In memory of John Nash, may I share with you my M.A.D. gun - something I have been thinking about a lot, even today before I learned of John Nash's death. My ideas come not directly from him, but from Thomas Schelling - another economics game theory laureate, this time in the area of cold war nuclear deterrents . I was at his lecture in 2005: the same year that paradoxically the I.A.E.A. got the Nobel peace prize "for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to .." The M.A.D. gun. What if (just say) all firearms, all guns, had two barrels: one that shot your target - your adversary; and the other - at the same time - shot you. So, to use it, would mean you both die (or at least you die trying). Question is, would it ever be used? No, but you could argue: yes it would - to save the (your) group. Well then, make a bigger gun - scale it up - so you get the group too. A cold war, nuclear stand off - as we still have (of sorts)
Showing posts from May, 2015
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By Blair Macdonald on
A great mind died today, a Newton of our time. His idea 'the Nash Equilibrium' offers explanation to likes of why we do not need deities to explain why we’re good (or not) to each other; why in the 69 (soon 70) years of nuclear weapons - all the many thousands of them - they’ve only been used twice in anger (that is amazing!); and even why Sweden didn’t get invaded during WWII, its global monopoly on the ball bearing was so important to both sides, any conflict on its soils would be a lose-lose outcome for both sides – a Nash Equilibrium, fight your battle some where else, not Sweden. There are many more, and I love spotting them. It seems ironic he died in a car: one of the simplest examples of a Nash equilibrium is the explanation as to why we drive on one side of the road, and not both.