Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Vaniver comments on Lotteries: A Waste of Hope - Less Wrong

28 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 13 April 2007 05:36AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (68)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: Blackened 12 July 2012 08:22:45PM 1 point [-]

However, we assume that the social interaction itself isn't enough to justify my ticket. Let's say it's just a warm greeting and a short small talk with someone I find sympathetic, but probably won't play a decisive role in my future. And I'm buying the ticket, because I rationally know that I might win the lottery (despite that I find it so unlikely that I don't actually expect it). I have only included the social interaction to offset the wasted time.

Comment author: Vaniver 12 July 2012 08:42:55PM 1 point [-]

Ah, now I see what you're trying to get at.

You might be interested in reading about VNM utility maximization and prospect theory.

The first basically says "let's come up with an imaginary score that we give to potential futures, such that that we can do expected value calculations over probabilistic gambles between those potential futures, and the EV calculation will be correct by definition." This is generally recommended as a good way to make decisions (at least, it clarifies what the difficult parts are- but beyond focusing your attention may not make them easier).

The second asks how various descriptive biases coexist, and comes up with a model that has three deviations from risk-neutral VNM but fits how many humans actually behave.