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Vladimir_Nesov comments on The Aliens have Landed! - Less Wrong

33 Post author: TimFreeman 19 May 2011 05:09PM

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Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 20 May 2011 01:20:51AM *  22 points [-]

The relevant question is, how does surrendering, or not surrendering, control the probability of the ultimatum having been given? If it doesn't, we should surrender. If the aliens sufficiently more likely wouldn't make the ultimatum if we wouldn't surrender if they did, we shouldn't surrender. Furthermore, we should look for third options whose choosing could also control aliens' actions.

Since this information is not given in the story, and the only thing we can go on is anthropomorphic intuition that we shouldn't give in to blackmail (since having the property to not give in really does control the probability of getting blackmailed by humans), the correct answer wasn't suggested, which defeats part of the appeal of a puzzle like this and can wreak some unnecessary memetic hazard.

For the same reason, focusing on whether one "cares about simulations" in this context is misleading, a false dilemma, since this is not the most relevant consideration. It's like asking whether you should cross a road on prime-numbered minutes, and pointing out examples of people who did cross the road on prime-numbered minutes and were run over, instead of focusing on how you should respond to traffic lights.