On Sun, Jan 19, 2014 at 01:56:47PM -0800, meekerdb wrote:
> On 1/18/2014 9:41 PM, Russell Standish wrote:
> >No, I'm not. Rational agents are entirely predictable. They always
> >choose the best course of action, or fail to make a choice at
> >all ("it does not compute!"). They cannot behave unpredictably.
> 
> Why not.  Not having one's behavior predictable by others is often
> the best course of action. Even not being able to predict one's own
> behavior may be advantageous - and I would say that in general one's
> actions are not highly predictable even by oneself.  

Absolutely. As I said to Liz, being irrational is sometimes the best
way to get ahead.

> I don't think
> your concept of rational agent has much scope of application.  

Well yes, that is certainly arguable, and I'm indeed somewhat critical
of the notion myself. But is not "my concept" - it is the accepted
concept from economics, game theory, decision theory, and artificial
intelligence - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational_agent.

"a rational agent is an agent which has clear preferences, models
uncertainty via expected values, and always chooses to perform the
action with the optimal expected outcome for itself from among all
feasible actions." 

If you think I am miscontruing anything on that page, I'd appreciate
it being pointed out. (note the term "utility" is called "preferences"
in the Wikipedia article.

> "Best
> course of action" can only be defined relative to values which are
> themselves not ultimately rational (i.e. there is no "best set of
> values") and can change even as actions are taken and events unfold.
> 
> Brent
> Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can
> never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.
>     --- David Hume

-- 

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Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au
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