Algorithms of Cooperation

access_time September 09, 2020 at 01:00PM até September 09, 2020 at 03:00PM e September 09, 2020 at 01:00PM até September 10, 2020 at 03:00PM

One hundred and fifty years following the publication of Darwin’s “The Origin of Species”, the emergence of cooperative action remains one of the biggest challenges that science is facing at present, recently classified as one of the top scientific problems for the 21st century by Science’s invited panel of Scientists. From the emergence of multi-cellularity, to the evolution of social behaviour in humans, climate action and managing of global pandemics, many problems may be formulated as challenges of cooperation, fascinating mathematicians, philosophers, biologists, computer scientists, and economists alike, to name a few. Adopting the terminology resulting from the seminal work of Hamilton, Trivers, and Wilson, cooperation can be defined as a costly behavior that provides a greater benefit to another individual (or group of individuals). In this context, even for the simplest living organisms, the pervasiveness of cooperation is a theoretical paradox difficult to explain, although all so often observed in reality. Darwin even referred cooperation as “one special difficulty, which first appeared to me insuperable, and actually fatal to my theory”. If evolution is characterized by competition and the survival of the fittest, why should selfish unrelated individuals cooperate with each other? The same question arises among humans. Why humans share resources, engage in joint enterprises, or should nurture the generations to come? In all cases, the immediate advantage of free riding, can drive the population into the tragedy of the commons, the famous Hardin’s doomsday scenario of widespread defection. Thus, it is not only challenging to understand the mechanisms underlying the emergence of cooperation in nature and societies, but also daring to apply our current understanding of Human cooperation to foster pro-sociality in situations in which cooperation remains astray. The last decades have witnessed the discovery of several core mechanisms leading to the emergence, promotion and maintenance of cooperation at different levels of organization. Many species (e.g., social insects) rely on genetic and group ties to portray admirable levels of cooperation. By contrast, Humans found their way to cooperation beyond related individuals, developing complex mechanisms of reciprocity, social networking, signaling, commitments, sanctions and (sanctioning) Institutions, and social norms, among others. This talent for cooperation forms one of the cornerstones of human society, and is, as such, also largely responsible for Human’s unprecedented success.

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