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Game Theory in Action in a Game Show


(Video Link)


This scenario isn't the Prisoner's Dilemma, but it's similar. The host of Golden Balls explains:

Ibrahim, Nick, you have two final golden balls in front of you and they are the most important golden balls of the game. You each have a golden ball with the word 'Split' written inside. You both have a ball with the word 'Steal' written inside. You will know which is Split and which is Steal because you're going to have a look. If you both pick the Split ball, you split the £13,600 and you go home with £6,800 each. If one of you chooses the Steal ball and the other chooses the Split ball whoever chooses the Steal ball goes home with the whole lot -- £13,600. But if you both choose the Steal ball, you leave today's game with what you came with: nothing. It's the ultimate test of faith, trust and -- let's face it -- greed. Take a moment to look at the balls in front of you so know for definite which is Split and which is Steal.


Nick immediately announces his intentions. Do you think that he chose wisely?

-via Althouse

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Wow. Nick directly got to the core of the matter, namely that it's a thing of trust, and he encoded it accordingly for his opponent by instantly picking (well, announcing to pick) the worst outcome and just directly asking Ibrahim to trust him. What a brilliant solution to the dilemma! Well, not a solution, but rather a nifty little "deciding aid" for his opponent. Nice to see a con turn out in a way that benefits both the conman and his "victim".

I wonder if Nick was familiar with game theory or if it just was the first solution that intuitively occurred to him. If it's the latter, that would really be remarkable, wouldn't it?
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