Non zero sum relationship definition in science

What is non zero sum game? definition and meaning -

non zero sum relationship definition in science

This creates a non-zero-sum situation in which high grades are an The psychological and economic sciences have a long tradition of . People could thus be relatively over-aware that gains by some mean might mean losses to others, .. “Instrumental relations among groups: group competition, conflict. Non-zero-sum synonyms, Non-zero-sum pronunciation, Non-zero-sum translation, English dictionary definition of Non-zero-sum. adj. an op-ed hailing a new era of non-zero-sum foreign relations, and watch the media and the administration. To the extent that their interests do overlap, their relationship is non-zero-sum; the outcome can be win-win or lose-lose, depending on how they play the game.

With his concept of the "noosphere," the "thinking envelope of the Earth," Teilhard even anticipated in a vague way the Internet—more than a decade before the invention of the microchip. Can the trends rightly noted by Bergson and Teilhard—basic tendencies in biological evolution and in the technological and social evolution of the human species—be explained in scientific, physical terms?

I think so; that is largely what this book is about. But the concreteness of the explanation needn't, I believe, wholly drain these patterns of the spiritual content that Bergson and Teilhard imputed to them. If directionality is built into life--if life naturally moves toward a particular end—then this movement legitimately invites speculation about what did the building.

And the invitation is especially strong, I'll argue, in light of the phase of human history that seems to lie immediately ahead—a social, political, and even moral culmination of sorts.

As readers not drawn to theological questions will be delighted to hear, such speculation constitutes a small portion of this book: Mostly this book is about how we got where we are today, and what this tells us about where we're heading next. Unlike Francis Crick, I can't claim to have discovered the secret I'm touting. It was discovered—or, if you prefer, invented—about half a century ago by the founders of game theory, John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern.

non zero sum relationship definition in science

They made a basic distinction between "zero-sum" games and "non-zero-sum" games. In zero-sum games, the fortunes of the players are inversely related. In tennis, in chess, in boxing, one contestant's gain is the other's loss. In non-zero-sum games, one player's gain needn't be bad news for the other s.

non zero sum relationship definition in science

Indeed, in highly non-zero-sum games the players' interests overlap entirely. Inwhen the three Apollo 13 astronauts were trying to figure out how to get their stranded spaceship back to earth, they were playing an utterly non-zero-sum game, because the outcome would be either equally good for all of them or equally bad.

It was equally good. Back in the real world, things are usually not so clear-cut. A merchant and a customer, two members of a legislature, two childhood friends sometimes—but not always—find their interests overlapping. To the extent that their interests do overlap, their relationship is non-zero-sum; the outcome can be win-win or lose-lose, depending on how they play the game.

Zero-Sum Games and Win-Win/Lose-Lose Situations Compared in One Minute

Occasionally, evolutionary biologists do the same in looking at the way various living systems work. My contention is that, if we want to see what drives the direction of both human history and organic evolution, we should apply this perspective more systematically. Interaction among individual genes, or cells, or animals, among interest groups, or nations, or corporations, can be viewed through the lenses of game theory.

"Relationships are a zero sum game" is an evolutionarily impossible phenomenon. : PurplePillDebate

What follows is a survey of human history, and of organic history, with those lenses in place. My hope is to illuminate a kind of force—the non-zero-sum dynamic—that has crucially shaped the unfolding of life on earth so far.

The survey of organic history is brief, and the survey of human history not so brief. Human history, after all, is notoriously messy.

non zero sum game

But I don't think it's nearly as messy as it's often made out to be. Indeed, even if you start the survey back when the most complex society on earth was a hunter-gatherer village, and follow it up to the present, you can capture history's basic trajectory by reference to a core pattern: New technologies arise that permit or encourage new, richer forms of non-zero-sum interaction; then for intelligible reasons grounded ultimately in human nature social structures evolve that realize this rich potential—that convert non-zero-sum situations into positive sums.

Thus does social complexity grow in scope and depth. This isn't to say that non-zero-sum games always have win-win outcomes rather than lose-lose outcomes. Nor is it to say that the powerful and the treacherous never exploit the weak and the naive; parasitic behavior is often possible in non-zero-sum games, and history offers no shortage of examples.

Still, on balance, over the long run, non-zero-sum situations produce more positive sums than negative sums, more mutual benefit than parasitism. As a result, people become embedded in larger and richer webs of interdependence. This basic sequence--the conversion of non-zero-sum situations into mostly positive sums—had started happening at least as early as 15, years ago.

Then it happened again. I don't mean to minimize the interesting details that populate most history books: Sumerian kings, barbarian hordes, medieval knights, the Protestant Reformation, nascent nationalism, and so on.

In fact, I try to give all of these their due along with such too-often-neglected exemplars of the human experience as native American hunter-gatherers, Polynesian chiefdoms, Islamic commercial innovations, African kingdoms, Aztec justice, and precocious Chinese technology.

non zero sum relationship definition in science

But I do intend to show how these details, though important in their own right, are ultimately part of a larger story—to show how they fit into a framework that makes thinking about human history easier. After surveying human history, I will briefly apply to organic history the same organizing principle.

Through natural selection, there arise new "technologies" that permit richer forms of non-zero-sum interaction among biological entities: And the rest, as they say, is organic history. In short, both organic and human history involve the playing of ever-more-numerous, ever-larger, and ever-more-elaborate non-zero-sum games.

It is the accumulation of these games—game upon game upon game that constitutes the growth in biological and social complexity that people like Bergson and Teilhard de Chardin have talked about. I like to refer to this accumulation as an accumulation of "non-zero-sumness.

The concept may sound ethereal in the abstract, but I hope it will feel concrete by the end of this book. Non-zero-sumness, I'll argue, is something whose ongoing growth and ongoing fulfillment define the arrow of the history of life, from the primordial soup to the World Wide Web.

You might even say that non-zero-sumness is a nuts-and-bolts, materialist version of Bergson's immaterial elan vital; it gives a certain momentum to the basic direction of life on this planet. It explains why biological evolution, given enough time, was very likely to create highly intelligent life--life smart enough to generate technology and other forms of culture.

It also explains why the ensuing evolution of technology, and of culture more broadly, was very likely to enrich and expand the social structure of that intelligent species, carrying social organization to planetary breadth.

Globalization, it seems to me, has been in the cards not just since the invention of the telegraph or the steamship, or even the written word or the wheel, but since the invention of life.

All along, the relentless logic of non-zero-sumness has been pointing toward this age in which relations among nations are growing more non-zero-sum year by year. Any book with a subtitle as grandiose as "The Logic of Human Destiny" is bound to have some mealy-mouthed qualification somewhere along the way. We might as well get it over with.

non zero sum relationship definition in science

How literally do I mean the word "destiny"? Do I mean that the exact state of the world ten or fifty or one hundred years from now is inevitable, down to the last detail? No, on two counts. Still, I am talking about something whose chances of transpiring are very, very high. Moreover, I'm saying that the only real alternatives to the "destiny" that I'll outline are extremely unpleasant, best avoided for all our sakes.

Some people may consider it cheating to use the word "destiny" when you mean not "inevitable" but "exceedingly likely. Obviously, a given poppy seed may not become a poppy. Indeed, the destiny of some poppy seeds seems—in retrospect, at least—to have been getting baked onto a bagel. A plausible explanation for the findings is that a zero-sum heuristic evolved as a cognitive adaptation to enable successful intra-group competition for limited resources.

Implications for understanding inter-group interaction are also discussed. The research reported here introduces a zero-sum bias. Zero-sum, a term from game theory von Neumann and Morgenstern,refers to a situation in which resources gained by one party are matched by corresponding losses to another party.

Non-zero-sum will be used to refer to any other situation; for example, when both parties gain, when both parties lose, when one party gains and the other neither loses nor gains, when one party loses and the other neither gains nor loses, etc.

This paper introduces the term zero-sum bias to describe intuitively judging a situation to be zero-sum when it is actually non-zero-sum. Unlimited resource situations, in which the gains or losses of one party have no effect on other parties, are non-zero-sum situations that might be prone to bias. Unlimited resource situations are not uncommon for people living in the first-world during the early twenty-first Century. A typical situation in my household goes something like this: My two children ask for a snack, and I slice an apple into sections, giving an equal number of sections to each.

Inevitably, one of them and often both will claim that their sibling's sections are larger, accompanied by complaints of unfairness. This conclusion of unfairness seems unperturbed by my reminder that there are eleven more apples waiting in the kitchen should anyone want more, and the complainant rarely asks for more after eating what was initially given.

The experiments reported here were designed to test the hypothesis that people are prone to perceive a competition for limited resources i. Judgments about academic performance evaluations grades by those being evaluated students are a perfect testing ground for this hypothesis.

non zero sum relationship definition in science

For students, grades are important resources, as they are the currency by which access to desired careers are bought. University course grading in the United States is often relative i. Relative grading systems create a zero-sum competition among students, because a high grade given to one student means one less high grade available to the other students. The situation is different in Canada, however.

At the university where I teach, for example, official grading regulations prohibit course instructors from using a relative grading system. Moreover, the large majority of students at my university have little experience with relative grading, because it is also forbidden at the primary and secondary levels, and the university does not include relatively graded examinations, such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test SATas part of the admissions requirements.

Absolute grading systems, which thus constitute the experience of the participants in the experiments reported here, create a non-zero-sum situation because if all students in a course do high-quality work, then they should all receive high grades. Nevertheless, informal conversations with my students have frequently revealed signs of zero-sum bias, and the experiments reported here represent an attempt to empirically characterize its prevalence.

Experiment 1 demonstrated zero-sum bias by showing that high grades given to some students increased the likelihood of low grades being predicted for other students. Experiment 2 examined whether the converse is true; i.

An important issue in bias research concerns identifying the conditions under which biases can be reduced.