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Zubon2 comments on Torture vs. Dust Specks - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Zubon2 30 October 2007 12:30:32PM 7 points [-]

Kyle wins.

Absent using this to guarantee the nigh-endless survival of the species, my math suggests that 3^^^3 beats anything. The problem is that the speck rounds down to 0 for me.

There is some minimum threshold below which it just does not count, like saying, "What if we exposed 3^^^3 people to radiation equivalent to standing in front of a microwave for 10 seconds? Would that be worse than nuking a few cities?" I suppose there must be someone in 3^^^3 who is marginally close enough to cancer for that to matter, but no, that rounds down to 0. For the speck, I am going to blink in the next few seconds anyway.

That in no way addresses the intent of the question, since we can just increase it to the minimum that does not round down. Being poked with a blunt stick? Still hard, since I think every human being would take one stick over some poor soul being tortured. Do I really get to be the moral agent for 3^^^3 people?

As others have said, our moral intuitions do not work with 3^^^3.

Comment author: ThoughtSpeed 19 June 2017 02:11:54AM 1 point [-]

There is some minimum threshold below which it just does not count, like saying, "What if we exposed 3^^^3 people to radiation equivalent to standing in front of a microwave for 10 seconds? Would that be worse than nuking a few cities?" I suppose there must be someone in 3^^^3 who is marginally close enough to cancer for that to matter, but no, that rounds down to 0.

Why would that round down to zero? That's a lot more people having cancer than getting nuked!

(It would be hilarious if Zubon could actually respond after almost a decade)