Re: poly: How to buy shared secrets cheap

From: Nick Bostrom <>
Date: Sat Feb 28 1998 - 16:31:28 PST

Robin Hanson wrote:

> The serious problem is that experiments show people deviating from
> standard game theory predictions in similar games.

Couldn't that be fixed by giving both the suspects (assuming they
are intelligent enough) a couple tutorials on game theory before the
process begins?

Another serious problem is the possibility of retaliation, so that
the criminal who didn't told may want to avenge the unfair play by
his companion. I think arrangements for punishing people who
cooperate with the police are not uncommon among some types of
criminals. And at least in the original context of our discussion--
the future of privacy -- it seems plausible that people who want have
secrets with people they don't trust could make some kind of
arrangement to have anybody who tells punished.

Also, I don't see clearly how the suggested proceedure is an
improvement over the usual prisoners' dilemma. There too, each
criminal maximizes his own utility by telling, assuming there is no
retaliation or future encounters etc.

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
London School of Economics
Received on Sun Mar 1 00:36:55 1998

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