Barry Nalebuff Explains the Prisoner’s Dilemma

Question: What is the origin of the Prisoner’s Dilemma?

Barry Nalebuff: The Prisoner’s Dilemma goes back to two researchers at  RAND, Merrill Flood and Melvin Dresher and it’s a classic story; you’ve seen God knows how many movies.

You interrogate two prisoners separately and the idea is that anyone who confesses is given some leniency, provided they confess first. And, of course, if neither of the two confesses. I have limited evidence against them so they do pretty well. And if they both confess, then the immunity isn’t worth anything.

However, each one is afraid that the other one is going to confess and so therefore confesses, and the police get all the information that they want.

This also raises a couple of things, one that the outcome of the game, in this case confess-confess, can be good or bad from the player’s perspectives, depending on who you are. If you are the prisoners, well, then it’s a disaster. If you are the police or society, it can be a good thing.

We see this with OPEC. The question is, how much oil that any one country choose to bring to the market. And it’s almost the case, no matter what quantities other members of OPEC supply, each one wants to put more on. And then, of course, when everyone does put more, the cartel is much less effective.

 

Recorded on: Oct 2, 2008

Barry Nalebuff explains game theory’s most famous corollary.

'Deep Nostalgia' AI brings old photos to life through animation

Using machine-learning technology, the genealogy company My Heritage enables users to animate static images of their relatives.

Deep Nostalgia/My Heritage
Technology & Innovation
  • Deep Nostalgia uses machine learning to animate static images.
  • The AI can animate images by "looking" at a single facial image, and the animations include movements such as blinking, smiling and head tilting.
  • As deepfake technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, some are concerned about how bad actors might abuse the technology to manipulate the pubic.
Keep reading Show less

When does an idea die? Plato and string theory clash with data

How long should one wait until an idea like string theory, seductive as it may be, is deemed unrealistic?

Credit: araelf / Matthieu / Big Think via Adobe Stock
13-8
  • How far should we defend an idea in the face of contrarian evidence?
  • Who decides when it's time to abandon an idea and deem it wrong?
  • Science carries within it its seeds from ancient Greece, including certain prejudices of how reality should or shouldn't be.
Keep reading Show less

Physicist creates AI algorithm that may prove reality is a simulation

A physicist creates an AI algorithm that predicts natural events and may prove the simulation hypothesis.

Credit: Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • Princeton physicist Hong Qin creates an AI algorithm that can predict planetary orbits.
  • The scientist partially based his work on the hypothesis which believes reality is a simulation.
  • The algorithm is being adapted to predict behavior of plasma and can be used on other natural phenomena.
Keep reading Show less

Can you still spread coronavirus after getting the vaccine?

The vaccine will shorten the "shedding" time.

Fredrik Lerneryd/Getty Images
Coronavirus
Editor's note: So you've gotten your coronavirus vaccine, waited the two weeks for your immune system to respond to the shot and are now fully vaccinated.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast