Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life by Len Fisher PDF

By Len Fisher

ISBN-10: 0465009387

ISBN-13: 9780465009381

Praised via Entertainment Weekly as “the guy who placed the fizz into physics,” Dr. Len Fisher turns his cognizance to the technological know-how of cooperation in his energetic and thought-provoking booklet. Fisher exhibits how the fashionable technology of online game idea has helped biologists to appreciate the evolution of cooperation in nature, and investigates how we'd follow these classes to our personal society. In a chain of experiments that take him from the well mannered confines of an English banquet to crowded supermarkets, congested Indian roads, and the wilds of outback Australia, let alone baseball recommendations and the intricacies of quantum mechanics, Fisher sheds gentle at the challenge of worldwide cooperation. the results are often hilarious, occasionally alarming, yet consistently revealing. A witty romp via a significant technology, Rock, Paper, Scissors will either train and pleasure somebody drawn to what it what it takes to get humans to interact.

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Example text

Author James Surowiecki provides an entertaining example in The Wisdom of Crowds when he points out that the TV show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? ” When I tried to use it to make political decision making as democratic as possible, however, the members didn’t like it at all—not because it was unfair but because I had introduced it without consulting them! But how then was I to consult them about how I should consult them? Caught on a sinking ship in their whirlpool of logic, I followed the only course possible: I jumped ship and left them to it.

Even so, social conventions can be very powerful. Witness the obedience of most of the male passengers to the womenand-children-first policy when it came to loading the lifeboats as the Titanic sank. Even then, one male passenger seems to have made it into a lifeboat dressed as a woman. That’s the problem with social conventions: they may be powerful, but there is no guarantee that they will be adhered to. Pressure from society is not always as strong as pressure from rational self-interest. This applies even when the social convention has been translated into law, such as the one that requires us to drive on the right-hand side of the road.

If we’re walking toward each other on a narrow sidewalk, for example, and we both step aside to squeeze past, we’ll find ourselves in a Nash equilibrium because if either of us independently changes our mind and steps back, we will come face-to-face again, with the consequent merry little dance that most of us have experienced. Nash called such a state of affairs an equilibrium because it is a point of balance in a social situation, from which neither side can independently escape without loss.

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Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life by Len Fisher

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