then the thought process could go along the lines of...

I have 2 mugs, and often take a tea break with my mate Steve. To sell one of those mugs would make me lose out on this activity... $10. I don't hugely need another mug unless it breaks, but it is handy to have a spare... $2.

In real life people will attribute more value to their stuff than other stuff as in general they would not have got the stuff if they did not value it higher than the cost of getting it. It is not a failiure of rationality to want something more than what you paid for it, and while it is a failiure of rationality to over value something just because you own it, it is not a failiure of rationality to ask a higher price first in case the person you are selling to is willing to pay more.

It would be difficult to adjust for these factors in designing an experiment.

I have a couple of questions about this subject...

Does it still count if the AI "believes" that it needs humans when it, in fact, does not?

For example does it count if you code into the AI the belief that it is being run in a "virtual sandbox," watched by a smarter "overseer" and that if it takes out the human race in any way, then it will be shut down/tortured/highly negative utilitied by said overseer?

Just because an AI needs humans to exist, does that really mean that it won't kill them anyway?

This argument seems to be contingent on the AI wishing to live. Wishing to live is not a function of all inteligence. If an AI was smarter than anything else out there but depended on lesser, and provenly irrational beings for its continued existence this does not mean that it would want to "live" that way forever. It could either want to gain independance, or cease to exist, neither of which are necessarily healthy for its "supporting units".

Or, it could not care either way whether it lives or dies, as stopping all work on the planet is more important for slowing the entropic death of the universe.

It may be the case that an AI does not want to live reliant on "lesser beings" and sees the only way of ensuring its permanent destruction as the destruction of any being capable of creating it again, or the future possibilty of such life evolving. It may decide to blow up the universe to make extra sure of that.

Come to think of it a suicidal AI could be a pretty big problem...

Sorry, I am having difficulty explaining as I am not sure what it is I am trying to get across, I lack the words. I am having trouble with the use of the word predict, as it could imply any number of methods of prediction, and some of those methods change the answer you should give.

For example if it was predicting by the colour of the player's shoes it may have a micron over 50% chance of being right, and just happened to have been correct the 100 times you heard of. In that case one should take a and b, if, on the other hand, it was a visitor from a higher matrix, and got its answer by simulating you perfectly and at fast forward, then whatever you want to take is the best option and in my case that is B. If it is breaking causality by looking through a window into the future, then take box B. My answers are conditional on information I do not have. I am having trouble mentally modelling this situation without assuming one of these cases to be true.

Thank you. By depersonalising the question it makes it easier for me to think about. If do you take one box or two becomes should one take one box or two... I am still confused. I'm confident that just box B should be taken, but I think that I need information that is implied to exist but is not presented in the problem to be able to give a correct answer. Namely the nature of the predictions Omega has made.

With the problem as stated I do not see how one could tell if Omega got lucky 100 times with a flawed system, or if it has a deterministic or causality breaking process that it follows.

One thing I would say is that picking B the most you could lose is 1000 dollars if B is empty. Picking A and B the most you could gain over just B is 1000 dollars. Is it worth betting a reasonable chance at $1,000,000 for a $1,000 gain if you beat a computer at a game 100 people failed to beat it at, especially if it is a game you more or less axiomatically do not understand how it is playing?

Thanks, that does help a little, though I should say that I am pretty sure I hold a number of irrational beliefs that I am yet to excise. Assuming that Omega literally implanted the idea into my head is a different thought experiment to Omega turned out to be predicting is different to Omega saying that it predicted the result etc. Until I know how and why I know it is predicting the result I am not sure how I would act in the real case. How Omega told me that I was only allowed to pick box a and b or just b may or may not be helpful but either way not as important as how I know it is predicting.

Edit. There seem to be a number of thought experiments wherein I have an irrational belief that I can more accuratly mentally model, like how I may behave if I thought that I was the King of England. Now I am wondering what about this specific problem is giving me trouble.

The difficulty I am having here is not so much that the stated nature of the problem is not real so much that it is asking one to assume they are irrational. With a .999999999c spaceship it is not irrational to assume one is in a trolley on a space ship if one is in a trolley on a space ship. There is not enough information in the Omega puzzle as it assumes you, the person it drops the boxes in front of, know that omega is predicting, but does not tell you how you know that. As the mental state 'knowing it is predicting' is fundamental to the puzzle, not knowing how one came to that conclusion asks you to be a magical thinker for the purpose of the puzzle. I believe that this may at least partially explain why there seems to be a lack of consensus.

I also am suspicious of the ambiguous nature of the word predict, but am having trouble phrasing the issue. Omega may be using astrology and happen to have been right each of 100 times, or be literally looking forward in time. Without knowing how can one make the best choice?

All that said taking just B is my plan, as with $1,000,000 I can afford to lose $1,000.

Sorry, I'm new here, I am having trouble with the Idea that anyone would consider taking both boxes in a real world situation. How would this puzzle be modeled differently, versus how would it look differently if it were Penn and Teller flying Omega?

If Penn and Teller were flying Omega then they would have been able to produce exactly the same results as seen, without violating causality or time travelling or perfectly predicting people by just cheating and emptying the box after you choose to take both.

Given that "it's cheating" is a significantly more rational idea than "it's smart enough to predict 100 people" in terms of simplicity and results seen, why not go with that as a rational reason to pick just box B? The only reason one would take both is if it proved it was not cheating, how it could do that without also convincing me of its predictive powers I don't know, and once convinced of is predictive powers I would have to take Box B.

So taking both boxes only makes sense if you know it is not cheating, and know it can be wrong. I notice I am confused, how can you both know it is not cheating, and not know that it is correct in it's prediction.

I think that the reason this puzzle begets irrationality is that one of the fundamental things you must do to parse the puzzle is irrational, that is 'believe that the machine is not cheating', given the alternatives and no further info.

I agree with the terms, for the sake of explanation by magical thinker I was thinking along the lines of young non science trained children, or people who have either no knowledge of or no interest in the scientific method. Ancient Greek philosophers could come under this label if they never experimented to test their ideas. The essence is that they theorise without testing their theory.

In terms of the task, my first idea was the marshmallow test from a Ted lecture, "make the highest tower you can that will support a marshmallow on top from dry spaghetti, a yard of string, and a yard of tape."

Essentially a situation where the results are clearly comparable, but the way to get the best result is hard to prove. So far triangles are the way to go, but there may be a better way that nobody has tried yet. If the task has a time limit, is it worth using scientific or bayesian principles to design the tower or is it better to just start taping some pasta.

Good point, I do not, but I find it strange that people, myself included, practice at enjoying something when there are plenty of things that are enjoyable from the start. Especially when starting an aquired taste is often quite uncomfortable. I salute the mind that looked at a tobacco plant, smoked it, coughed its lungs out, and then kept doing it till it felt good.

Why do people take the time to develop "aquired tastes". "That was an unpleasant experience", somehow becomes "I will keep doing it until I like it."

My guess is social conditioning, but then how did it become popular enough for that to be a factor?

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