No, rational agents are NOT "entirely predictable". And the definition of a 
'rational agent' is not someone who always makes the "best choice".

First of all there is no such thing as "a best choice", because best choice 
is a judgement that depends on the value scale of some observer, and it 
also depends on what time frame the effects of the choice are considered 
in. A good choice in the sense of immediate favorable consequences can have 
disastrous unforeseen consequences down the line. There is no such thing as 
a "best choice" because causality is an enormously complex interconnected 
network rather than just A causes B. There are always a huge network of 
causes leading up to every decision, and huge ongoing network of effects.

And rational agents are not entirely predictable for several reasons. One, 
it is impossible for any agent to know everything about everything, and all 
knowledge is observer conditioned anyway (it's different for every 

Second, there are random processes occurring internally to every agent 
unknowable and unpredictable to any outside observer that are involved in 
reaching decisions. Third it is impossible for any outside observer to 
entirely know the internal valuation process by which an agent internally 
calculates its actions.

Third, agents make decisions not on the basis of a common agreed upon 
external reality, but on the basis of their private internal mental models 
of that reality, and these are always private to the particular agent, and 
differ widely among agents.

So rational agents are not necessarily predictable, and of course neither 
are irrational agents either.

Your statements are based on an extremely simplistic view of reality is 
which everything is deterministic, and everything is known, and there is 
some absolute notion of best choice. Not one of these 3 assumptions is 
actually true...


On Sunday, January 19, 2014 12:39:27 AM UTC-5, Russell Standish wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 10:40:51PM -0600, Jason Resch wrote: 
> > On Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 6:33 PM, Russell Standish 
> > <<javascript:>>wrote: 
> > 
> > > On Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 04:08:08PM -0800, Edgar L. Owen wrote: 
> > > > Russell, 
> > > > 
> > > > PS: On second thought maybe we don't agree completely. Though free 
> will 
> > > is 
> > > > quantum random based (we agree on that), it doesn't mean that it is 
> > > > "irrational". 
> > > > 
> > > > If human actions and the actions of other biological organisms 
> weren't 
> > > > basically rational they couldn't function or survive in the real 
> actual 
> > > > world they live in.... 
> > > 
> > > That is not true. Read up on the concept of Machiavellian 
> > > Intelligence. A modicum of irrationality is just what it takes to get 
> > > ahead in the world, it makes one less predictable to one's 
> competitors. 
> > > 
> > 
> > But to be "effectively unpredictible", one doesn't need a truly random 
> > source, rather only a small number of bits that remain undisclosed to 
> > outsiders. 
> > 
> That is true, but the irrational/rational distinction doesn't lie in 
> the same place as deterministic/indeterministic. 
> Rational agents are entirely deterministic and predictable, but it is 
> certainly possible to get deterministic irrational agents, and even as 
> you argue, deterministic unpredictable agents. 
> -- 
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
> Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile) 
> Principal, High Performance Coders 
> Visiting Professor of Mathematics<javascript:> 
> University of New South Wales 
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

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