Saturday, May 21, 2011

An Interesting Bargain

This was from a contest from almost four years ago, but I found it to be a highly amusing strategy to bargain for extra time on earth:
So this particular joke wouldn’t guaranteee Mr. Vongsathorn a 150th birthday. Still, he’s identified a smart strategy, particularly in his additional suggestion to write a story instead of a joke. As he explained it in a follow-up email: “Create something like a book, but deliberately postpone finishing it. You have to actually not decide the ending. Because even when your brain has the creative potential to make something, it doesn’t really exist in a consumable, enjoyable form until you’ve actually made it. And that is what leaves the Prime Designer wondering what comes next.
If the Prime Designer goes for this strategy, what is keeping Xan from using it again at age 150 to guarantee an extra year of life? If nothing, what would ever bind Xan to divulging the punchline? And, presumably the designer knows this. I won't launch into a long post about credible commitments, but striking this bargain credibly seems to me to be the tricky part.

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