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Jonathan_Graehl comments on Rationality is Systematized Winning - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Jonathan_Graehl 03 April 2009 09:05:15PM 2 points [-]

Choosing what gives the "best chance of winning" is good advice for a two-valued utility function, but I'm also interested in reducing the severity of my loss under uncertainty and misfortune.

I guess "maximizing expected utility" isn't as sexy as "winning".

Comment author: timtyler 04 April 2009 08:05:34AM 2 points [-]

Indeed. Forget about "winning". It is not sexy if it is wrong.

Comment author: Elit 18 August 2014 07:55:33PM 1 point [-]

I don't think so. I take "wining" to be actualization of one's values, which encompasses minimizing loss.

Furthermore, I think it actually helps to make the terms "sexy", because I am a heuristic human; my brain is wired for narratives and motivated by drama and "coolness." Framing ideas as something Grand and Awesome makes them matter to me emotionally, makes them a part of my identity, and makes me more likely to apply them.

Similarly, there are certain worthwhile causes for which I fight. They ARE worth fighting for, but I'm deluding myself if I act as if I'm so morally superior that I support them only because the problems are so pressing that I couldn't possibly not do anything, that I have a duty to fulfill. That may be true, but it is also true that I disposed to be a fighter, and I am looking for a cause for which to fight. Knowing this, dramatizing the causes that actually do matter (as great battles for the fate of the human species) will motivate me to pursue them.

I have to be careful (as with anything), not to allow this sort of framing to distort my perception of the real, but I think as long as I know what I am doing, and I contain my self-manipulation to framing (and not denial of facts), I am served by it.

Comment author: JDM 07 June 2013 01:47:10AM 0 points [-]

I think you're defining "winning" too strictly. Sometimes a minor loss is still a win, if the alternative was a large one.

Comment author: timtyler 07 June 2013 10:18:48AM *  2 points [-]

Winning is a conventional dictionary word, though. You can't easily just redefine it without causing confusion. "Winning" and "maximising" have different definitions and connotations.

Comment author: JDM 07 June 2013 07:34:20PM 0 points [-]

The first definition from google - Be successful or victorious in (a contest or conflict).

This is no different than I or most people would define it, and I don't think it contradicts with how I used it.

Comment author: Nick_Tarleton 04 April 2009 08:14:54AM 1 point [-]

"Winning" refers to outcomes, not to actions, so it should just be "maximizing utility".