Re: [sl4] Convergence of Expected Utilities with Algorithmic Probability Distributions - uh?

From: Joshua Fox (
Date: Thu Dec 04 2008 - 04:05:21 MST

Commonly people feel that "every human is equally valuable" (in terms of
moral utility).
Thus, the utility of your actions scales linearly with the number of human
lives you save, or the number of humans you benefit (with constant benefit
per person).

However, the question is whether this intuition continues, so that the limit
of the utility function, as the number of humans approaches infinity, is

In fact, De Blanc says (to simplify greatly), your utility function must be
bounded from above.

See this related piece by Eliezer, which takes another perspective on
utility for massive numbers of people (although here discussing specific
finite numbers)

This is also related:

"Infinite set atheism" is another related concept
Various moral calculations break down as you take the limit to infinity.


On Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 9:03 AM, Stefan Pernar <>wrote:

> About two months back Peter De Blanc posted a paper called "Convergence of
> Expected Utilities with Algorithmic Probability Distributions<>."
> The Singularity Institute blogged about it but I cannot for the life of me
> figure out what the significance of the paper is.
> Would anyone mind shedding some light on this apparently important paper
> for me so I can put it in context?
> Much appreciated.
> Stefan
> --
> Stefan Pernar
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