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mtaran comments on [Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young - Less Wrong

24 [deleted] 18 August 2012 03:17PM

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Comment author: mtaran 19 August 2012 01:46:43AM *  7 points [-]

There are a lot of things I'd like to say, but you have put forth a prediction

It's probably a scam

I would like to take up a bet with you on this ending up being a scam. This can be arbitrated by some prominent member of CI, Alcor, or Rudi Hoffman. I would win if an arbiter decides that the person who posted on Reddit was in fact diagnosed with cancer essentially as stated in her Reddit posts, and is in fact gathering money for a her own cryonics arrangements. If none of the proposed arbiters can vouch for the above within one month (through September 18), then you will win the bet.

What odds would you like on this, and what's the maximum amount of money you'd put on the line?

Comment author: gwern 19 August 2012 01:53:58AM *  6 points [-]

As I said in my other comment, I'm now giving 5-10% for scam. I'd be happy to take a 1:10 bet on the CI outcome risking no more than $100 on my part, but I think 1 month is much too tight; 1 January 2013 would be a better deadline with the bet short-circuiting on CI judgment.

Comment author: mtaran 19 August 2012 02:15:50AM 5 points [-]

Done. $100 from you vs $1000 from me. If you lose, you donate it to her fund. If I lose, I can send you the money or do with it what you wish.

Comment author: gwern 19 August 2012 02:27:03AM 5 points [-]

Wait, I'm not sure we're understanding each other. I thought I was putting up $100, and you'd put up $10; if she turned out to be a scam (as judged by CI), I lose the $100 to you - while if she turned out to be genuine (as judged by CI), you would lose the $10 to me.

Comment author: mtaran 19 August 2012 05:44:58AM 3 points [-]

Well I still accept, since now it's a much better deal for me!

Comment author: philh 19 August 2012 10:14:24AM 3 points [-]

Um, the way I'm reading this it looks like gwern is taking the position you were originally trying to take?

Comment author: gwern 19 August 2012 06:52:45PM *  2 points [-]

Yes, that's my take too... I'm not sure what mtaran is doing here - maybe he doesn't care at all about the odds or which side he's taking? I don't mind betting, but I do insist that - when it's for real sums of money like $100 - that my counterparty knows what he's agreeing to. And I'm not sure mtaran does.

Comment author: prase 20 August 2012 12:23:55AM 3 points [-]

For what it's worth, I too haven't understood what side you are taking. Usually people bet on outcomes which they think are more probable than their opponent thinks.

Comment author: niceguyanon 20 August 2012 08:20:06PM *  1 point [-]

I spent way too much time thinking about the same thing. It seems to me, if mtaran believes chance of scam is lower than Gwern's, they should both agree that Gwern take the larger payout for smaller chance of being correct about it being a scam.

For what it's worth I do not think that mtaran's original bet is was that great for Gwern to begin with. A $1,000 to $100 bet implies odds of scam is at 9.1%, however Gwern stated his probability is 5%-10% putting the odds at the higher end of Gwern's estimate. If Mtaran is truly confident he needs to offer at least $1,900 to $100 payout for as this will match Gwern's lowest percentage for being a scam (5%).

Comment author: mtaran 22 August 2012 04:41:18AM *  0 points [-]

Ok, I misread one of gwern's replies. My original intent was to extract money from the fact that gwern gave (from my vantage point) too high a probability of this being a scam.

Under my original version of the terms, if his P(scam) was .1:

  • he would expect to get $1000 .1 of the time
  • he would expect to lose $100 .9 of the time
  • yielding an expected value of $10

Under my original version of the terms, if his P(scam) was .05:

  • he would expect to get $1000 .05 of the time
  • he would expect to lose $100 .95 of the time
  • yielding an expected value of -$45

In the second case, he would of course not want to take that bet. I'd thus like to amend my suggested conditions to have gwern only put $52 at stake against my $1000. For any P(scam) > .05 this is a positive expected value, so I would expect it to have been satisfactory to gwern[19 August 2012 01:53:58AM].

Comment author: gwern 22 August 2012 04:26:09PM 1 point [-]

Alright then, I accept. The wager is thus:

  • on 1 January 2013, if CI confirms that she is really dying and has or is in the process of signing up with membership & life insurance, then I will pay you $52; if they confirm the opposite, confirm nothing, or she has made no progress, you will pay me $1000.
  • In case of a dispute, another LWer can adjudicate; I nominate Eliezer, Carl Shulman, Luke, or Yvain (I haven't asked but I doubt all would decline).
  • For me, paying with Paypal is most convenient, but if it isn't for you we can arrange something else (perhaps you'd prefer I pay the $52 to a third party or charity). I can accept Paypal or Bitcoin.
Comment author: Alicorn 22 August 2012 06:59:14PM 3 points [-]

she is really dying and has or is in the process of signing up with membership & life insurance

This isn't fair. She probably can't get life insurance with a terminal diagnosis. She's more likely to pay for the suspension outright.

Comment author: hankx7787 19 August 2012 05:37:37PM 0 points [-]

Genius, I should have thought of that ^_^