Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Finn's pursuit of Pareto

Among our Netflix holiday discoveries: Adventure Time.* Jake the Dog and Finn the Human relentlessly pursue full Pareto moves. Kaldor-Hicks with potential compensation isn't enough - it's Pareto or Bust.

Episode 10, Memories of Boom Boom Mountain, illustrates things nicely. It starts around the 11 minute mark in the embedded video, below.

Adventure Time 09-10 [My Two Favorite People] [Memories of Boom Boom Mountain] from Tata Shyrayeva on Vimeo.

Finn remembers a time when, as an infant, he needed help and nobody helped him. And so it is his lifelong vow to help anyone in need, so everyone is happy.

Alas, it's tough when we run into mutually incompatible desires. The marauders love rough-housing; the nearby mountain hates violence. Finn's solution ultimately involves pleasing everybody, but only with a bit of deception. The marauders promise to stay healthy, but don't promise to stop rough-housing. The mountain assumes that their promise includes a cessation of rough-housing. Because Finn's solution blocks the mountain from seeing the marauders, everybody can be happy after Jake lies to the mountain about the rough-housing.

But does Pareto based on misapprehension count? Ultimately, would Finn put everyone into Nozick's experience machine? Or only crazy mountains? Perhaps we'll find out in later episodes. And his solution for the baby fish's problem seems short-term at best.

Pareto moves are hard.

* Yes, yes, I know I'm years behind the rest of you. But my kids wouldn't have appreciated it as much when they were younger.

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