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Sebastian_Hagen2 comments on Torture vs. Dust Specks - Less Wrong

41 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 30 October 2007 02:50AM

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Comment author: Sebastian_Hagen2 30 October 2007 10:26:46AM 8 points [-]

J Thomas: You're neglecting that there might be some positive-side effects for a small fraction of the people affected by the dust specks; in fact, there is some precedent for this. The resulting average effect is hard to estimate, but (considering that dust specks seem to mostly add entropy to the thought processes of the affected persons), would likely still be negative.

Copying g's assumption that higher-order effects should be neglected, I'd take the torture. For each of the 3^^^3 persons, the choice looks as follows:

1.) A 1/(3^^^3) chance of being tortured for 50 years. 2.) A 1 chance of getting a dust speck.

I'd definitely prefer the former. That probability is so close to zero that it vastly outweighs the differences in disutility.