To mark Halloween, I hereby endorse mild regulation to discourage the summoning of dark supernatural powers which might destroy us all. Seriously. Anders Sandberg: The San Marino scale for assessing the significance of messages that could be received by aliens … is a scale from 1 to 10 based on how easily detected the transmission is, and how much information about humanity it contains. Past deliberate transmissions have managed to reach 8, ‘far reaching’. Even planetary radar manages to reach a level of 6, ‘noteworthy’.
A market system is fairly good at finding (capitalist) valuations, given that enough data exists between the participants to resolve a probability curve to a statistically significant degree. Real-world contracts almost universally accept that this is not true of events far enough down the tail. You're essentially advocating that there be a market in force majeure - and I can't think of a single major investor who wouldn't laugh that idea out of the building.
Seems like a waste of time since virtually all similar affairs have had not just non-world-ending results, but no notable results whatsoever. Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. If you disagree, I propose people be discouraged from exercise because each calorie of consumption risks a chain reaction of heat energy that will melt the Earth and kill all inhabitants. You should start collecting additional taxes from gyms immediately, and I humbly accept a portion of the proceeds for coming up with the idea and warning you of the threat.
I'm a big believer in republic; that is, that all people everywhere cannot individually be well-versed in every issue everywhere at all times. Representation is necessary in the civilized world, and unless your weighed average gives thousands of times the weight to astronomers, mathematicians, and physicists - that is, one that more or less obliterates the lay man's opinion - you'd have an uphill battle getting me to respect the odds you came up with.
I love a good bit of sarcasm.
"Well if these dark powers respected property rights..."
I had always wondered why vampires couldn't enter a house uninvited. Now I know.
Well if these dark powers respected property rights, gaining money by selling the use of their great powers, and then buying what they want to satisfy their values I don't share, I wouldn't have much to complain about. Those who share my values would on net be richer and better off.
Belief in the Invisible Tentacle of Sleeping Markets?
Surely this is related to the Mutant 20-Tentacled Octopus of Fail which makes up the mortgage market these days.
I should also add that I am not concerned about values erosion from having the world ruled by Cthulhu - so long as there's more than one Great Old One consuming our dreams and flesh, market economics will take over and that's what's really important to me.
I think you're overlooking the possible benefits of summoning eldritch powers from long-sealed dimensions into our own world. Known benefits of dark rituals include superior strength and stamina, longevity, immortality, and all sorts of economically useful magical powers. If we refrain from contacting the Unspeakable Ones for fear of "destroying the world" - which, despite its many appearances in fiction, has oddly enough yet to happen, and frankly I feel that those who speculate about this are just immature - then what benefits do we forgo?
As a human, I'm siding with the humans. Any universe without us is worse off than any universe with us, from my point of view. Personally, I discount the preferences of aliens.
Now, if I am given the opportunity to transform my consciousness into another being, then the entire space of possible beings I could emulate becomes the group I will attempt to maximize utility for. Em formulation, metamorphosis, transcendence, holy transmogrification, zombie infection, pod people, polymorph spells, the vampiric embrace--any and all such possibilities will affect my personal calculation of the universe with maximum utility.
Taxman, read your LOTR. Sauron DOES receive a payoff should supernatural beings arrive on and harm the earth.
You seem to be presaging some possibly interesting results relating the long-odds limits of prediction markets to the risk free rate of return. Comparing high interest rates to low interest rates, high rates rationally lead to choosing earlier payoffs than later ones. Perhaps a similar effect exists in prediction markets, where the risk free rate puts an effective floor on the length of odds to which the market will be effective.
Market Odds keep lottery ticket sellers rolling in money. Has any work been done to see if market odds systematically fail when the true odds get very long?
Fortunately, there already exist standardized criteria. For example, see: http://www.youtube.com/watc...
"Many of you talk as if one would have to go through a phone-book length list of potential disasters before one came to this one. But surely this is one of the top ten disasters of concern in fiction, and would be similarly high in surveys." - Robin Hanson
This isn't a single disaster. This is a category of disasters. The number of different rituals that could potentially lead to dark lords destroying the planet is large enough that it may as well be infinite. Determining a set of criteria to define what is a ritual to summon evil demons and what is simply praying to a loving God using market forces is a big hurdle to overcome.
I guess the obvious mild and non-infringing approach would be to have an 'unsafe magick tax' on ritual supplies unless you show that you are a certified white magician?
Maybe one could also use markets to do the certification: people bet on different kinds of magicians whether they will cause trouble or not, and over time this would converge to a sensible certification (problem: in real life most trouble caused by magicians seem to be due to their personality and beliefs, rather than their putative magical powers.)
From a rationalist perspective it seems sensible to have information markets about supernatural and religious predictions since it is very likely going to transfer money to the rational people from naive believers. However, "true believers" are unlikely to regard information markets as appropriate, since they consider their belief to be something different than just a probability estimate. So we would likely get a bit of a biasing effect.
I just added to the post.