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orthonormal comments on Value Uncertainty and the Singleton Scenario - Less Wrong

8 Post author: Wei_Dai 24 January 2010 05:03AM

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Comment author: orthonormal 24 January 2010 07:48:33PM *  3 points [-]

You seem to be making this a more complicated example than it has to be. All that has to be done to show the difference between these resolution strategies is to have the following setup:

You're unsure of how your values treat the utility of an action A; you give 99.9% odds that it has expected utility 0 and 0.1% odds that it has utility 1,000,000. You're sure that an action B has expected utility 1 by your values.

But in this format, it looks silly to do anything but treat it as the simple expected-utility problem a la Robin. Is this somehow not a correct version of your dilemma, or is there some reason we should be horrified at the result of choosing A?

Comment author: Wei_Dai 25 January 2010 02:54:54AM 1 point [-]

The reason for the complexity in my example was to make it relevant to the real-world decision of whether we should concentrate our attention and efforts on the singleton scenario or not. Should I have introduced a simple example first, and then the more complex example separately?

But in this format, it looks silly to do anything but treat it as the simple expected-utility problem a la Robin. Is this somehow not a correct version of your dilemma, or is there some reason we should be horrified at the result of choosing A?

Not exactly horrified, but it's not quite intuitive either, especially if you make the numbers more extreme, like in my example.