[ExI] Colours

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sun May 5 10:36:41 UTC 2013

On 05/05/2013 10:46, BillK wrote:
> This sounds too academic to me. Rather like the neat efficient market 
> theory. It assumes that people know what they are doing! :) Immediate 
> fail! 

Well, this is where critical thinking comes in. Note my "revealed 
preferences" bit: just because the ladies tell you they like something 
doesn't mean they actually like it: it is often better to do little 
experiments to see if they actually are willing do a little effort to 
get that something. And they might be too polite to tell you that your 
garish plaid suit is over the top.

In more theoretical terms (I am in academia, after all): peoples real 
preferences are some kind of probability distriution. When asked, they 
will reveal a different one, with varying levels of mutual information 
to the real one. If you watch their (sometimes irrational) behavior they 
will reveal a third one. Asking other people and so on will also give 
you information, mixed with bias and noise. Using this data you can 
infer their original one to some degree. Hmm... I will have to do the 
math on this, but it seems that one could make a mutual information 
theory of inference on advice...

> Similarly, fashion victims are trying to dress in the latest fashions, 
> not particularly to impress any group. As you say, it also depends on 
> fitting in to the environment you are going to. People like to 'join 
> in' and be one of the crowd. (herd instinct, again).

Would fashion victims alone on desert islands dress in new fashions 
every season, even though there is nobody there to see them?

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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