purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (agents)
I spent the last week in Taiwan at AAMAS 2011 and thought I'd do my usual thing of randomly blogging about bits of various talks that peaked my interest.

Game Theory under the Cut )

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/41160.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (agents)
I spent the last week in Taiwan at AAMAS 2011 and thought I'd do my usual thing of randomly blogging about bits of various talks that peaked my interest.

Game Theory under the Cut )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (aisb)
This is the last experimental game theory talk I'm going to precis - but it was a fascinating session and an area I'd not come across before.

This talk was by local man, Juergen Bracht. The "trust game" is one which involves an investor and an allocator. The investor starts with 2 points and can keep them or invest them. If (s)he invests them they automatically grow to 8 pts which the allocator can then either keep entirely for themselves or split between the investor and the allocator. Juegen was interested in the effects of two processes on the trust game. The first, "cheap talk", was where the allocator was allowed to tell the investor what they intended to do with the points in advance, but was not held to that utterance. The second, "observation", was where the investor had access to the allocator's previous actions.

Unsurprisingly, especially since the interaction was computer mediated, not face-to-face, cheap talk had little effect on investor or allocator actions. Less surprisingly observation did have an effect (except in the last round - where both investor and allocator knew it was the last round). The reason I say "less surprisingly" is became in pure game theoretic terms the reasoning goes: in the last round the allocator should keep all the points since no one will ever use the outcome of the round in an observation, therefore the investor should not invest their points. This being the case the second-to-last round is the last one where anyone will invest so the allocator should keep all the points since no one will ever use the outcome of the round in an observation, therefore the investor should not invest their points. This being the case... and so on so no one ever invests anything... Clearly classical game theory needs some rethinking if we expect it to realistically model human actions.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (aisb)
Sobei H. Oda (together with co-authors, Gen Masumoto and Hiroyasu Yoneda) had been simulating the (I think) Future's market. In particular he had been testing the hypothesis that you make more money if you have better information about the future price of a commodity. He had a graph that showed the people with no information doing a little better than those with just a little information. The people with lots of information still did best. He had some maths to explain this, which it must be said I didn't follow, but I thought it was an interesting effect.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (aisb)
Vincent Wiegel presented joint work with Jan van den Berg investigating a criticism of a philosophical standpoint called act utilitarianism (contrasted to rule utilitarianism).

Roughly speaking, an act utilitarian evaluates each action, as they occur, in order to decide the utility of acting while a rule utilitarian acts according to a general rule about the utility. The thought experiment used to debunk act utilitarianism was that of an election. In a population of 100 an act utilitarian only votes if they are the 51st person to vote for their preferred candidate in all other situations they gain more utility by going and doing something else more interesting. Wiegel and van den Berg simulated this situation computationally. Obviously first they had some issues about why an act utilitarian might conclude they get utility only by being the 51st person to vote and of course, how they might determine that they have the deciding vote. Interestingly, when they varied their assumptions a bit so that act utilitarians only voted if they had reason to believe they were in the range of the 46th - 56th voter (or similar) - i.e., that their vote was likely to decisive then they did very well frequently getting the outcome they wished in an election while getting to do other more interesting things when the outcome was essentially a foregone conclusion anyway.

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