Re: virus: Ruling and Power

David McFadzean (
Tue, 12 Sep 1995 09:54:06 -0600

At 09:21 PM 9/11/95 -0700, Twirlip of Greymist wrote:

>/evolutionary strategy. However, you have to trust your estimate of the
>/likelihood of ruling successfully because as a ruler you automatically
>/become a target to outsiders as well as those who thirst for power under
>/your rule.
>Certainly. But taking this gamble can be quite rational.

It is actually a fairly simple expected value calculation using
decision analysis. Say the subjective value of inaction has a
baseline of 0, the value is ruling is Vr (>0) and the value of
being deposed is Vd (<0). Given the estimated probability of
being deposed Pd, and of ruling unopposed Pr = 1-Pd, then you
should rationally attempt to rule iff

-Vr/Vd > Pd/(1-Pd)

The real problem lies in estimating values for the variables.

>/As above "Do unto others ..."
>That's an assumed axiom. Not at all self-evident.

It's an empirical law if you interpret the tit-for-tat strategy
in the iterated prisoners dilemma as a game theoretic representation
of the Golden Rule.

>What's your conception of rational justification? By the evolutionary
>principles of Virus any race, anything remotely alive, can conceivably
>be a threat in the long run, merely by engaging in unlimited growth and
>eventually "needing" the resources taken up by my existence.

I think most of your resources *are* other living things, at least
indirectly. If all life on Earth vanished except for you, how long
would you survive?

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Merak Projects Ltd.