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Applying Nash Equilibrium models to decision making

In an old StarTrek episode the robot Nomad sailed the universe seeking life, and upon finding it, implemented the fatal PrimeDirective. It is imperative that our organizational mission statements comply with a negative PrimeDirective, which may be stated: "It is our mission to improve the conditions for life, to grow in the ability to nurture life, and to explore all realms possibly related to life, universally seeking to sustain biological diversity, to increase individual personal fulfillment, and to create a more stable, peaceful, and just society.

Already-proven engineering and ethical principals need to a greater degree be incorporated into the decision-making process. In particular, given its promise of finding optimal solutions, it is key that Nash Equilibrium models are used to form the daily decisions that determine how limited resources are spent, thus optimizing scientific research and economic prosperity. Great care must be made in structuring and reviewing the decision-making and implementation processes so that they, to borrow from perl philosophy, "do the right thing", quantifying and transparently reporting each step along the way, and flexibly accepting feedback without losing sight of the overall goal. It is a challenge and responsibility to build such a system, and we are fortunate that John Nash has already blazed the trail.

Submitted by 4 years ago

Comments (2)

  1. Allan,

    I like how you think. Can you provide links to John Nash?

    But it may be too organized for a culture in D.C. where short-term, reactive thinking is rewarded more than organized and methodical. Expediency is normal in D.C., so they don't even realize it.

    Anyone can join the continuing OpenGov discussions:

    http://opengsa.ideascale.com/a/dtd/35579-6960

    vr, Stephen Buckley

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  2. allan.sauter Idea Submitter

    I have faith that people everywhere, even in DC can act with a higher intelligence than dinosaurs. It's pretty apparent that an engineering approach would have some advantages over one of pure reaction. Here's the book I'd recommend:

    The Essential John Nash, Ed. Harold W. Kuhn & Sylvia Nasar - Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-09527-2

    In particular, CH. 4: The Bargaining Problem is a simple set-theory explanation of win/win optimizations. I'm not a mathematician, but still found it pretty easy to follow. I think it'd be kind of fun to write a little program to crank out the optimum solutions, given a set

    of votes.

    Applying this system to more and more things in government will be an ethical challenge - care must be taken to make it fun (sounds like a contradiction, doesn't it?) no need to worry about getting it right the

    first time. It's virtually guaranteed to improve if transparent iteration is encouraged.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed

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