Game Theory Innovation Challenge

February 8, 2012
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Student Reflection - February 7, 2012

During this challenge, it became apparent that the games were designed so that two teams cooperating would increase their chance of winning. However, the games were also designed so that tricking another group into thinking that you were cooperating with them and then betraying them would increase your chance of winning even more. The danger of betrayal was so great that although our group debated and even agreed upon cooperating several times, we always took the safe route and “cheated” our opponents.

The problem with collaborating was that as soon as both teams agreed to collaborate, selfishly writing “cheat” down became the only logical course because it maximized the gain (4 cards instead of 2) while minimizing loss (1 card instead of 0). This “selfishness” was evident in the card auction, where opposing teams wiped out each other’s allowances. We could then bid for the last few cards with little competition. The reason collaboration is possible in real life is that the potential gain of collaboration often far outweighs the possible loss involved because tasks such as running an organization or engaging in scientific research are impossible without widespread collaboration.

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