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AshwinV comments on Justified Expectation of Pleasant Surprises - Less Wrong

10 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 January 2009 07:26AM

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Comment author: AshwinV 10 February 2014 05:52:14AM *  0 points [-]

I ask you to contemplate—not just which world you might prefer to live in—but how much you might want to live in the second world, rather than the first. I would even say that the second world seems more alive; when I imagine living there, my imagined will to live feels stronger. I've got to stay alive to find out what happens next, right?

I disagree. However, I may very well be misunderstanding. Given that both worlds are equally novel, (and assuming that novelty/complexity is not more constrained in these imaginary worlds than in our real world), wouldnt it be better that we know as much as we possibly can about what the 'adults' know, so that we can spend more time/effort on higher level "fun" things?

As you've so brilliantly said it yourself in HPMOR (I forget exactly which chapter), Harry once convinces Hermione that if she knows what she is going to be thinking in the future, she might as well think it right away. (I understand that it may sound like I'm confusing my knowledge in the real world, with my supposed lack of knowledge in imaginary world 2), but isn't it better to find out something immediately, than wait to find out?

On the flip side, there are major downsides to growing up as well. I certainly would want to live in Imaginary World 1, where the chances of me being blind sided are significantly less. I would like to be told about serial killers roaming the street, and not wait to find out the hard way. I would like to be told about STDs, before I go on my first date.

I don't believe that in either of these worlds, we actually considered a constraint on the amount of novelty there was, and this may just be a personal preference, but I prefer incremental improvements with no major downfalls over sudden "surprises" and correspondingly negative "shocks".

my imagined will to live feels stronger

Also, wouldnt this qualify as a case of generalising from fictional evidence? Of course, there might be some gross conceptual error that I've made in this argument and would gladly appreciate a clarification.