If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

Pick one. There will be a quiz.

ADT – Acausal Decision Theory. Figure out what other agents want and do it, even if you can’t talk to them and they might not exist, if and only if they would do the same for you even if you don’t exist. Which hopefully you do.

BDT – Because Decision Theory. Do whatever you were going to do anyway, and justify it with “because decision theory.”

CDT- Causal Decision Theory. Take the action that will causally bring about good outcomes. Crazy talk.

DDT – Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane. Don’t do anything or let anyone do anything, because it might kill an eagle.

EDT – Evidential Decision Theory. Perform the action that would be the best indication of a good outcome. Even crazier talk.

FDT – Functional Decision Theory. Decide as if choosing the logical output of your decision algorithm, and you have read the latest MIRI paper, whether or not you have read Arbital.

GDT – Greatest Decision Theory. Do what you were going to do anyway, and proclaim it insanely great.

HDT – Hardass Decision Theory. Refuse to cooperate when you obviously should, then when challenged, mumble something about decision theory. See CDT.

IDT – Information Design and Technology. Do whatever your phone tells you.

JDT – Jewish Decision Theory. Come up with lots of options, argue about them until they are no longer relevant, then don’t pay retail.

KDT – Kantian Decision Theory. Act as if you are deciding the logical output of everyone’s decision theory, even though you don’t.

LDT – Logical Decision Theory. Decide as if choosing the logical output of your decision algorithm, and you read Arbital but haven’t read the latest MIRI paper.

MDT – Misleading Decision Theory. Make up a lot of nonsense decision theories to confuse your enemies.

NDT – Naive Decision Theory. Act like human beings normally do. Surprisingly good at ultimatum games and putting on pants.

OCDT – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Decision Theory. Keep frantically looking for something better. Let that missing D drive you crazy.

PDT – Passive Decision Theory. Hope someone else makes the decision so no one can blame you for the outcome.

QDT – Quantum Decision Theory. Make every decision in a different universe, so you at least do the right thing somewhere. For bonus points, if you choose wrong, destroy the universe.

RDT – Random Decision Theory. Roll again.

STD – Sexually Theory Decision. Do whatever gets you laid.

TDT – Timeless Decision Theory. Decide as if choosing the logical output of your decision algorithm, and you haven’t read Arbital or the latest MIRI paper.

UDT – Updateless Decision Theory. You know that agent that has the best algorithm – the best mapping from observations to actions – across a probability distribution of all world-histories? Yeah, that guy. Do that.

VDT – Valueless Decision Theory. Laugh out loud, nothing matters, eat at Arby’s.

WWJDDT – What Would Jesus Do Decision Theory. Another popular one.

XKCDT –XKC Decision Theory.  It’s not like it stood for anything anyway. Might want to check the mouse-over text. That’s always handy.

YDT – Yukon Daylight Time. It’s getting late, so we’re phoning this one in.

ZDT – Zvi Decision Theory. Call me.

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5 Responses to If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  1. Grognor says:

    fwiw ADT can stand for Ambient Decision Theory, which is UDT plus the “chicken rule” (perform an action whenever it is proven that the action will not be performed)

  2. Pingback: Best of Don’t Worry About the Vase | Don't Worry About the Vase

  3. jacklecter says:


    Signalling Decison Theory: Start by doing what you would have done anyway, but
    add on behavoirs which are conspicously inconvenient and outwardly bizarre. Loudly attribute this to ‘Decision Theory’. Don’t pay attention to whether thr ‘Theory’ is self-consistent or useful- that’s not what it’s for.

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