Acausal trade: being unusual discussion post by Stuart Armstrong 190 days ago | discuss A putative new idea for AI control; index here. It’s important to remember that, in acausal trade, the other agents truly know nothing about you. They have some statistical image about the initial conditions throughout the universe, the probability of life evolving, they’ve maybe run some simulations: but they truly have nothing beyond that. Nor do you have any idea about them. What that means is that if you are a particularly unusual entity, then no causally disconnected agent knows that. You can’t update them on the fact that you exist, and that they should therefore trade more with you. (Or maybe you’re an agent of type $$A_1$$ and agents of type $$A_1$$ are either almost infinitely rare (with high probability) or somewhat more common, independently of other agent types. Based on the fact that you exist, you can update towards the fact that $$A_1$$ are more common - but only $$A_1$$-type agents will be able to do this update, so those are the only agents you’ll have much trade with.) So unusual agents are less likely to benefit from acausal trade, but they’re also less pressured to follow it. Suppose that there are $$\Omega$$ humans, all maximising the same $$u$$, and one will be designated utility-dictator. By shear coincidence, your decision theory is disconnected from that of the rest of the humans, and you’ve been designated utility dictator. Any causally separated agent doesn’t know this, and so you can reach your decision while making an $$1/\Omega$$ difference to how they deal with humanity. In many cases, it can be rational to simply defect from acausal trade entirely. If you have a different utility function from the other humans, all the more reason to defect, because you get almost no benefit from cooperation. Of course, a sensible human community will resolve its internal differences before designating a utility-dictator. And the community can’t plan to benefit from this loophole, since that would mean you being designated is not so unlikely after all. Things might be different if you think you might be in a simulation, but unusual agents aren’t very informative in simulations either. Seeing all the other potential barriers and difficulties with acausal trade, it possible, if every existing agent is unusual enough and have distinct enough utilities, that no acausal trade will happen at all.

### NEW DISCUSSION POSTS

Indeed there is some kind of
 by Vadim Kosoy on Catastrophe Mitigation Using DRL | 0 likes

Very nice. I wonder whether
 by Vadim Kosoy on Hyperreal Brouwer | 0 likes

Freezing the reward seems
 by Vadim Kosoy on Resolving human inconsistency in a simple model | 0 likes

Unfortunately, it's not just
 by Vadim Kosoy on Catastrophe Mitigation Using DRL | 0 likes

>We can solve the problem in
 by Wei Dai on The Happy Dance Problem | 1 like

Maybe it's just my browser,
 by Gordon Worley III on Catastrophe Mitigation Using DRL | 2 likes

At present, I think the main
 by Abram Demski on Looking for Recommendations RE UDT vs. bounded com... | 0 likes

In the first round I'm
 by Paul Christiano on Funding opportunity for AI alignment research | 0 likes

Fine with it being shared
 by Paul Christiano on Funding opportunity for AI alignment research | 0 likes

I think the point I was
 by Abram Demski on Predictable Exploration | 0 likes

(also x-posted from
 by Sören Mindermann on The Three Levels of Goodhart's Curse | 0 likes

(x-posted from Arbital ==>
 by Sören Mindermann on The Three Levels of Goodhart's Curse | 0 likes

>If the other players can see
 by Stuart Armstrong on Predictable Exploration | 0 likes