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CarlShulman comments on 9/26 is Petrov Day - Less Wrong

101 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 26 September 2007 04:14PM

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Comment author: CarlShulman 26 September 2007 07:06:36PM 7 points [-]

"I'm tempted to donate, to honor his deed." Presumably he has received some cash from the documentary, but the incentives created by his later life (and its publication) are horribly perverse.

It seems that this is right up the alley of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, which is supported by Warren Buffett and other donors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Threat_Initiative You could write a letter to them discussing the incentives and suggesting a prize for averting mega-disasters or existential risk, nominating Petrov for the first award.

Comment author: TruePath 14 November 2014 12:29:42PM 1 point [-]

Given that he would be dead otherwise (and the strong human survival drive) I don't see how the incentives are perverse.

I mean to make the incentives positive for pushing the button requires some really strong conditioning or torture threats.

Comment author: Jiro 14 November 2014 04:15:33PM 1 point [-]

Saying "Given that he would be dead otherwise" carries the implication "if doing X leaves you dead, and you value your own existence, you should not do X", which is false in the case of precommitment. Being the type of person who is willing to kill yourself may increase your chance of staying alive, even though you are worse off when looking only at the branch where you got unlucky and the precommitment forced you to follow through.