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mitchell_porter2 comments on Pascal's Mugging: Tiny Probabilities of Vast Utilities - Less Wrong

39 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 19 October 2007 11:37PM

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Comment author: mitchell_porter2 20 October 2007 01:16:49AM 6 points [-]

This is an instance of the general problem of attaching a probability to matrix scenarios. And you can pascal-mug yourself, without anyone showing up to assert or demand anything - just think: what if things are set up so that whether I do, or do not do, something, determines whether those 3^^^^3 people will be created and destroyed? It's just as possible as the situation in which a messenger from Outside shows up and tells you so.

The obvious way to attach probabilities to matrix scenarios is to have a unified notion of possible world capacious enough to encompass both matrix worlds and worlds in which your current experiences are veridical; and then you look at relative frequencies or portions of world-measure for the two classes of possibility. For example, you could assume the correctness of our current physics across all possible worlds, and then make a Drake/Bostrom-like guesstimate of the frequency of matrix construction across all those universes, and of the "demography" and "political character" of those simulations. Garbage in, garbage out; but you really can get an answer if you make enough assumptions. In that regard, it is not too different to any other complicated decision made against a background of profound uncertainty.