Sunday, October 11, 2009

Game Theory -- best strategy for Prisoner's Dilemma used in advice column for real life situation

According to a science writer interviewed on NPR a few weeks ago, one of the few members of Congress who is also a scientist had to step into a heated battle with his fellow lawmakers who wanted to gut approved funding for research on "Game Theory" -- because those congressmen thought the government was being asked to fund a project on sports.

But game theory isn't that obscure. When responding to a blog item about how to deal with a roommate who reneged on a deal regarding who gets to keep the living room futon, the poster bah humbug cited lessons from the Prisoners' Dilemma and described "Tit-for-Tat", the strategy that beat out competitors, as described in Axelrod's Tit-for-Tat and Generous Tit-for-Tat.

Should we classic cooperators read about game theory to learn how to deal with classic defectors?

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