Re: Pascal's Button

From: Nick Tarleton (
Date: Tue Apr 08 2008 - 06:33:59 MDT

On Tue, Apr 8, 2008 at 3:29 AM, Vladimir Nesov <> wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 8, 2008 at 6:04 AM, Nick Tarleton <> wrote:
> > It may be that there
> > is some way (say, a magic button hidden in the middle of the Bo÷tes
> > Void, hence the title) to allow 3^^^^3 (or any other very large but
> > low-algorithmic-complexity number) times as many happy posthumans to
> > exist than could ever exist in the universe without 'magic' - or, more
> > generally, for most utility functions there may exist 'magic' to
> > create much much more utility than would otherwise be possible. This
> > is extremely unlikely, but it seems doubtful that it would be unlikely
> > enough to have lower expected utility than the default course.
> Problem is that 3^^^3 payoff is a part of specific miracle hypothesis.
> Prior probability of magic needs to be chosen so that you'll be able
> to move it up to near-1 if it actually happens. As 3^^^3 payoff will
> take really long time to verify, you are allowed to be equally
> doubtful about the property of this specific magic to deliver this
> payoff, and so you can set equally low prior probability on it.

I'm afraid I don't follow. Probabilities of outcomes aren't discounted
by utility, and this seems to beg the question in assuming that it
will actually take so long to verify that the prior is on the order of

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