Monday, March 23, 2009

A model for the outbreak of cooperation.

Helbing and Yu, in an open access article, offer a fascinating game theoretic model that turns defectors into cooperators. The trick is to incorporate success-driven migration. The graphic illustrations are interesting and clear, and I suggest you check them out. Here is their abstract:
According to Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan [1651; 2008 (Touchstone, New York), English Ed], “the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” and it would need powerful social institutions to establish social order. In reality, however, social cooperation can also arise spontaneously, based on local interactions rather than centralized control. The self-organization of cooperative behavior is particularly puzzling for social dilemmas related to sharing natural resources or creating common goods. Such situations are often described by the prisoner's dilemma. Here, we report the sudden outbreak of predominant cooperation in a noisy world dominated by selfishness and defection, when individuals imitate superior strategies and show success-driven migration. In our model, individuals are unrelated, and do not inherit behavioral traits. They defect or cooperate selfishly when the opportunity arises, and they do not know how often they will interact or have interacted with someone else. Moreover, our individuals have no reputation mechanism to form friendship networks, nor do they have the option of voluntary interaction or costly punishment. Therefore, the outbreak of prevailing cooperation, when directed motion is integrated in a game-theoretical model, is remarkable, particularly when random strategy mutations and random relocations challenge the formation and survival of cooperative clusters. Our results suggest that mobility is significant for the evolution of social order, and essential for its stabilization and maintenance.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:58 AM

    interesting... I'll be sure to read it. What I'm thinking is what does that mean for our society where the internet is making actual statial location less and less important, and you can be everywhere and nowhere at the same time?