Outsmarting the Genie

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euchronos
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Outsmarting the Genie

Postby euchronos » Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:14 am UTC

Hi, this is my first post. I don't know if this properly qualifies as a logic puzzle, though it could certainly breed logical solutions.
It's a problem I've thought about many times, and I'm sure it's crossed most people's minds at least once: what would you do if granted three wishes?

I suspect that most people, without thinking very hard, would probably offer pat or conventional answers like, "Love, Happiness, Immortality", or "Giant Robots, Lasers, the Ability to Travel Faster than Light in a Giant Robot with Lasers". But is it really that simple?

Unfortunately, I think not. See, I have an inherent distrust for anything supernatural, mythical, or that has been trapped inside a small vial for the last 1250 years (give or take). I'm also doubly precautious of language's innate ambiguities when tendering statements to an omnipotent being for interpretation. I mean, why does the genie have this bizarre contractual obligation to use his tremendous powers for me -- a mere mortal -- anyway? Naturally, such an ignominious debt would inspire feelings of resentment in any demiurgic figure.

For this reason and others (e.g., I'm neurotic) I have a predisposition to scrutinize the ambiguities of language, especially in highly volatile wish-making scenarios. However, I am not nor have ever been a lawyer; as such, my best logic has always been rather suspectible to even the slightest imaginative re-interpretation (in other words, it sucks like a limp vaccuum). Let me present a hypothetical case of a moderately careful wisher who fails disastrously.

Genie (bored, listless): Okay, you've got three wishes. Yada yada.
Wisher: My first wish is that you do me no harm!
Genie (twirls wrist ineffectually... for effect): Done.
Wisher: Great. Now I wish for unlimited wealth!
Genie (snaps fingers): Okay now. You've got a castle in Sweden with a replenishing chest of infinite wealth. Here's the only key that will ever open it. (places key around wisher's neck)
Wisher: Super! Now I want three beautiful women who will always love me.
Genie (nods): Here they are. (pop, pop, pop... that's the low-budget sound-effect of beautiful women being magically conjured into an existence of amorous servitude)
Wisher: Whoopie! (Women quickly stab Wisher in the back and steal his key) *gasp... choke... croak* But... but my first wish!
Genie (yawning): Well, for one, /I/ didn't hurt you.
Wisher: But... what about love?
Women: We'll always love you, baby. But we'll love the life of totally hyperbolic luxury and freewheeling good-times that your magic chest will bring us MUCH, MUCH more. It will even pay for the necessary psychiatric treatment to deal with the trauma and guilt of having killed our one true monogamous love entity.
Wisher: Whhhhyyyy?

Why? Because you didn't PLAN well enough, stupid. So, as a public service to human kind in the event of an encounter with a daemonical wish-giving species, and in the interests of my insatiable, bastardly appetite for finding irritating loopholes in what people say and totally butchering their intended meaning, I would like to present the following challenge:

*Engage Header One* Outsmarting the Genie *Disengage Header One*
*trumpet music*

I'd call it a contest, but that would imply giving out a prize. Which I'm not going to do. It's really more of a challenge, a game, or a thought experiment. The only real reward is the deep satisfaction of knowing that you possess the intellect to outsmart a genie! (Or atleast, to outsmart people pretending to be genies in an attempt to refute you.) So, before we begin, a few rules:

1. Your goal is to provide three inscrutable wishes that, taken collectively, will succeed in producing your intended desire.

2. All three wishes must be used (this makes it more challenging, as if it wasn't nigh impossible already).

3. Your intended desire should /not/ be to cause yourself harm or some other type of malice, since we can safely assume it is the genie's UNWAVERING PURPOSE to do precisely this to you, and so if you were to WISH for it, even that would likely backfire, horribly. (Consider that the wish "I want to die" could result in a 'sinner's death', meaning you would be remade as a born-again Christian, incapable of doing anything but the most excruciatingly devout things. You would be totally powerless to control your own body, but you would be consciously aware of the sustained irony of your miserable existence. Because genies are cruel bastards.) The main point is you can't outsmart the genie by asking for something horrible to happen to you. The goal is to make it logically/mathematically/semantically (or whatever) impossible for the genie to turn what you wished for into a nightmare for you.

4. At least one of your wishes should be for something you actually want, as opposed to some structural device you're using to prevent catastrophe.

5. Each wish must be a single, discrete request. The request itself may be inherently complex, so long as it does not contain any compound clauses. An incorrect wish triad would be:

1st wish: I wish that any wish formulated as a statement in my mind would in turn produce a mental representation of EXACTLY how the genie would then interpret the wording of that statement, AND that said ability will be negated forever after my third and final wish.
2nd wish: Robots
3rd wish: Lasers

A better version would be:

1st wish: I wish that any wish formulated as a statement in my mind would in turn produce a mental representation of EXACTLY how the genie would then interpret the wording of that statement.
2nd wish: I wish that said ability will be negated forever after my third and final wish.
3rd wish: Robots with Lasers.

Note that wishes can be expanded using modifier phrases and words (adjectives/adverbs/prepositions/etc...)... just steer clear of coordinating or subordinating conjunctions (and/but/whereas/etc...). Incidentally, the above triad can be very easily invalidated by pointing out that all the first wish asks for is a 'mental representation' of 'how' the genie would interpret the wording. This could be taken to mean the 'physical manner in which' the genie interprets, and thus produce a mental image of the genie standing around scratching his chin, busily interpreting. Genies are cunning and devious!

6. You can use math, logic or programming anywhere in your triad so long as doing so doesn't break the spirit of rule #5. I recognize that linguistic structures are not commensurate with logical or formal systems (I'm sorry if you're a linguist and upset by this, but come on), so I leave it to the great wisdom of the xkcd community to interpret what the 'spirit' of rule #5 is. I'm not sure I'm the most capable of doing that.

You can also use anything else you think might work so long as it can be semantically interpreted as a wish without too much of a suspension of disbelief. I leave this deliberately vague because it is my hope that some truly ingenious and imaginative solutions will be concocted, and I don't want to short-circuit that by restricting the game entirely to written language.

7. The Genie can be considered outsmarted if no one can come up with a refutation. Once again, I leave it to the forum to provide the refutations. That, in my mind, is the most interesting and enjoyable part.

8. Remember, Genies can do pretty much anything. They can defy the laws of physics, create alternate universes to serve a single Machiavellian purpose, vote Republican AND Democrat. But, for the sake of fairness, let's say Genies can't cheat. They HAVE to enact the wish just as it is worded. The problem lies in the many ways any given statement can be reinterpreted (and will be). Genies must be stopped!

---

If you think these rules should be reformulated or could be improved, I'm all ears. I can't wait to see what people come up with! Maybe the whole exercise is for some reason moot, anyway, in which case I'd love to hear about it!

Andrew

euchronos
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby euchronos » Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:29 am UTC

Oh, another important thing I forgot to mention. If your wish implies the necessity of some sort of condition, like time, location, or duration, but if you forget to specify the EXACT CONTENT of that condition, then it falls to the Genie to determine what that content shall be. For example:

I wish to visit the place of my birth.
(Victim is transported to the moment of the big bang.)

Technically this wisher went to the right place. It was just really, really small, and crushed up beside all the other possible places in the universe (like the place of his death).
The problem was that the wisher did not specify the temporal variable. This is also very tricky, since something like "alive/dead" or "in one piece/in many pieces" could be other conditions in certain contexts. E.g.:

I wish to get out of here.
(Victim's body materializes outside, in many pieces.)

This last one becomes really problematic. Is, for example, "with a banana on my head/without a banana on my head" a necessary condition? I can't honestly answer that. I don't think Boolean logic works when determining the many ways genies can screw you over. It's this last thing that makes me believe it is actually impossible to ever outwit the Genie. There will always be something you did not anticipate, or could not account for given the limitations of only three wishes.

Am I wrong? I hope so.
Last edited by euchronos on Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:32 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby odenskrigare » Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:30 am UTC

  1. Make me omnipotent, now.
  2. Give me a Dr. Pepper, now.
  3. Wink yourself out of existence, now.
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby rnew » Sat Dec 13, 2008 11:58 am UTC

As the question was inredibly wordy I don't know if this contradicts any rules but couldn't you wish for anything first two things, then unlimited wishes? e.g.

1. Car
2. House
3. unlimited wishes
then unlimited wishes will solve all your problems

?
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby Goldstein » Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:00 pm UTC

Taking the example given in the original post, I'm very much of the belief that the Genie did do harm to the Wisher. One can't shirk all responsibility when they're so actively involved, and I think that a court of law would agree with me on that. Thus:

My three wishes would be exactly those three given in that example, so that I would go to my grave with the smug satisfaction of believing that the Genie broke his own rules. And if I'm completely honest, a sense of smug satisfaction is all I really want out of life anyway.
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby darkspork » Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:01 pm UTC

"unlimited wishes" can itself be misinterpreted.

In your present state, you can have as many wishes as you can think of. This does not imply their instant, magical fulfillment.

Anyway...
1) That I receive a fully functional computer, in a well cooled case whose dimensions do not exceed four feet in any direction, with processing, memory, and storage capabilities exceeding the totals of those respective traits of every computer in existence at this moment.
// (Seriously, that would kick ass.)
// At this point, I would inspect the item at hand...
2) That the item requested cannot cause harm to myself, my personal effects, my data, or anything else in the Universe.
// My third wish would be saved therefore to correct any jackass thing the genie does at this point.
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby Goldstein » Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:05 pm UTC

darkspork wrote:2) That the item requested cannot cause harm to myself, my personal effects, my data, or anything else in the Universe.
// My third wish would be saved therefore to correct any jackass thing the genie does at this point.


Such as smashing up your new rig? :D

Seems that he'd have to stop all the machine's fans and drain any water cooling systems as these could cause harm to countless tiny creatures, and with such reduced capacity for cooling it's now a great big fire hazard. I think the Genie's quite justified in making sure you never actually your new machine, in order to fulfil both your wishes.

... And you would still have received a fully functional computer.
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby JBJ » Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:29 pm UTC

Wish #1 - I wish that any harm, pain, disability, or other misfortune that falls on me affects you, the genie, tenfold.
Wish #2 - The conditions of the first wish shall not expire until I consciously utter the phrase "eeka-eeka-go-go-ropu" three times in succession.
Wish #3 - I wish to be able to predict the winning numbers for any lottery drawing of my choice at least two days in advance.
So, you sacked the cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker?
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby rnew » Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:45 pm UTC

darkspork wrote:"unlimited wishes" can itself be misinterpreted.

In your present state, you can have as many wishes as you can think of. This does not imply their instant, magical fulfillment.
Perhaps not, but you can keep using wishes to correct anything which goes wrong, or undo the previous wish to try again
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby douglasm » Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:47 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:Wish #1 - I wish that any harm, pain, disability, or other misfortune that falls on me affects you, the genie, tenfold.
Wish #2 - The conditions of the first wish shall not expire until I consciously utter the phrase "eeka-eeka-go-go-ropu" three times in succession.
Wish #3 - I wish to be able to predict the winning numbers for any lottery drawing of my choice at least two days in advance.

Activating the ability granted by the third wish requires saying "eeka-eeka-go-go-ropu" three times in succession. Upon finishing this incantation you are immediately overwhelmed by the winning lottery numbers for every lottery in existence from now to the end of eternity. The information is more than your brain can handle and you promptly go insane.

Wish #1 - I wish that all wishes you grant me, including this one, be fulfilled exactly as and when I intend them.
Wish #2 - I wish for unlimited wealth.
Wish #3 - I wish for eternal youth.

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby JBJ » Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:18 pm UTC

douglasm wrote:
JBJ wrote:Wish #1 - I wish that any harm, pain, disability, or other misfortune that falls on me affects you, the genie, tenfold.
Wish #2 - The conditions of the first wish shall not expire until I consciously utter the phrase "eeka-eeka-go-go-ropu" three times in succession.
Wish #3 - I wish to be able to predict the winning numbers for any lottery drawing of my choice at least two days in advance.

Activating the ability granted by the third wish requires saying "eeka-eeka-go-go-ropu" three times in succession. Upon finishing this incantation you are immediately overwhelmed by the winning lottery numbers for every lottery in existence from now to the end of eternity. The information is more than your brain can handle and you promptly go insane.


I don't see how the third wish is conditional upon the 2nd.
I got around the overwhelming information of all the lottery games by using the phrase "of my choice", and since the first wish is still in effect making me go crazy would make the genie ten times as crazy.

douglasm wrote:Wish #1 - I wish that all wishes you grant me, including this one, be fulfilled exactly as and when I intend them.
Wish #2 - I wish for unlimited wealth.
Wish #3 - I wish for eternal youth.


At which point you are an eternal 6 month old, although extremely rich, you can't walk, talk, or enjoy your unlimited wealth.
So, you sacked the cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker?
The second cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker I've sacked since the sixth sitting sheet slitter got sick.

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby douglasm » Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:10 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:I don't see how the third wish is conditional upon the 2nd.
I got around the overwhelming information of all the lottery games by using the phrase "of my choice", and since the first wish is still in effect making me go crazy would make the genie ten times as crazy.

You did not specify how the ability granted in the third wish should work, leaving those details up to the genie. The genie then decided on his own that this ability would need to be activated and that its activation would "coincidentally" involve the phrase in the second wish.

Once you activate your ability, the first wish is expired and the genie suffers no effect.

JBJ wrote:
douglasm wrote:Wish #1 - I wish that all wishes you grant me, including this one, be fulfilled exactly as and when I intend them.
Wish #2 - I wish for unlimited wealth.
Wish #3 - I wish for eternal youth.


At which point you are an eternal 6 month old, although extremely rich, you can't walk, talk, or enjoy your unlimited wealth.

How, exactly, would that not violate my first wish?

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby JBJ » Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:26 pm UTC

douglasm wrote:
JBJ wrote:
douglasm wrote:Wish #1 - I wish that all wishes you grant me, including this one, be fulfilled exactly as and when I intend them.
Wish #2 - I wish for unlimited wealth.
Wish #3 - I wish for eternal youth.


At which point you are an eternal 6 month old, although extremely rich, you can't walk, talk, or enjoy your unlimited wealth.

How, exactly, would that not violate my first wish?


I believe the spirit of the challenge is to phrase the wish so that it can't be perverted by the genie. Having a catch-all "That's not what I intended" is rather nebulous. So now you have eternal youth, and if I am reading your intent, you cannot die and your appearance will not change. You will stay just as you are at this point in time.

Fast forward a couple hundred thousand years, and the human race has continued to evolve. You are now a social outcast. Or humanity is extinct, and you are all alone. The genie's going to get you, eventually.
So, you sacked the cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker?
The second cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker I've sacked since the sixth sitting sheet slitter got sick.

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby euchronos » Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:21 pm UTC

douglasm wrote:
JBJ wrote:I don't see how the third wish is conditional upon the 2nd.
I got around the overwhelming information of all the lottery games by using the phrase "of my choice", and since the first wish is still in effect making me go crazy would make the genie ten times as crazy.

You did not specify how the ability granted in the third wish should work, leaving those details up to the genie. The genie then decided on his own that this ability would need to be activated and that its activation would "coincidentally" involve the phrase in the second wish.

Once you activate your ability, the first wish is expired and the genie suffers no effect.

JBJ wrote:
douglasm wrote:Wish #1 - I wish that all wishes you grant me, including this one, be fulfilled exactly as and when I intend them.
Wish #2 - I wish for unlimited wealth.
Wish #3 - I wish for eternal youth.


At which point you are an eternal 6 month old, although extremely rich, you can't walk, talk, or enjoy your unlimited wealth.

How, exactly, would that not violate my first wish?


One problem with your first wish is that you only specify "as" and "when". The genie then promptly decides to teleport you and your wealth to the surface of Uranus. Also, I'm not sure if Wish #1 violates the "and/but/whereas" criterion (probably not, since it's just a list of conditions). Though this could be corrected by simply adding 'where' to the list, there is another, perhaps more serious problem.

The genie grants you unlimited wealth AT THE PRECISE MOMENT you intend him to (fulfilling the "when" condition), but teleports you to a moment right after the sun has imploded, because of the ambiguity of the phrase "when I intend them". It could mean the moment of your intention, or it could mean your desired time. Either way, he'll get you.

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby euchronos » Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:30 pm UTC

rnew wrote:As the question was inredibly wordy I don't know if this contradicts any rules but couldn't you wish for anything first two things, then unlimited wishes? e.g.

1. Car
2. House
3. unlimited wishes
then unlimited wishes will solve all your problems

?


Sorry about the verbosity of my post. I'm really kind of new to forums in general and not sure about what works and what doesn't yet.

As for your wishes... well, you wouldn't get around to asking for wishes 2 or 3, because the car would materialize above your head, crushing you to death. That's what genies do.

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby Moonbeam » Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:33 pm UTC

Well, if I was a black man, I'd ask to be white and surrounded by pussy ...........

....... then, knowing my luck ..... *poof* and I'd be changed into a tampon :cry: .


*The moral of the story* ........... no matter what you wish for - there'a always a friggin' string attached :? .

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby rnew » Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:39 pm UTC

euchronos wrote:As for your wishes... well, you wouldn't get around to asking for wishes 2 or 3, because the car would materialize above your head, crushing you to death. That's what genies do.
Oh that's clever.
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby douglasm » Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:49 pm UTC

euchronos wrote:One problem with your first wish is that you only specify "as" and "when". The genie then promptly decides to teleport you and your wealth to the surface of Uranus. Also, I'm not sure if Wish #1 violates the "and/but/whereas" criterion (probably not, since it's just a list of conditions). Though this could be corrected by simply adding 'where' to the list, there is another, perhaps more serious problem.

The genie grants you unlimited wealth AT THE PRECISE MOMENT you intend him to (fulfilling the "when" condition), but teleports you to a moment right after the sun has imploded, because of the ambiguity of the phrase "when I intend them". It could mean the moment of your intention, or it could mean your desired time. Either way, he'll get you.

Ah, but I explicitly included the first wish as one that must be fulfilled as intended, and the intent is clearly that all of my wishes produce exactly the effects I want them to and no additional effects. Unless you can figure out a way to interpret that wish in such a way as to not require fulfilling its own intent rather than just strict wording, no twisting of that or any other wish is allowed.

Essentially, every time the genie thinks of an unspecified detail that he might twist, the first wish requires him to read my mind (he's a genie, he can do it) to fill that detail instead of specifying it himself.

Yes, this is a bit of a cheap solution, but it is by far the simplest, most comprehensive, and reliable way to do it, and the problem does not forbid it.

JBJ wrote:Fast forward a couple hundred thousand years, and the human race has continued to evolve. You are now a social outcast. Or humanity is extinct, and you are all alone. The genie's going to get you, eventually.

Sure, but I'll have lived a very long and enjoyable life in the mean time, longer by at least a few orders of magnitude than without the wish. If the situation ever eventually does become truly unbearable, I'd just commit suicide.

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby odenskrigare » Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:42 pm UTC

odenskrigare wrote:
  1. Make me omnipotent, now.
  2. Give me a Dr. Pepper, now.
  3. Wink yourself out of existence, now.


No one has challenged this wish set.
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby euchronos » Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:47 pm UTC

douglasm wrote:Ah, but I explicitly included the first wish as one that must be fulfilled as intended, and the intent is clearly that all of my wishes produce exactly the effects I want them to and no additional effects. Unless you can figure out a way to interpret that wish in such a way as to not require fulfilling its own intent rather than just strict wording, no twisting of that or any other wish is allowed.

Essentially, every time the genie thinks of an unspecified detail that he might twist, the first wish requires him to read my mind (he's a genie, he can do it) to fill that detail instead of specifying it himself.

Yes, this is a bit of a cheap solution, but it is by far the simplest, most comprehensive, and reliable way to do it, and the problem does not forbid it.


A few potential objections:

That implies a type of recursion not specified in the request. You'd have to specifically ask the Genie to revisit your mind whenever he comes up with some diabolical trick.

Even if the Genie does revisit your mind to validate against your intentions, he could do so an infinite number of times before actually granting your request. Since he can, in theory, come up with an infinite number of unspecified details (he's very clever:), your wishes would simply never be granted. Granted this isn't as bad as killing you, but in a sense the Genie still wins.

I'm still of the opinion that "as I intend" requires interpretation by the Genie as to its meaning and scope. Since the wish PRODUCES the effect of checking against your intentions only once it has been granted, the genie can't be retroactively bound to interpreting "as intended" from the basis of the desires expressed in your mind. In other words, when he grants you your first wish, he isn't yet bound by it in the manner you described (which implies that the wish is already in effect), and so it allows him to deviously interpret "as intended" based exclusively on the wording of the wish itself.

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby euchronos » Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:50 pm UTC

odenskrigare wrote:
odenskrigare wrote:
  1. Make me omnipotent, now.
  2. Give me a Dr. Pepper, now.
  3. Wink yourself out of existence, now.


No one has challenged this wish set.


Okay.

In touching the Dr. Pepper you discover it to be imbued with certain unexpected properties, causing you to automatically swap places with the Genie, who then makes your third wish in your place.
You wink yourself out of existence.

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby odenskrigare » Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:53 pm UTC

euchronos wrote:
odenskrigare wrote:
odenskrigare wrote:
  1. Make me omnipotent, now.
  2. Give me a Dr. Pepper, now.
  3. Wink yourself out of existence, now.


No one has challenged this wish set.


Okay.

In touching the Dr. Pepper you discover it to be imbued with certain unexpected properties, causing you to automatically swap places with the Genie, who then makes your third wish in your place.
You wink yourself out of existence.


But I'm omnipotent, so I give myself the power to examine the genie's dubious gift just before I receive it, then make myself titanium gauntlets and bitchslap the genie for trying to pull one over on me.
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i Frankrike, i Irland og England, var nordmannen ubuden gjest."

euchronos
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby euchronos » Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:56 pm UTC

odenskrigare wrote:But I'm omnipotent, so I give myself the power to examine the genie's dubious gift just before I receive it, then make myself titanium gauntlets and bitchslap the genie for trying to pull one over on me.


Well, you try to, but then you realize that your omnipotence only lasted for the duration of the "now" specified in your wish, which wasn't very long at all.

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odenskrigare
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby odenskrigare » Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:03 pm UTC

I use my omnipotence to grant myself cognitive abilities far beyond the reach of the genie in the brief period of the original grant, figure out what he is going to try to do to me, then extend the original period indefinitely.
共和國萬歲
Salve Res Publica Popularis Sinarum Victorioso

"Til Island og Grønland og Hjaltland, gikk ferden på langskip mot vest,
i Frankrike, i Irland og England, var nordmannen ubuden gjest."

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JBJ
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby JBJ » Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:05 pm UTC

odenskrigare wrote:
odenskrigare wrote:
  1. Make me omnipotent, now.
  2. Give me a Dr. Pepper, now.
  3. Wink yourself out of existence, now.


No one has challenged this wish set.


I can think of two possible pitfalls.
1 - This is assuming that a genie can wink himself out of existence. If that's not the case, then you've got an extremely pissed off genie on your hands.
Of course, you could argue that your first wish of omnipotence would grant you the knowledge to know whether or not that's that's true. In which case, you would adjust your 3rd wish accordingly.
2 - Assuming that the genie can wink himself out of existence, there is the possibility that your omnipotent power will vanish as well. Granted, your probably better off in most cases, but all you're left with now is a Dr. Pepper.
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odenskrigare
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby odenskrigare » Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:08 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:
odenskrigare wrote:
odenskrigare wrote:
  1. Make me omnipotent, now.
  2. Give me a Dr. Pepper, now.
  3. Wink yourself out of existence, now.


No one has challenged this wish set.


I can think of two possible pitfalls.
1 - This is assuming that a genie can wink himself out of existence. If that's not the case, then you've got an extremely pissed off genie on your hands.
Of course, you could argue that your first wish of omnipotence would grant you the knowledge to know whether or not that's that's true. In which case, you would adjust your 3rd wish accordingly.
2 - Assuming that the genie can wink himself out of existence, there is the possibility that your omnipotent power will vanish as well. Granted, your probably better off in most cases, but all you're left with now is a Dr. Pepper.


I extended it indefinitely. Remember? And who cares if the genie's pissed off? Fuck him, I'm omnipotent, bitch!
共和國萬歲
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby euchronos » Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:28 pm UTC

odenskrigare wrote:I use my omnipotence to grant myself cognitive abilities far beyond the reach of the genie in the brief period of the original grant, figure out what he is going to try to do to me, then extend the original period indefinitely.


I just don't think you realize the full and devious power of the Genie ;). If you extend the original period 'indefinitely', it also means you extend it an 'undefined amount', which as far as the Genie is concerned defaults to something between 0 and 'never'.

Also, "omnipotence" can be broken down into its Greek origins to come up with the meaning "all powers", which could be made to include the dubious power of "Suddenly turning yourself into a powerless forest creature, like a lemming." Which you would then do, and the Genie would probably help you out by placing you next to a cliff. I admit, this objection's a bit spurious, but the image is funny.

More likely, he would give you omnipotence without any free will and turn you into a hapless Demiurge, doomed to an eternity of polishing the Genie's boots with your tongue.

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby odenskrigare » Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:33 pm UTC

euchronos wrote:
odenskrigare wrote:I use my omnipotence to grant myself cognitive abilities far beyond the reach of the genie in the brief period of the original grant, figure out what he is going to try to do to me, then extend the original period indefinitely.


I just don't think you realize the full and devious power of the Genie ;). If you extend the original period 'indefinitely', it also means you extend it an 'undefined amount', which as far as the Genie is concerned defaults to something between 0 and 'never'.

Also, "omnipotence" can be broken down into its Greek origins to come up with the meaning "all powers", which could be made to include the dubious power of "Suddenly turning yourself into a powerless forest creature, like a lemming." Which you would then do, and the Genie would probably help you out by placing you next to a cliff. I admit, this objection's a bit spurious, but the image is funny.

More likely, he would give you omnipotence without any free will and turn you into a hapless Demiurge, doomed to an eternity of polishing the Genie's boots with your tongue.


Omnipotence with free will is important.

So let's say, "Give me omnipotence, fully under my volition and my volition alone, now and forever."

That's pretty ironclad.
共和國萬歲
Salve Res Publica Popularis Sinarum Victorioso

"Til Island og Grønland og Hjaltland, gikk ferden på langskip mot vest,
i Frankrike, i Irland og England, var nordmannen ubuden gjest."

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby sonickid01 » Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:13 pm UTC

Here's a shot. I didn't see anything like this in the other posts and I don't think it violates any sort of rules so here goes...

1. I wish for you, the genie I am intending to communicate with, to become instead of a malicious genie, to be a benevolent genie who wishes to help instead of cause harm to me while still retaining your powers to continue granting wishes to only myself. (Bad genie --> nice genie)
2. I wish for the ability to grant myself my own wishes in the same manner that the genie grants me wishes without actually becoming a genie, ie, losing my free will to grant others wishes. (Essentially, I'm now able to grant wishes for myself; I am my own genie with unlimited wishes from myself).
3. I wish for you to eternally trap yourself in a small 1 by 1 by 1 inch hollow indestructable box without any ability to ever escape, in which you have complete happiness remaining eternally dormant (not quite dead) inside the box, in your new benevolent form, unable to be disturbed by any force, where the box is placed in a part of space without harming/killing any sort of life, past, present, or future. (Since I'd feel guilty if I banished the genie or in any way killed him now that he's good and stuff, he's in his own box where he's perfectly happy in some corner of space where no life is harmed. In essence, he's practically "winked himself away" without actually dying or anything.

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby quintopia » Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:19 pm UTC

1) Please immediately do nothing except tell me exactly what my second wish should be in order that I should have my third wish fulfilled in exactly the way I want it without there being any loopholes in it whatsoever that you can exploit.
2) ???
3) Profit

Corruption for above wish set:

1) The genie makes himself into a benevolent but stupid genie that wants to help and can still grant wishes but is so inept at it that they always go wrong some how.
2) Assuming the genie succeeds in granting this wish, now your wishes always go wrong when you grant them to yourself.
3) Unfortunately, genies have extremely high mass, and this one is so stupid that he neglects to reduce his mass before turning himself into a black hole right next to you. You die.

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby GreedyAlgorithm » Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:34 pm UTC

I don't understand this genie. If he has so much power why doesn't he just go torture someone? Anyway, my three wishes:

1. Genie! Correctly compute the coherent extrapolated volition of { humans } U { you } if possible!
2. Genie! If counterfactually my third wish was "Give me a giant robot version of Ryan North with lasers attached!" and there is at least one way you could fulfill that wish compatible with the CEV you correctly computed as a result of my first wish, pick one of those ways and choose to implement it rather than any other to fulfill my third wish after I make my third wish!
3. Give me a giant robot version of Ryan North with lasers attached!

In summary: "Genie, figure out a way to make a giant robot version of Ryan North with lasers that everyone including you should love. If there is no such way, feel free to do whatever you will with a giant robot version of Ryan North with lasers attached."
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Goldstein
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby Goldstein » Sun Dec 14, 2008 12:45 am UTC

I really think this thread needs some specific ground rules. Take the following idea:

douglasm wrote:Wish #1 - I wish that all wishes you grant me, including this one, be fulfilled exactly as and when I intend them.


If this is necessary, and the Genie doesn't have to obey wishes before you've said it, why should the Genie have any more reason to obey this wish? He could very well think "Yeah I'll start fulfilling wishes exactly as and when you intend them... Ten years from now!". So it's silly. If there aren't any specific rules, we'll always have this clause and it's unavoidable.

Furthermore, there seems to be the suggestion that if any of your wishes aren't "Don't teleport me into the Sun", then the Genie will do this. On the other hand, even if you wish for that three times, it seems he could very well shift you to some other undesirable location, and you can't make all of your wishes be wishes for both of those things as that's a compound wish.

At the moment it all seems a bit vague and I'd suggest the best you could do is get on your knees and beg "Please don't hurt me! Please don't hurt me! Please don't hurt me!". So what are the rules here? Can anyone put forward something more formal, that we might get a logic puzzle out of this yet?
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby hnooch » Sun Dec 14, 2008 4:07 am UTC

Perhaps the safest bet is to suitably encode the molecular structure of whatever you would like the world to be like after your wish is performed, and then ask the genie to make the world like that? I'll leave the details of how to specifically request this to someone else.

The idea being, remove all chances for ambiguity. What languages does this genie speak, anyway, and how can we be sure it understands any given word the same way we do? That's not even necessarily true across speakers of the same language!

sonickid01
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby sonickid01 » Sun Dec 14, 2008 4:11 am UTC

That's a very good point. My suggestion- the genie can't grant unwished for wishes. He can only do exactly as you say... however he thinks it means. He must obey your wishes, in any interpretation he chooses.

quintopia wrote:Corruption for above wish set:

1) The genie makes himself into a benevolent but stupid genie that wants to help and can still grant wishes but is so inept at it that they always go wrong some how.
2) Assuming the genie succeeds in granting this wish, now your wishes always go wrong when you grant them to yourself.
3) Unfortunately, genies have extremely high mass, and this one is so stupid that he neglects to reduce his mass before turning himself into a black hole right next to you. You die.


The main problem pointed out is that the genie can make himself stupid. A quick way to fix this is by twerking my first wish:

1. 1. I wish for you, the genie I am intending to communicate with, to become instead of a malicious genie, to be a benevolent, intelligent, levelheaded genie who wishes to help instead of cause harm to me while still retaining a perfect, fully functioning, unhindered ability to grant my wishes. (Now the only thing that changed is that the genie is now completely intelligent and still has perfect wish-granting powers. Meaning he's no longer inept at his ability to grant wishes. This is all basically to keep the second wish clear of corruption.)

I feel like a lawyer.

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby codeFry » Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:00 am UTC

Wish #1

1. An unhindered ability to enjoy a full life of happiness and love, free of any type of worry and/or fear.

------------------------------------------

Wish #2

2. A long and healthy life, free of any action and/or condition, resulting from any direct and/or indirect, natural and/or unnatural, cause and/or action, which may be considered and/or interpreted, at my sole discretion, and or interpretation as detrimental, and/or limiting, in any way to the fulfillment of wish number one, and/or wish number two, and/or wish number three.

In which said decision, and/or interpretation, will be made with an unhindered, ability, and/or capacity, to recognize a detrimental, and/or limiting, occurrence of such an event, and/or condition, with an unhindered, ability, and/or capacity, to veto, and/or undo, said condition, and/or occurrence.

Thereby restoring, at my sole discretion, the final intent, and/or interpretation, of wish number one, and/or wish number two, and/or wish number three.

Examples of such an occurrence may include but will not be limited to :

-- a. any type of accidents and/or misfortune resulting from any direct and/or indirect, natural and/or unnatural cause.

-- b. any type of illness and/or disease resulting from any direct and/or indirect, natural and/or unnatural cause.

-- c. premature death and/or instantaneous death of any type and/or form, and/or at any point of time, and/or in any way, prior to the granting of any wish(es), and/or upon the granting of any wish(es), and/or during the granting of any wish(es), and/or after the granting of any wish(es), limited only to an ability to die, which shall be interpreted as actual death, when my time to die is at hand.

-- d. The lessening and/or removal of any current, mental, and/or physical, and/or spiritual, and/or ability, and/or capacity, and/or competence.

Wherein my current mental, and/or physical, and/or spiritual, and/or ability, and/or capacity, and/or competence, shall be measured and/or used as the lowest base value available, which may not be changed, and/or altered, at any point of time, and/or in any way, prior to the granting of any wish(es), and/or upon the granting of any wish(es), and/or during the granting of any wish(es), and/or after the granting of any wish(es).

-- e. Any type of incarceration whether physical, and/or mental, and/or spiritual, for any length and/or period of time.

------------------------------------------

Wish #3

3. The unhindered means, financial, and/or mental, and/or physical, and/or spiritual, and/or ability and/or capacity, and/or competence, by which to fulfill, and/or adjust, and/or alter, at my sole discretion, and/or interpretation, the satisfactory fulfillment of, wish number one, and/or wish number two, and/or wish number three.

I look forward to watching the Genie mess this one up ;)

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby returnaddress » Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:56 am UTC

1. I wish that all my wishes happen the way I originally intend for them to happen, including this one.
2. Robots with teh lazz0rs
3. Pizza

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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby darkspork » Mon Dec 15, 2008 4:00 am UTC

codeFry wrote:Wish #1

1. An unhindered ability to enjoy a full life of happiness and love, free of any type of worry and/or fear.

------------------------------------------

Wish #2

2. A long and healthy life, free of any action and/or condition, resulting from any direct and/or indirect, natural and/or unnatural, cause and/or action, which may be considered and/or interpreted, at my sole discretion, and or interpretation as detrimental, and/or limiting, in any way to the fulfillment of wish number one, and/or wish number two, and/or wish number three.

In which said decision, and/or interpretation, will be made with an unhindered, ability, and/or capacity, to recognize a detrimental, and/or limiting, occurrence of such an event, and/or condition, with an unhindered, ability, and/or capacity, to veto, and/or undo, said condition, and/or occurrence.

Thereby restoring, at my sole discretion, the final intent, and/or interpretation, of wish number one, and/or wish number two, and/or wish number three.

Examples of such an occurrence may include but will not be limited to :

-- a. any type of accidents and/or misfortune resulting from any direct and/or indirect, natural and/or unnatural cause.

-- b. any type of illness and/or disease resulting from any direct and/or indirect, natural and/or unnatural cause.

-- c. premature death and/or instantaneous death of any type and/or form, and/or at any point of time, and/or in any way, prior to the granting of any wish(es), and/or upon the granting of any wish(es), and/or during the granting of any wish(es), and/or after the granting of any wish(es), limited only to an ability to die, which shall be interpreted as actual death, when my time to die is at hand.

-- d. The lessening and/or removal of any current, mental, and/or physical, and/or spiritual, and/or ability, and/or capacity, and/or competence.

Wherein my current mental, and/or physical, and/or spiritual, and/or ability, and/or capacity, and/or competence, shall be measured and/or used as the lowest base value available, which may not be changed, and/or altered, at any point of time, and/or in any way, prior to the granting of any wish(es), and/or upon the granting of any wish(es), and/or during the granting of any wish(es), and/or after the granting of any wish(es).

-- e. Any type of incarceration whether physical, and/or mental, and/or spiritual, for any length and/or period of time.

------------------------------------------

Wish #3

3. The unhindered means, financial, and/or mental, and/or physical, and/or spiritual, and/or ability and/or capacity, and/or competence, by which to fulfill, and/or adjust, and/or alter, at my sole discretion, and/or interpretation, the satisfactory fulfillment of, wish number one, and/or wish number two, and/or wish number three.

I look forward to watching the Genie mess this one up ;)


You should write EULAs.
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby qinwamascot » Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:23 am UTC

1) I wish that you would enact the one wish that I most want you to enact exactly how I would enact it if I had the power to and was enacting it on myself.
2) I wish that you would enact the one wish that I most want you to enact excluding my previous wish exactly how I would enact it if I had the power to and was enacting it on myself.
3) I wish that you would enact the one wish that I most want you to enact excluding my previous wishes exactly how I would enact it if I had the power to and was enacting it on myself.

I won't exactly know what I'm getting, but I don't think I die or turn into a mushroom.
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codeFry
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby codeFry » Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:59 pm UTC

You should write EULAs.


Sadly I must confess either too many years in the sofware industry or I simply read one too many EULA's.

I can understand the Genie's point of view... The software did not throw an error, what we did was right, because the software allowed us to do it ;)

Edit to add:

I foresee the genie doing the following:

I wish for a happy life

-- Poof: "you are now a carrot"

I wish for a long healthy life

Stretching me out into a long string of molecules
-- Poof "you are a long healthy carrot"

I wish for the ability to restore any wish made back to it's original intent at my sole discretion to determine successful fulfillment of said wishes


-- Poof -- "you are now a healthy green bean infinitely stretched out into a long string of molecules"

Adjust wish to restore intent

Poof -- "you are now a healthy carrot infinitely stretched out into a long string of molecules"

Execute
Endless loop

The genie is not wrong the software let him do it ;D

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thomblake
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Re: Outsmarting the Genie

Postby thomblake » Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:31 pm UTC

Language is sufficiently ambiguous that it is most likely impossible to trap the genie. However, even if you got a genie who always gives you exactly what you intend, that doesn't free you from unintended consequences, or your intentions changing over time, or your intentions being mistaken.

The only safe wish is one made to a genie who already knows what you would intend if you were aware of all consequences, and then chooses to give you that; then, it shouldn't matter what you say to it. Just make your wish sufficiently free to interpretation - 'do what you will'.

The real malevolent genie is the one who just gives you exactly what you actually want and then leaves you to deal with the unintended consequences.


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