Dec 14, 2010

The Prisoner's Dilemma

In our episode The Good Show, we wrestle with the question of whether natural selection inherently favors selfish behavior. Is the process of evolutionary competion cruel, or does it sometimes pay to be nice?

One way to approach this question is to consider a scenario known as the prisoner's dilemma--a problem in game theory that illustrates the advantages and disadvantages of cooperation. In the final section of The Good Show, Jad and Robert take a stab at the prisoner's dilemma, and ask whether there are circumstances in which even selfish people are inclined to work together. Listen to "One Good Deed Deserves Another" here. And if you want to test your own strategic mettle, we ran across an online version of the prisoner's dilemma.

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