February 13, 2008

Nice Guys Finish First

This is a short film Richard Dawkins did for the BBC in 1987. Considering the era in which it was filmed, I find the argument he makes compelling.



Josh said...

Great video. I studied a bit of game theory and the prisoner dilemma in college... interesting stuff.

One problem the video doesn't touch on his human error and perception. A computer program will always get it right, but if two people were both following the tit for tat rule, one wrong perception or mistake leading to a single deception would cause a downward spiral of non stop deception. That seems to happen quite a bit in real life actually. That's where we need to use reason ;)

Michael said...

The film doesn't touch on a number of things, human error of course being one of them. I will say that when you look at the big picture, human error plays both a significant and a minor role in our lives. We have progressed in the face of innumerable mistakes; I would say that our culture is almost designed to expose and marginalize mistakes and errors.

The tit for tat system obviously is an unrealistically idealistic proposition; I, and Richard Dawkins embrace the idea that drives tit for tat: cooperation is ultimately the only successful and moral way of existing.