Originally shared by Andreas Schou
Via +gwern branwen
, some serious overthinking of validity of this set of answers:Q:
Why does the devil keep his deals?A:
As an immortal, he has an infinite time horizon of other deals he jeopardizes if he betrays any given deal. Therefore the opportunity cost of any betrayal is too high.Q:
What does that make politicians, then?A:
Lower in ethical reliability than the devil."
These answers are valid under certain conditions. In an infinitely iterated trust game with perfect information, the devil's optimum strategy is total reliaiblity: any defection known to all other bargainers will reduce his total score.
Under a large-but-finite* iterated game with imperfect information (i.e.
, present conditions), the devil's strategy is affected only by those deals known to the bargainer. Presuming that the devil largely contracts with Satanists, and that Satanists primarily operate in small covens, we can presume that most bargainers only become aware of a relatively small number of similar contracts. Information only travels in a closed graph -- though the devil should always be on the lookout for openings in the graph and contacts between covens.
The devil should therefore probably betray the following bargainers:(1)
If a coven graph is open, no one in that coven.(2)
Any Satanist who is verifiably not in a coven.(3)
The last bargainer in a verifiably closed-graph coven.(4)
Any bargainer in a verifiably closed-graph coven, so long as the defection value is greater than than the value of any remaining bargainers' contracts.(5)
Any bargainer making a deathbed bargain, no matter their coven status.
To ensure a more reliable devil, we should move toward more international Satanist organizations, with a market-maker operating a soul exchange and keeping satisfaction records. To extend this analogy to politicians, there should probably be more transparency in politics.*
This actually matters. In a large-but-finite iterated game, the chance that the devil has inaccurately judged the openness of a coven graph doesn't expand to infinity. If this happens, then the devil's optimal strategy is total reliability again.