A Game That Explains Why Nobody Trusts Each Other Anymore
The Evolution of Trust is an interactive presentation by Nicky Case that explores cheating and cooperation. The short narrative experience attempts to explain the rise of mistrust and suspicion in today’s society through the lens of game theory. It’s fascinating, and it’s this week’s Indie Pick.
The Christmas Truce of 1914 was a remarkable show of charity, as soldiers from World War One laid down their arms and turned battlefields into soccer pitches. Recent attempts to recreate this event in Battlefield 1 failed. Figuring out exactly what made the truce possible is a central question of The Evolution of Trust.
To answer this question, Case proposes a thought experiment. There is a machine where two players are meant to insert coins. If both insert one coin, each get two in return. However, if one player withholds their coin and the other inserts their own, the cheater gets three coins instead. If both cheat, they get nothing. What is the optimal strategy? Cheating. There’s everything to gain and nothing to lose.