Re: poly: Why interest rates may stay low

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Wed Mar 04 1998 - 11:04:10 PST

Curt Adams explains:
>>You've completely lost me here. What is a "rational discount rate"?
>In this context, a discount rate that accounts for the probability
>of death in the appropriate time frame. ...

I had in mind a different meaning of "discount rate". How much you
value a dollar today vs. a dollar in a year depends on how much you'd
value a dollar a year from now if you were alive, and what the chances
are you'll be alive. The issue that you might die can be factored out
via proper use of annuities, so that you are broke if you die. Once
you've done this, what remains is the tradeoff between dollars today
and next year, assuming you're alive. This is the discount rate I've
been talking about.

>>How can we "play with temporal perceptions" of uploads, other than
>>by running them faster or slower?
>... Just alter the connections between the perception and the outcome
>discount rate. Alternatively, you might set the particular perceptions
>responsible for the discount rate to a level given a more rational
>In other words, I don't see that the entire upload has to run at
>the same speed, nor that we will be completely unable to alter
>the upload in any way to adjust for its accelerated speed. If
>you can't adjust for the timing change in any way, the upload
>wouldn't even be able to play catch.

I think you're presuming that discount rates are set in some modular
component that we can identify, and run at a different speed without
messing up the whole works. The modules of arms and eyes whose
time-constants one would need to keep in synch with a speed-up mind are
in fact relatively modular systems that we understand how to speed up.
The "time-constant" module, however is much much more speculative.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Wed Mar 4 19:07:54 1998

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