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25 Jan 2005

Games People Play

Posted by Oblivion in General | 5:50am

"...people's approaches to co-operation with their fellows are, indeed, evolutionarily stable. Of course, it is a long stretch from showing equal success in a laboratory game to showing it in the mating game that determines evolutionary outcomes. But it is good to know that in this context at least, nice guys do not come last. They do just as well as the nasty guys and, indeed, as the wary majority."

Nice guys refers to those who choose to co-operate, nasty guys, to those who choose not to. There is a third group - free-riders. They decide to co-operate or not to, depending on the situation on hand. In case of an intensely competitive situation, where the two subjects involved have equally powerful strategies, I doubt if categorising them as nice and nasty depending solely on the tendency of implementing the strategy and ignoring the consequences is sensible.

Game theory strongly relies on assumptions. It applies perfectly to situations where the subjects involved are equally clever or dumb, for, the evaluation of how competitive and unbeatable a strategy is depends on the acknowledgment of the strategy by the opponents. When an opponent repudiates, the strategy seems out of place and the significance dissolves. Which is why, one cannot approach kids or sane individuals with a strategy. They do not have a stand; all strategy fails against them. And because they do not acknowledge the strategy in the first place, the result would be of no bearing - no matter what the result.

For everything else, of course, there is game theory! And it works absolutely fine.

As long as man is against man
And as long as minds can plan
So long shall people play games
Futile duels for fame and names

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