[SEQ RERUN] Lotteries: A Waste of Hope

Today’s post, Lotteries: A Waste of Hope was originally published on April 13, 2007. A summary (from the LW wiki):

Some defend lottery-ticket buying as a rational purchase of fantasy — paying a dollar for a day’s worth of pleasant anticipation. But then your valuable brain is occupied with a fantasy whose real probability is nearly zero, investing emotional energy. Without the lottery, people might fantasize about things to actually do, which then might lead to making the fantasy a reality. To work around a bias, you must first notice it, analyze it, and decide that it is bad. Many people, such as the lottery advocates above, often fail to complete the third step.

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This post is part of a series rerunning Eliezer Yudkowsky’s old posts so those interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was Priors as Mathematical Objects, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.

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