From: George Dvorsky (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Jan 27 2006 - 13:32:56 MST
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> This question is philosophically interesting, in that the given
> sequence of heads was not actually generated by a fair coin, but by an
> author who was deliberately choosing heads. I think it is legitimate
> to refuse to answer questions predicated on large improbabilities
> unless and until the scenario comes up in real life.
> Given that a fair coin is flipped 50 times and comes up
> what would you guess as your odds of getting tails next round?
> The answer, of course is:
> On the given hypothesis, this scenario ain't gonna happen.
Eliezer, refusal to answer the question on the grounds that "this
scenario ain't gonna happen" seems strange to me. Extreme improbability
does not equate to impossibility, and given that we likely live in an
infinite universe such a scenario must play itself out for some
observers. Yes, you're right in suggesting that it's highly unlikely
that such a scenario will be witnessed by the vast majority of
observers, but that does not preclude its occurrence outright, and thus
the question should be confronted.
On a related note, the odds of our surviving the Singularity is likely
akin to the coin flipping scenario offered above. Would you argue that
we shouldn't anticipate our surviving the Singularity due to its gross
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