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Eliezer_Yudkowsky comments on The curse of identity - Less Wrong

125 Post author: Kaj_Sotala 17 November 2011 07:28PM

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 17 November 2011 07:33:21PM 16 points [-]

Comparative advantage is eating the sort of food that most greatly increases your fish size in the pond whose size implies the greatest marginal payoff for adding fish of the size you can become if you enter that pond.

Comment author: [deleted] 17 November 2011 08:54:03PM *  0 points [-]

When I combine what you said with:

I don't try to not seek status, I try to channel my status-seeking drive into things that will actually be useful.

I think I may have dissolved my confusion. You could separate it out into two pieces:

1: Comparative advantage - An Optimization Process

2: Things that will actually be useful. - Being Friendly

My confused feeling seems like it might have been from setting these things as if they were opposed and you could only maximize one.

But if you figure the two are multiplied together, it makes much more sense to attempt to balance both correctly, to maximize the result.

Utility functions aren't quite as simple as multiplying two numbers, but the basic idea of maximizing the product of comparative advantage and usefulness sounds a lot more reasonable in my head then maximizing one or the other.