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Tagged with “game theory” (7)

  1. Nicky Case: Seeing Whole Systems - The Long Now

    HE BEGAN, “Hi, I’m Nicky Case, and I explain complex systems in a visual, tangible, and playful way.”

    He did exactly that with 207 brilliant slides and clear terminology.

    What system engineers call “negative feedback loops,” for example, Case calls “balancing loops.”

    They maintain a value.

    Likewise “positive feedback loops” he calls “reinforcing loops.”

    They increase a value.

    Using examples and stories such as the viciousness of the board game Monopoly and the miracle of self-organizing starlings, Case laid out the visual basics of finessing complex systems.

    A reinforcing loop is like a ball on the top of a hill, ready to accelerate downhill when set in motion.

    A balancing loop is like a ball in a valley, always returning to the bottom of the valley when perturbed.

    Now consider how to deal with a situation where you have an “attractor” (a deep valley) that attracts a system toward failure:

    The situation is precarious for the ball because it is near a hilltop that is a reinforcing loop.

    If the ball is nudged over the top, it will plummet to the bottom of the balancing-loop valley and be stuck there.

    It would take enormous effort raise the ball out of such an attractor—which might be financial collapse or civil war.

    Case’s solution is not to try to move the ball, MOVE THE HILLS—identify the feedback loops in the system and weaken or strengthen them as needed to make the unsolvable situation solvable, so that the desired condition becomes the dominant attractor.

    Now add two more characteristics of the real world—dense networks and chaos.

    They make possible the phenomena of emergence (a whole that is different than the sum of its parts) and evolution.

    Evolution is made of selection (managed by reinforcing and balancing loops) plus variation (unleashed by dense networks and chaos).

    You cannot control evolution and should not try—that way lies totalitarianism.

    Our ever popular over-emphasis on selection can lead to paralyzed systems—top-down autocratic governments and frozen businesses.

    Case urges attention to variation, harnessing networks and chaos from the bottom up via connecting various people from various fields, experimenting with lots of solutions, and welcoming a certain amount of randomness and play.

    “Design for evolution,” Case says, “and the system will surprise you with solutions you never thought of.”

    To do that, “Make chaos your friend.”

    —Stewart Brand

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  2. In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg: Game Theory

    The history of ideas discussed by Melvyn Bragg and guests including Philosophy, science, literature, religion and the influence these ideas have on us today.

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss game theory, the mathematical study of decision-making. Some of the games studied in game theory have become well known outside academia - they include the Prisoner’s Dilemma, an intriguing scenario popularised in novels and films. Today game theory is seen as an important tool in evolutionary biology, economics, computing and philosophy. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Ian Stewart, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick; Andrew Colman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Leicester and Richard Bradley, Professor of Philosophy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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  3. Could Gaming Be Good For You? : NPR Talk of the Nation

    What if games could help solve, rather than exacerbate, real-world problems? Jane McGonigal, author of the new book, Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, thinks they can. She explains how games fulfill needs that reality doesn’t, and how to make real life more like a game.

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  4. The Real Social Networks

    James’s new book, “Connected”… Unintentionally influencing your friend’s friend’s friend… How happiness is like the flu… Obesity spreads like an idea …… … but don’t try to lose weight by dumping your fat friends… An old shampoo commercial, voting, and Facebook pseudo-friends…

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  5. Game Theory

    Episode five of Another Five Numbers, the BBC radio series presented by Simon Singh.

    In 2000, the UK government received a windfall of around £23 billion from its auction of third generation (3G) mobile phone licences. This astronomical sum wasn’t the result of corporate bidders "losing their heads", but a careful strategy designed to maximise proceeds for the Treasury.

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