The Evolution of Cooperation PDF Summary


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Originally published at: https://blog.12min.com/the-evolution-of-cooperation-pdf-summary/

The Evolution of Cooperation PDFThe Way to Successful Leadership


It can be said with some confidence that developing into a self-motivated and compassionate leader requires mental resilience.

Not all individuals can cope with the burden that derives from such responsible decision-making.

In this book summary, we try to use the Prisoner’s Dilemma matrix to encapsulate the author’s main findings.

Who Should Read “The Evolution of Cooperation”? And Why?

People are social creatures, and as such we are compelled to get together with other individuals who share the same moral values. Getting to know the other, is, in fact, understanding yourself.

Cooperation is neither modern nor stylish term. It originates from the ancient gatherings of the Stone Age, where groups tried to improve their chances of survival by collectivizing their efforts.

A movement with one accord is proving to be harder than we imagined.

The Evolution of Cooperation” gives some thoughts on this problematic, and that’s why it’s perfect for managers and leaders in the making.

About Robert Axelrod

Robert AxelrodRobert Marshall Axelrod is a renowned American political scientist born on May 27, 1943. Currently, he is a professor at the University of Michigan and the author of several books.

In 1964, Axelrod obtained his B.A. in mathematics from the University of Chicago, and five years later he received his Ph.D. from Yale University.

"The Evolution of Cooperation PDF Summary"

Truly, we couldn’t help but notice that cooperation emerges in various forms, depending on the environmental factors.

Robert loves to use real-live vivid examples to give a brief explanation on how collaboration or alliance can change.

Have you ever been heartbroken because the partner didn’t appreciate your efforts? Do you have a hard time when it comes to aligning personal agenda with company’s objectives? Is it worth it to show compassion and kindness to those who are not willing to repay the favor?

The discrimination of others may be among the most important of abilities because it allows one to handle interactions with many individuals without having to treat them all the same, thus making possible the rewarding of cooperation from one individual and the punishing of defection from another
What advice would you give to other people? Or if you want to take the matter even further – How should a country react to Blitzkrieg – a hostile invasion without a declaration of war?

To drive this point home further, it’s best if you learn the ropes of Prisoner’s Dilemma matrix. It’s a simple 2 row and 2 column visual graphic that forms four equal adjoining boxes.

Evidently, each of these boxes represents a different case or scenario that illustrate an outcome inherent in such circumstances:

  • Box 1: Cooperation column and cooperation row – The first box manifests the highest form of cooperation, and in doing so – each player receives 3 points for its efforts.
  • Box 2: Defection column and cooperation row – The second box entirely differs from the first one on the ground that unity is not always the best solution. The column player decides to abandon the coalition, but the row participants strive for cooperation. In doing so, the row player receives zero points, and then defecting column player win the game by accumulating 5 points.
  • Box 3: Cooperation column and defection row – This box, in fact, represent the inversive process of the previous box. The column player now is pressing for cooperation and the row player chooses to seize the momentum and defect. The winner is the row player with 5 points, and the column player goes home empty-handed.
  • Box 4: Defection column and defection row – In the last case scenario where both players decide to defect and go on their own, each of the participants receives P – which stands for punishment. They both get one point.
As the process exhibits, the game awards the players based on their decision during the show. However, the worst part is that the participants can manipulate the system.

For instance, if the game is played once, both players will logically choose defection to accrue the benefits of one-time play.

If the play is extended to several rounds, the decision-making becomes more rational. If the participants settle upon the idea of embracing cooperation, they will maximize their points!

So, the ground to make split second-decisions shifts due to the intensity and continuance of the game. Taking advantage of cooperative strategy breaks the chains of ego-centric approach.

This logic indicates that both of the players would want to amplify the beneficial side of the deal until the game reaches its end.

Investors know that every penny that is not included in the endless cash flow process loses its value. The same logic goes for Prisoner’s Dilemma because participants prefer immediate payoffs over future ones. Nonetheless, the value of the reward is not calculated in such manner.

By taking all these elements into account, a person might be thrown off balance. So, what’s the best strategy an iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma of infinite time?

To get the big picture, researchers organized a contest and invited renowned figures from all spheres of influence including psychology, math, sociology, to give their contribution to the project.

All of them were obligated to propose computer programs that can overshadow the other one. Out of 14 candidates, Tit for Tat was announced the winner. A professor from the University of Toronto – Anatol Rapoport was the inventor of the program.

Tit for Tat is a simple, and technologically advanced program that functions in a highly unique fashion. It starts with cooperation, as the main move that symbolizes a good fighting spirit.

Next up, the program emulates the movements of other computer applications, making it literally impossible to outsmart it.

What accounts for TIT FOR TAT’s robust success is its combination of being nice, retaliatory, forgiving, and clear.
The 20th century will always remain in history as the bloodiest era of human progress. Let’s jump into World War I and examine the activity at the Western Front where troops from both sides used this cooperative push to gain some momentum.

Staying in trenches for months and fighting the opposing side fiercely for few inches of the territory was their daily routine. What came as a surprise that German or Allied soldiers would walk right into the enemy’s shooting range, but the soldiers would ceasefire.

A new world – driven by the endless fire of cooperation and mutual understanding.

Key Lessons from "The Evolution of Cooperation"

1. The horrors and miracles of World War I 2. Tit for Tat came out on top 3. Anticipate the flow of the game

The horrors and miracles of World War I

Even in war times, the cooperation emerged in a spontaneous manner. Along the entire Western, Front soldiers refused to take part in massive killings and strived for reconciliation.

This serves as a proof that cooperation is a powerful strategy that is widely underestimated.

Tit for Tat came out on top

As it turns out, Tit for Tat won the game by a mile – and earned 504 points in a 200 move tournament. It would be ignorant to criticize other programs because pretty much all of them proved its effectiveness onto the battlefield.

Anticipate the flow of the game

The inability to judge the course of the contest makes the participant more aversive towards cooperation and more eager to embrace defection.

In general, everyone would agree that indefinite time-frame is a down-to-earth scenario.

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"The Evolution of Cooperation Quotes"

[bctt tweet="Based upon the tournament results and the formal propositions, four simple suggestions are offered for individual choice: do not be envious of the other player’s success; do not be the first to defect; reciprocate both cooperation and defection, and do not be too clever." username="get12min"]

[bctt tweet=“Reciprocity is certainly not a good basis for a morality of aspiration. Yet it is more than just the morality of egoism.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“It is not an exaggeration to say that reciprocity is a way of life in the Senate.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“If the other player is not likely to be seen again, defecting right away is better than being nice.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“For cooperation to prove stable, the future must have a sufficiently large shadow.” username=“get12min”]

Our Critical Review

Even though this book was firstly published in 1984, it’s preserved its glow and status over the years. As an evergreen topic, no one can take away its worth.

We had the honors of indulging in such amazing reading-time and advise you to do the same.