Back to LessWrong

Epistemic prisoner's dilemma

From Lesswrongwiki

Jump to: navigation, search

The epistemic prisoner's dilemma is a variant on the classic prisoner's dilemma problem in game theory. In the epistemic prisoner's dilemma, the players have different payoffs from asymmetrical outcomes due to differences in their beliefs.

In the original formulation, a village has been struck by an epidemic and its two doctors disagree on the disease. The first doctor believes with confidence >99% that the disease is malaria; the second believes with similar confidence that the disease is bird flu. An authority absolutely trusted by both doctors takes them to separate rooms and offers each a choice: to the doctor who believes the disease is malaria, he offers a choice between 10,000 units of bird flu medication and 5,000 units of malaria medication; to the doctor who believes the disease is bird flu, he offers a choice between 5,000 units of bird flu medication and 10,000 units of malaria medication.

Unless each doctor incorporates the other's beliefs into his/her own, or the doctors' choices are known to be correlated, game theory would dictate that each defect. This would lead to there only being 5,000 units available for the true disease, rather than the 10,000 or 15,000 that might be available otherwise.

Blog posts

See also