1. I don’t know much about probability and statistics, so forgive me if this sounds completely naive (I’d be interested in reading more on this problem, if it’s as simple for you as saying “go read X”).
Having said that, though, I may have an objection to fanaticism, or something in the neighborhood of it:
Let’s say there are a suite of short-term payoff, high certainty bets for making things better.
And also a suite of long-term payoff, low certainty bets for making things better. (Things that promise “super-great futures”.)
You could throw a lot of resources at the low certainty bets, and if the certainty is low enough, you could get to the end of time and say “we got nothing for all that”. If the individual bets are low-certainty enough, even if you had a lot of them in your suite you would still have a very high probability of getting nothing for your troubles. (The state of coming up empty-handed.)
That investment could have come at the cost of pursuing the short-term, high certainty suite.
So you might feel regret at the end of time for not having pursued the safer bets, and with that in mind, it might be intuitively rational to pursue safe bets, even with less expected value. You could say “I should pursue high EV things just because they’re high EV”, and this “avoid coming up empty-handed” consideration might be a defeater for that.
You can defeat that defeater with “no, actually the likelihood of all these high-EV bets failing is low enough that the high-EV suite is worth pursuing.”
2. It might be equally rational to pursue safety as it is to pursue high EV, it’s just that the safety person and the high-EV person have different values.
3. I think in the real world, people do something like have a mixed portfolio, like Taleb’s advice of “expose yourself to high-risk, high-reward investments/experiences/etc., and also low-risk, low-reward.” And how they do that shows, practically speaking, how much they value super-great futures versus not coming up empty-handed. Do you think your paper, if it got its full audience, would do something like “get some people to shift their resources a little more toward high-risk, high-reward investments”? Or do you think it would have a more radical effect? (A big shift toward high-risk, high-reward? A real bullet-biting, where people do the bare minimum to survive and invest all other resources into pursuing super-high-reward futures?)