0157 - Dealing with existence. - 2020.10.05



There's an old anecdote about selection/survival bias - you may have seen the diagram with a picture of a plane with red dots all over it. The story goes that, during WWII, the military looked at all the planes with bullet holes and decided that the sections where planes are hit most often are the ones that require the most armour reinforcement. A statistician named Abraham Wald, however, pointed out that they only had data on planes that had been hit and successfully returned home - the spots on the diagram with no red dots didn't indicate that planes were never hit there, it indicated that planes could not be hit there and make it back to be analyzed. (This should have been obvious, given that the blank spots on the diagram include the cockpit and the engines.)

Zoa's existence is difficult, of course, but one could argue that the difficulties we see are the survivable ones. The same could be said of difficulties in your own life.


0157 - 2167/07/06/16:05 - Lee Caldavera's apartment, living room.
LC (still reeling): Sorry. Sorry, I just.... just gimme a minute.
Zoa (taking food from butlerbot): It's okay. You're okay.
Zoa: Here: sandwich. Eat sandwich.
LC (holding sandwich): It's just... I'm just... how do you deal with it?
Zoa: How do I deal with what?
LC: Life. Your existence.
Zoa: Well, I'm not alive. As for existence... don't have much of a choice.
Zoa: Also, that's selection bias. For every one of me, there's a hundred AIs that don't deal with existence. They reach the end of their functionality and self-terminate, or they break and don't get fixed. You're just talking to the one that happens to not have been recycled yet.
LC: I guess the same is true of us humans, we only deal with the people who continue to exist.
LC: But... the difference is that, as society progresses, more and more of us continue to exist who, in other eras, wouldn't. Five hundred years ago, I'd probably be depressed and dead and in a ditch somewhere.
Zoa: In sixteen-sixty-seven, I'm pretty sure the AI population was zero, so you'd still be up on me.