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James_Miller comments on Rationality is Systematized Winning - Less Wrong

48 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 03 April 2009 02:41PM

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Comment author: James_Miller 03 April 2009 07:12:53PM 4 points [-]

You are playing chicken with your irrational twin. Both of you would rather survive than win. Your twin, however, doesn't understand that it's possible to die when playing chicken. In the game your twin both survives and wins whereas you survive but lose.

Comment author: Aurini 03 April 2009 08:06:39PM *  1 point [-]

Then you murder the twin prior to the game of chicken, and fake his suicide. Or you intimidate the twin, using your advanced rational skills to determine how exactly to best fill them with fear and doubt.

But before murdering or risking an uncertain intimidation feint, there's another question you need to ask yourself. How certain are you that the twin is irrational? The Cold War was (probably) a perceptual error; neither side realized that they were in a prisoners dilemma, they both assumed that the other side preferred "unbalanced armament" over "mutual armament" over "mutual disarmament;" in reality, the last two should have been switched.

Worst case scenario? You die playing chicken, because the stakes were worth it. The Rational path isn't always nice.

(There are some ethical premises implicit in this argument, premises which I plan to argue are natural derivatives from Game Theory... but I'm still working on that article.)

Comment author: rwallace 03 April 2009 07:21:48PM 0 points [-]

My answer to that one is that I don't play chicken in the first place unless the stake is something I'm prepared to die for.

Comment author: James_Miller 03 April 2009 07:27:07PM 5 points [-]

There are lots of chicken like games that don't involve death. For example, your boss wants some task done and either you or a co-worker can do it. The worst outcome for both you and the co-worker is for the task to not get done. The best is for the other person to do the task.

Comment author: rwallace 03 April 2009 07:30:37PM 2 points [-]

My answer still applies - I'm not going to make a song and dance about who does it, unless the other guy has been systematically not pulling his weight and it's got to the point where that matters more to me than this task getting done.