[FoRK] New approach (Southampton) beats Tit-For-Tat

Russell Turpin deafbox at hotmail.com
Thu Oct 14 10:08:34 PDT 2004

>From <http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,65317,00.html>:
>Teams could submit multiple strategies, or players, and the Southampton 
>team submitted 60 programs. These, Jennings explained, were all slight 
>variations on a theme and were designed to execute a known series of five 
>to 10 moves by which they could recognize each other. Once two Southampton 
>players recognized each other, they were designed to immediately assume 
>"master and slave" roles -- one would sacrifice itself so the other could 
>win repeatedly. If the program recognized that another player was not a 
>Southampton entry, it would immediately defect to act as a spoiler for the 
>non-Southampton player. ..

There is a pretty clear tie between this strategy and hierarchical
organizations, such as states and large corporations, where the
organization's victories seem to benefit inordinately a small
number of people in it. An interesting question is why individuals
would choose a Southampton strategy. Sociobiologists speculate
on genes that spread by helping those in your kingroup procreate,
at your own expense. Bees. But if one takes a meta-view of
iterated tit-for-tat, where each player's goal is to become *the*
winner, and first has to choose a strategy -- e.g., social ethic --
for doing so, then it might be a "winning" strategy to adopt a
Southampton strategy. In our culture, of course, hierarchical
organizations can't simply sacrifice those who don't reach top
dog status, so have to throw some bones down the hierarchy.

Still, a very interesting result.

Jeff Bone:
>Somehow this seems rather...  wrong.  :-/ ;-)

Sure. It violates your egalitarian sentiments. ;-)

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