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Understanding Human Cooperation
Transcript of Understanding Human Cooperation
Cooperation and conflict are key for understanding the organisation and complexity of biological systems
There is no
at a higher organisational level
Natural selection then infers that cooperation
in isolated groups
Selfish individuals limit their expected fitness by
groups have selective
over non-cooperative groups,
and thus members of more cooperative groups get to reproduce.
Prototype ready this year
But future additions can bring the project up to around 3 years
Firstly, we will be able to make a strong contribution to the scientific understanding of social evolution.
Secondly, we hope that you will
develop skills as programmer,
and get some ideas for games or apps.
Games are developing as a medium for exploring the
in a way that other mediums can not
Cooperation and conflict
Independence and collaboration
Welfare and sacrifice
Individual and the collective
Chaos and order
are two sides of the same coin
from getting help from others
But also pay a
to help others
individuals get help for free
At the level of a single group
At the level of multiple groups
Groups can compete over resources
The spinning of the
coin drives an
...that allows genes to
with each other...
... to form chromosomes.
between chromosomes encourages them to
... complex cells.
But the story doesn't end here, because
amongst groups of cells can lead to the evolution of...
... multicellular organisms, like you!
But multicellular organisms can also be in
, and you can see where this is going...
... to the formation of
We can follow this chain all the way from families, to villages, clans, tribes, cities, countries, multi-national agencies and onwards, but you probably get the point by now.
But just to make sure...
must be able to
if the behaviour is to
So the social
, or interaction network of a group is important
is often not imposed by the environment, but
, by the behaviour of individuals.
These are the rules for
Conway's Game of Life
Cells can be
at a given time-step,
in the next time step
depends only on the
of surrounding cells.
... can result in the
of complex organisation and
of the entire
The point being:
Complex population structures can be determined by individual level decisions.
Which is important from an
point of view,
will be acting on
Now things start getting really interesting...
At the individual level we have...
behaviour can evolve...
... which influence whether or not...
... behaviours that
... which then affects the payoffs of...
OK, that's cool, but science doesn't yet understand anything about what goes on here.
If you remember all that stuff about the importance of
... the question we want to ask is:
affect the relationship between
Our lab group has performed some
into the relationship between
People really did
when their group was in
with another compared to when their group was alone.
'We have to work together to beat the other team!'
When people were given the
of how to interact with other
they mostly chose to
Let's get those guys!
But there's still much more to understand.
So here's what we want to do...
We begin with...
Take a group of individuals and give them some money.
Allow them to invest this money in a
, or to keep it in a
All the money in the public good then gets multiplied
and shared equally among all group members.
The implication being that you can see two kinds of players:
who paid a personal cost
to invest in the public good,
get the benefits
at no cost.
There exists a
Keep money to self,
which is the economically rational and safe thing to do, or
and stand to get lots of money providing everyone else cooperates as well.
get higher payoffs than
in any group,
but as the number of
increases so to do the benefits received through cooperation.
Now, we give players three decisions
1. The size of group that they want to join
They can choose to act alone,
or be part of a small group.
Smaller groups tend to be more cooperative,
by the way.
Or perhaps they prefer to be part of a larger group.
There can be safety in numbers, after all.
2. How much to invest in the public good
All for one and one for all!
Screw you all!
3. Vote on how to interact with other groups
We used to do experiments with
people using computers
in a lab like this.
But we're going to need lots of people in this experiment, and these labs are too small.
Which is where we need your help!
Can you join the team
and help get this game onto tablets?
From a control flow perspective,
things won't be too complicated.
But we're going to need an
It needs to be
for the user,
anything that will
And of course, we need the back-end to be
This will involve
players into groups, based on their preferences.
And ones that resolve within and between
Because we are doing science,
And we need programs that provide us
with everything we need,
in a way that is easy to manage,
so we can do our analysis.
The tablets and game must also be
We're going to require some
Future additions like incorporating
So what's in it for you?
and the game involved in our project touches upon some pretty heavy
The game also has some interesting aspects from a
point of view:
Well, learning and development, for one.
Then there's the economic incentive.
Full time and part time jobs available.
Also, we would be interested in developing the game from laboratory software to a commercially viable game.
The lab software may also be valuable on the market, because public goods games are used by thousands of scientists from around the world.
So what will be the overall outcomes?
This has important implications for understanding group living organisms, collective behaviour and the hierarchy of life.
This will also constitute research into complex systems, and the important dynamics that can take place within them.
And who knows where this project might lead to?
A new market product perhaps?
Sign up today!
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