Self Interest and Cooperation in Racing

It's the last 5 miles of a race, and you're off the front with another rider. The peloton is a ways behind, but closing. The rider urges you to work with him to stay away. You have no idea which of you is the stronger sprinter. What move do you make? Cooperate fully? Stay on his wheel, hope the peloton doesn't catch you, and try to beat him in the sprint? But what if he tries to stay on your wheel?

This is a a case of Prisoner Dilemma

Two suspected accomplices are arrested by the police and held in separate sections of the jail. The police don't have enough evidence to convict either suspect, so they approach each with a proposition: (1) If one testifies against the other and the other stays quiet, the betrayer goes free,and the other gets a 10-years lockup .

(2) If both stay quiet, they both get 6 months in the

(3) If each testifies against the other, they'll both get 5-year sentences. Each must
choose without knowing what the other will do, and each knows that the other is being offered an identical deal.

If we define the “dominant” strategy in this situation as the one which maximizes your personal gain no matter what your accomplice does, then clearly the dominant strategy is… betrayal. If you knew the other prisoner would stay silent, you go free by betraying. If you knew the other prisoner would betray you, you'd get a lighter sentence by betraying him, too. So logically, rationally, you’d choose betrayal, right? But you don't know what your accomplice will do. And thus, the dilemma.
Because if he uses the same reasoning, you're both hosed: you'll both betray, and you'll both end up spending 5 years in Sungai Buloh prison. Which we might call Mutually Assured Destruction, or being caught by the peloton, as the case may be. If only both of you had been irrational – or should I say, trusting? – and cooperated with each other. You’d be out in 6 months. Or on the podium.

More Need that Greed?

Every cycling situation is a iterated Prisoner's Dilemma
It’s about enlightened selfinterest, interdependence, being of service, and teamwork. You’re still going after what you need the most, and you’re being supported in doing that. And, you’re doing the same for others. To ride
that way, it’s important to have, find, and build your cycling integrity; it’s important to balance selfinterest and cooperation or a Tit for Tat move.

at Friday, March 28, 2008  


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