Poker Machine Pre-commitment Is Bunk

In a fit of righteousness, Australian politicians are set to force the club industry into a corner by instituting a precommitment limit to their poker machines.

While the “hows” have not been fully ironed out the “whys” are out in the open. In a nutshell a few “holier than thous” are looking out for the unfortunates.

All well and good, but there are grand issues with this:

  • Why are the few dictating to the many. This is not representative of the majority as it should be in an elected system. Why do one or two politicians wield so much power?
  • Do we really need to have our gambling habits recorded. Pre-commitment would require tracking via some sort of identity card. There are issues of privacy. Should we also submit to the government our drinking and smoking habits?
  • Will the club itself be forced to carry the cost of upgrading poker machines and maintaining the tracking systems? Clubs in Victoria have already paid exorbitant sums for their poker machines and this could be too much for some clubs.
  • Will the casinos be enforcing pre-commitment? What about the roulette tables? Although a large proportion of problem gamblers are losing too much to poker machines there is an undeniable contribution made by alternative gambling - casinos, online, the tote.
  • Are we not responsible for ourselves? If the government is forced to hold our hands when it comes to gambling surely they should force us to pre-commit to exercise, maximum calorie intakes and booze quotas.

In a nutshell this pre-commitment cannot occur. It violates our free will. It will cost jobs and increase government expense. It will send gamblers to online sites that cannot be made safe. Let’s all get a little real.

apsoy  asked:

So is a rationalist just someone who's rational? I mean, doesn't everyone believe that they are rational. And isn't rationality just logic. A logical person can play the nuclear game of chicken destroying the world. At least according to game theory.

Honestly at this point ‘rationalist’ is more of an anthropological term. The really short version is that for a while @yudkowsky had a blog that was in equal measure insight porn and actual insight and engagingly explained pop science and entertainingly imagined specific-sort-of-utopian-aesthetic, and the content resonated with lots of people (including me!) and for a while more content was produced in that vein and then the people who’d been part of that community scattered to the internet winds. 

I think most everyone I see calling themself a rationalist these days means ‘influenced by my agreement or disagreement or engagement with Eliezer’s ideas and the community that popped up around them’, and lots of the cool kids are calling themselves post-rationalist or rationalist-adjacent or nouveau-rationalist (that’s a lie, I’ve never heard of anyone calling themselves nouveau-rationalist, but I bet it’s just a matter of time). What people don’t mean is, like, ‘a person who, unlike everyone else, is rational’ or ‘a Vulcan’. Often you can notice a rationalist by fondness for putting numbers and making bets on things, a tendency to debate everything endlessly, and a lot of concern with having more accurate beliefs about the world.

(Most of my engagement with game theory and precommitments to retaliate has been in the form of fiction. People tend to interpret my fiction as warning not to do that thing.)