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From: George Levy <GLevy.domain.name.hidden>

Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 21:02:16 -0800

Wei Dai wrote:

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*>
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*> The thing is, we need a decision theory, otherwise it's not clear what
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*> predictions mean. To be cute about it, I could say that without a decision
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*> theory, a prediction is no more than a number (probability) attached to a
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*> statement, devoid of other meaning. Once you think in terms of decision
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*> theory, it seems that measure only has meaning if you give it meaning by
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*> making it part of your utility function.
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Wei, you have been asking about a decision theory for a long time.

It seems to me that if utility function is defined as your own

probability (or possibly measure) of existence then all decision process

becomes based on conditional probability given your own existence. Your

decision theory is just based on conditional probabilities. Most of the

time you assume that the probability of the continuation of your own

existence is one. In these cases the conditional probability approach

reverts to plain probability.

Thus if you consider your own measure only, the probability that (you

continue living AND that (you shoot yourself if you don't win the

lottery) given that (you continue living) is one... and leading a life

of leisure and quantum suicide are justified; working overtime is not.

On the other hand, if you consider the measure of, and utility to your

family, the probability that (their measure and utility is not

decreased) AND that (you shoot yourself if you don't win the lottery) is

definitely smaller than one... and you should buy a life insurance and

work overtime to make the payments. Leading a life of leisure is not

justified. So depending on the point of view you reach different and

sometimes opposite results.

I have been superficially following your discussion with Juergens, Hal

and Russell. I assume that by "prior" you mean prior probability

distribution of universal states as defined by some universal algorithm

or machine. It seems to me that such distributions are totally

irrelevent because what actually matters TO AN OBSERVER is the specific

subsets of disconnected state vectors necessary to make that OBSERVER

conscious. The state vector in that subset could be widely separated and

therefore not at all related or ordered according to the originating

prior. Their ordering and/or relationship to each other depends on the

physical and mental processes governing that OBSERVER consciousness. The

linkage from state vector to state vector that gives rise to

consciousness is purely subjective in a relativistic way to the

observer.

George

Received on Fri Dec 21 2001 - 21:04:39 PST

Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 21:02:16 -0800

Wei Dai wrote:

Wei, you have been asking about a decision theory for a long time.

It seems to me that if utility function is defined as your own

probability (or possibly measure) of existence then all decision process

becomes based on conditional probability given your own existence. Your

decision theory is just based on conditional probabilities. Most of the

time you assume that the probability of the continuation of your own

existence is one. In these cases the conditional probability approach

reverts to plain probability.

Thus if you consider your own measure only, the probability that (you

continue living AND that (you shoot yourself if you don't win the

lottery) given that (you continue living) is one... and leading a life

of leisure and quantum suicide are justified; working overtime is not.

On the other hand, if you consider the measure of, and utility to your

family, the probability that (their measure and utility is not

decreased) AND that (you shoot yourself if you don't win the lottery) is

definitely smaller than one... and you should buy a life insurance and

work overtime to make the payments. Leading a life of leisure is not

justified. So depending on the point of view you reach different and

sometimes opposite results.

I have been superficially following your discussion with Juergens, Hal

and Russell. I assume that by "prior" you mean prior probability

distribution of universal states as defined by some universal algorithm

or machine. It seems to me that such distributions are totally

irrelevent because what actually matters TO AN OBSERVER is the specific

subsets of disconnected state vectors necessary to make that OBSERVER

conscious. The state vector in that subset could be widely separated and

therefore not at all related or ordered according to the originating

prior. Their ordering and/or relationship to each other depends on the

physical and mental processes governing that OBSERVER consciousness. The

linkage from state vector to state vector that gives rise to

consciousness is purely subjective in a relativistic way to the

observer.

George

Received on Fri Dec 21 2001 - 21:04:39 PST

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