Do you believe the superintelligent “Predictor” of Newcomb’s Paradox could exist? Does your answer depend on specific properties of the laws of physics (such as the uncertainty principle)? Does it depend on the assumption that humans are “open systems”, in constant interaction with their external environment? Does it depend on subtleties in even defining the Predictor (for example, to what extent it’s allowed to alter the state of your brain while scanning it)?
Do you consider yourself a one-boxer or a two-boxer? Why? Or do you reject the entire premise of Newcomb’s Paradox on logical grounds?
What do you make of the idea that, if Newcomb’s Predictor existed, then you’d need to think in terms of two different “instantiations” of you, which nevertheless acted in sync and were “controlled by the same will”: (1) the “real” you, and (2) the simulated version of you being run on the Predictor’s computer? Does this proposal do irreparable violence to causality, locality, or other principles of physics? If so, is the “benefit” (justifying one-boxing) worth the cost?
What’s the role of probabilistic or game-theoretic considerations in Newcomb’s Paradox? Does the probabilistic variant of the paradox (discussed in class) raise any issues different from those raised by the deterministic version?
If Newcomb’s Predictor existed, would that create new and serious problems for the everyday notion of “free will”? (Feel free to divide this into two sub-questions: whether it would change how people thought about their free will, and whether it ought to.)
More generally, what’s the relationship between Newcomb’s Paradox and the “traditional” problem of free will? Are there aspects of one problem that aren’t captured by the other?
Apart from what we discussed in class, can you suggest any computer-science examples or metaphors that clarify aspects of the free-will issue?