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We play two-player games all day, every day, and our lives are a real-time exercise in game theory. We work out how to make the best move based not only on what we want the outcome to be, but also based on how we think the other player is going to act. Since they’re usually going through the same rough thought process — sometimes consciously, sometimes subconsciously — we’re embroiled in a constant series of games with all of us wanting to win.

Winning can be the best result for you or the best outcome given the circumstances, and players are implicitly sorting out their strategies in a recursive process that waffles between self-interest and cooperation. Whether we’re driving down the highway and trying to go as fast as we can without getting pulled over or just trying not to be weird with our crush, we’re playing a game… and it turns out that a little cooperation goes a long way.

*** SOURCES ***

Robert Axelrod, “The Evolution of Cooperation”

Prisoner’s Dilemma:

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45 thoughts on “The Game That Never Ends

  1. i guess im dumb but i still dont understand how being nice in the prison one would be smart cause if hes nice id rat and get 0 and if he rats its still smarter to rat and get 2 instead of 3 years

  2. Honestly, who notices this method is used between siblings at one point or another? I know a lot of kids eventually realize co-operation turns out better, those who don't often have a bad reputation later on so it's best to work with people to gain better connections later in life.

  3. You didn’t factor in that many countries allow speed cameras/automatic speed traps as evidence for a ticket (usually directly allowed or grey area where the courts deem the system technically illegal but marginally compared to the way more illegal speeding they prevent)

    This gets rid of the argument: they can’t ticket all. Well, technically they still can’t, but practically, you can’t get enough speeders to overwhelm automated speed traps or they get you for reckless driving since you violated minimal distance rules)

  4. You forgot to mention the fact a cop can pull you at any speed. Kill you. And then tell you were dangerous without any investigation.

  5. The answer is slower than the person speeding in front of you. They’ll get pulled over and you’ll have a buffer to slow down when you see the lights come on for them.

  6. 2:00 what? What a bullshit. Dry friction is dependent on the material, the weightforce (in an 90° angel to the surface) and the typ of friction. Area is no factor in that.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friction

  7. I have always thought the speed limits in the us is very slow, until I realize speed feels very different in different cars. I didn’t recognize this because every car I drove were somewhat sporty and they are all new. Nevertheless, I was driving an 2004ish dodge caravan once for moving, going at 85 and it felt like flying. Everything was vibrating, engine was crying for help, wind noise was deafening my ears and I don’t ever want to drive that car any faster than 65. I guess speed limits are rational after all. Not everyone's car is suitable/safe for fast driving.

  8. You know, medicine started getting rid of people names for things in favor of anatomical or functional or purpose names.. Why haven't the more "pure" sciences done this? We've honored them long enough, but Ohm, and Bohr and Newton and all those wonderful people are long dead. Come up with a name that means something. Naaaa… that would probably be even harder to remember.

  9. If you are going 130, they probably won't keep following, hoping you will slow down, as that is safest for everyone else on the road — especially if they have the choppers in the air chasing you.

  10. This reminds me of this guy:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=S0qjK3TWZE8

    He used reverse psychology to break the prisoner’s dilemma.

  11. I'm genuinely curious of where they're from, bc I'm from Florida & 5 mph over the speedlimit is gonna get people flicking you of for going way too slow.
    Hell, on I-4 you're going a minimum of 75 or you're getting in an accident, but usually 85 is where it's at

  12. Them talking about not sliding on the roads and being able to brake:

    Me, a Canadian: that's cute

  13. In an American car my dad was able to get to 170 mph which started lifting the back of the car (yes he then put a wing on) this was on Autobahn

  14. Did you know: Tires are designed to resist sliding forward/backward, but not really side to side. Because if there is too much sideways friction the car will be guaranteed to flip over during an accident, as the tires grip the pavement but the momentum of the car itself continues sideways, thus creating a rotation.

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