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mmg's picture


My natural instinct was to compete. For some reason, the prospect of "serendip already choosing his move" and a fiendish cyberspace wizard "watching" over me put me into combat mode. I tied with serendip six  few times, lost twice, and won twice. The game, I felt just kept sucking me in, and to begin with I really wanted to win, just to prove the my human brain can come up with a way to destroy something created by another brain physiologically similar to mine. Soon though I realised the apparent foolishness in my desire. This game was just as random as anything could get. It is about probability. There is a 1/3 chance you will win, a 1/3 chance you both will 'half-win' and a 1/3 chance neither of you will every time you play. For some reason this reminded me of my genetics class last year. When there is a cross between two dominant heterozygous alleles for a particular trait, there is a 1/4 chance of getting each genotype possible with the combination. Say the traits are a cross between Aa and Aa, we get AA, Aa, aA and aa. Yet, Aa and aA are essentially the same - the co-operation of the two kinds of alleles. The prisoner's dilemma to me is pretty much genetic inheritance.


Last year, when I was in boarding school, my room mate and I got into a 'fight' which involved us not to speaking to one another for five days. (We happen to be best friends, so that was hard). Both of us refused to initiate any sort of ceasefire. We cleaned our rooms every Sunday, and being that we were still in school, our dorm parent came in to check in on our rooms then. My 'prisoner's dilemma' involved around whether I should clean my room on my own or not clean it at all. There was a possibility that my room mate would clean it eventually, but she might not too, seeing as I hadn't cleaned it either. Given that we were in war, I did not want to wave any sort of white flag and do her part of the cleaning! Yet, if neither of us cleaned the room, it wouldn't go down too well with my dorm parent, to say the least. I ended up cleaning half of the room and noticed that my room mate did the other half. Even in war, we 'co-operated'. No, we did not start speaking soon after that.



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