Re: Why playing it safe is the most dangerous thing

From: Peter de Blanc (
Date: Fri Feb 24 2006 - 14:00:46 MST

On Fri, 2006-02-24 at 12:33 -0500, Ben Goertzel wrote:
> But really, all these "null hypotheses" are just BS, right? I guess
> we all understand that....
> To pick a single counterargument to your argument: If the Singularity
> is totally opaque to us, then why should we assume that probability
> theory (which is ultimately an abstraction from human experience,
> which is very limited in the grand sense) applies to the
> post-Singularity world?

You're trying to solve a decision problem: whether to try for FAI or
rush for the Singularity. In order to solve a decision problem, you need
to apply a decision theory. The most powerful and general decision
theory we have is based on Bayesian Probability Theory.

Maybe you think that BPT-based decision theory is imperfect, but your
Indifference-based decision theory is weaker and less powerful than
Bayesian decision theory. If you're not confident enough in Bayesian
decision theory to solve this problem, then you need to develop a
stronger decision theory, not a weaker one!

> As a side point: After all, the general applicability of classical
> probability theory is *already* in question even within the human
> world, via Youssef's quantum probability theory...

When I talk about Probability Theory, I mean in the Bayesian sense. If
there's a conflict between QM and Bayesian Probability Theory, you'll
have to point it out to me.

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