Re: Transhumanist Kids

Zenarchy (
Tue, 1 Dec 1998 13:16:28 -0800

From: Anders Sandberg <>
>It pays to be good. In most situations you can gain more by
>cooperating with others than cheating them (often it is even
>impossible to get what you want without the help of others), and if
>you behave in ways that make others get along with you you are also
>more likely to have people who help you if you need it.

Children (and their parents) who sufficiently grok this never end up making society debate the issue of the death penalty for anything they've done.

>The theory of cooperation that has emerged from studies of the
>prisoners' dilemma is quite interesting and relevant for all of us. I
>think it is a good foundation for thinking about practical ethics. It
>also shows that it doesn't pay to be naive - don't be a sucker, don't
>continue cooperating with defectors just because you have been told to
>cooperate. Cooperate with those who cooperate with you.

The tried and true TIT FOR TAT qualifies as the ultimate game plan due to its elegant simplicity, practicality, and durability. (Required course for anyone on Death Row.)

>Might is right (MIR) doesn't work well. In fact, I even made a simple
>model where I tested it against a simple cooperative strategy
>(cooperate with other cooperators) and it did worse under a wide
>variety of situations (It became a nice little paper I'm going to
>publish). MIR has the problem that it only works for the strong, but
>anyone can earn well in a cooperative endeavor regardless of coercive
>strength, which makes cooperators in the long run better off. This is
>of course why dictatorships and other MIR societies doesn't do as well
>as democracies and non-MIR societies; a lot of work is wasted on
>internal conflict.

"Might may not be right, but being wrong shows some weakness." --Shel Silverstein

"'The pen is mightier than the sword,' but since might does NOT make right, we'll beat our pens into ploughshares." --Lancelot Gunn

"The pen is mighty, but solitary confinement is a real bitch." --Al Capone

>The problem is that humans in general aren't as rational as they could
>be, and MIR is easy to explain (just use a gun) while coperative
>strategies require more thinking, communication and education. Which
>is why I think we should introduce young people more to game theory,
>the prisoners' dilemma and the theory of cooperation.

I'll drink to that.
Schools should teach this to kids (too late for their parents?) on the South Side of Chicago, East Los Angeles, the Combat Zone in Boston, Beijing, Moscow, Bhagdad, Tijuana, Islamabad, and everywhere else. -zen