Game Theory dynamics and its impact on the evolution of technology solutions and architectures

Introduction

 

Recent work has been done in the study of game theory dynamics and the influence that it has had over the millennia on the process of both biological and cultural evolution. The theory cites that the underlying engine which drives evolutionary frameworks of any type is a mathematical abstraction known as non-zero sum dynamics. The previous statement sets the foundation for this paper. It will endeavor to investigate the premise that technology is an expression of culture and hence its forms and usages (its packaged solutions and architectures) are prone to the same dynamics as other forms of cultural evolution or even biological evolution.

What this analysis will indicate is that the future trends of technology can to some degree be predicted by use of non-zero sum dynamics much in the same fashion that future trends in culture can predicted. The basic premise being that non-zero sum dynamics is the mathematical ‘attractor’ to which all evolutionary process are driven, always to higher orders of ‘non-zero sumness’ if you will. It is the position of this executive white paper that by allowing for this unavoidable dynamic, some degree of pre-emptive capability can be garnered against the common technology market demands.

This is not ‘Black Magic’ however, nor is it a ‘Silver Bullet’. Consensus on a particular direction of technology can only be gained by knowledge of the technology, its latest facets and the industry and market dynamics that surround it. Once this knowledge is gained however, insight as to how it will evolve can be extrapolated with relative accuracy by predicting its evolution against a non-zero sum dynamic. Additionally, since non-zero sum dynamics lead to and leverage on cooperative behavior, an attractor can be provided which motivates various product and development teams within the organization to work for a set of common architectural and solution goals.

 

 

What is Game Theory?

 

As its name suggests, Game Theory is the mathematical description of game flow and outcome. There are three basic precedents to consider: 1). Zero sum dynamics, 2). Fixed Sum dynamics and lastly, 3). Non-zero sum dynamics. Simple examples of the first two instances can be provided by the sport of boxing. In this type of ‘game’ there are two opponents who face each other to ‘win’. In order for one player to win, the other player has to loose. At its face value, this is zero sum dynamics. Both players start with nothing, but one player ends up with the ‘win’. The potential for the win existed prior to the contest however and it is this potential which provides the zero value.

 

Most boxers however do not box for free. In most instances there is a prize for the winner and a ‘payout’ for the looser. At its face value, this is fixed sum dynamics of which zero sum dynamics is a part, for ‘zero’ is indeed a fixed sum. In more sophisticated examples, the payout and winning prize might be in ratio to the performance of each boxer on a round by round basis. This creates a scenario where even if a looser still looses, they can improve their lot and receive a larger portion of the prize by performing better during the contest. The sum is fixed however, there is only so much monies allocated for the event so that as the looser performs better the winner realizes less of the winning prize. This is the epitome of fixed sum dynamics. In essence, winning and loosing become a mathematical relationship that almost, but not quite, approaches a dynamic which can encourage cooperative behavior. It is does not because the winner still wants to hold onto as large a portion of the prize as possible while the looser wants to pull a larger payout. In essence, both sides ‘benefit’ from the contest, albeit one at the expense of the other.

The third precedent is quite a bit more complex, but can be readily be displayed at least in a rudimentary and limited form by the game of Monopoly. In this type of game there are a number of players that are participating in a sort of limited economic system. In instances where there are two players, the game is simply a very sophisticated fixed sum dynamic. As the number of players is increased however, the dynamic gets to be more complicated with the ability for alliances and coalitions to form where players ‘team up’ to reap benefits or to dislodge or take advantage of other players. While the maximum potential win is still fixed (this is why it is a rudimentary and limited example) there begins to appear ‘emergent’ benefits that would not have occurred if the alliances and coalitions were not formed. This is the essence of non-zero sum dynamics which is the ability to create emergent benefits which can either create positive sum gains or avoid negative sum losses.

There are a number of important points to consider before we move on. First, the dividing lines between these dynamics are somewhat soft. While zero sum dynamics is a form of fixed sum dynamics, non-zero sum dynamics is a ratio of available resources and the number of players fending for those available resources. The result is that as the ratio is spread out (expressed as available resources to the number of players); non-zero sum dynamics begin to occur. It should be noted at this point, that non-zero sum dynamics do not guarantee positive sum gains. Nor does it guarantee the avoidance of negative sum losses. What it does do is perform a hedging or insurance to increase the probability of these occurrences. Indeed, this is the basic premise of the insurance industry, the spreading of risk among participating entities.

The other perhaps more important point to consider is that in order for non-zero sum dynamics to occur there needs to be two foundational components that can not be avoided. These are the ability for the players to have a common method of communication and the ability for the players to establish trust with each other within the alliance or coalition. If either of these paradigms can not be met then non-zero sum dynamics can not (or at least is very unlikely to) occur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting out of Jail

 

There is a text book example for game theory that demonstrates these concepts well. It is known as ‘the Prisoner’s Dilemma’. In this example, there are two criminals that are arrested for given crime. As they are brought into the Police station they of course are separated and interrogated. Each prisoner is given a set of similar ultimatums. The police officers tell each suspect that if they confess to the crime but the other suspects stays quiet they will be let off free while the other suspect will be put in jail for ten years. Conversely, if they remain quiet and the other suspect confesses, they will go to jail for ten years and the other will be let off free. Going further, each suspect is told that if they both end up confessing, each will receive three years in jail. Finally, if neither confesses, they will both only end up with six months in jail.

What results is a matrix of possibilities where the optimal scenario for both suspects is to keep quiet and take the six month sentence. This scenario however requires both suspects to trust that the other will keep his mouth shut. What creates the problem is that there is an individual ‘selfish’ option that appears to be more optimal to each but this option holds a risk and consequent factor of mistrust. Obviously, if they had the ability to communicate they would be able to assure one another and reinforce the joint understanding. Since they do not have the ability to communicate and being criminals they might not be the strongest in the way of trust, it is highly likely that at least one of the suspects will confess with the hopes of getting out of jail free. As we established however, both probably will. If both confess, both will receive a three year sentence which is a far cry from the six month slap on the wrist that they would have received had they kept quiet.

What the scenario illustrates is that logic alone will not lead to the optimal scenario for both individuals. The only (or the most probable) way that the optimal scenario can occur is for there to be trust and understanding between the two suspects.  Furthermore, the ability to establish that understanding needs to occur by communication either prior to or during the scenario. As we covered earlier the suspects can not communicate during the scenario, so the understanding and corresponding trust needs to be established prior. Without this, the scenario reverts to a fixed sum dynamic.

 

What does this have to do with evolution?

 

At this point, a reasonable question to ask is what this all has to do with the evolution of technology solutions and architectures. The answer is quite a lot. However, in order to validate this, we must first establish what this has to do with the general principles of evolutionary process.

Some of the latest theories on evolution propose that much of it is driven by non-zero sum dynamics. This was made quite clear by a contest that was held by Robert Axelrod, where several universities submitted modified code for the prisoner’s dilemma. The goal was to find the best and most efficient algorithm for playing the modified game. In this modified game, the six month jail sentence became evolutionary success of the code ‘species’, while all other options became equivalent to various degrees of evolutionary failure.

A particular code named ‘tit for tat’ won. Tit for tat is based on initial trust (i.e. tit for tat does not ‘rat’ on the first iteration), the algorithm will then take note of its partners actions and then act in like on the next run of the game with a different participant. So if the code is met with cheating, it will cheat in turn on the next run.

The game was run over several hundred iterations and as the game processed, the tit for tat ‘species’ became more numerous, eventually forming rudimentary coalitions that cooperated by ‘implicit’ trust. Importantly, the tit for tat species did this at the expense of the other species in the game. What this illustrates is that not only do non-zero sum dynamics seem to play a strong role in evolutionary dynamics, but zero and fixed sum dynamics do as well.

While this is not proof in and of itself, there are several other studies that validate these findings. There are also several studies that allude to a transitional relationship between chaotic determinism (which is deemed as the mathematical engine for non-animate matter to gain higher orders of complexity, examples are star formation and planetary accretion) and game theory dynamics, which would seem to be a higher mathematical order in turn that allows for animate matter (life) to further leverage this proto-deterministic foundation. While these tenets are far beyond the scope of this paper, they are important concepts. References are provided at the end of this paper that will allow the reader to further investigate according to their level of interest.

There are a few very important points that need to be brought out before we proceed on. First, multiple iterations became a form of pseudo-communication, while history (even a short term history such as a single past iteration) can serve as a form of pseudo-trust. It is interesting to note that by modifying the tit for tat code to have a longer memory (each player kept track of its actions and then advertised them to the other player upon each iteration) the coalitions formed quicker and grew larger, thereby allowing for the tit for tat code to gain quicker dominance over the other code species. The second point to consider is that tit for tat is initially altruistic in the way it behaves and very quickly reverts to altruism when given the indication to do so. All of this points to a degree of success that can be garnered from cooperative behaviors. The third and perhaps the most important point is that direct explicit communication and trust is not a requirement. Implicit methods will suffice. This is obviously true in that we do not ‘know’ everyone we do business with and we do not communicate or trust everyone on an explicit basis only. If that were the case we would have never moved beyond simple village economics. As an example, if I buy a car from a Japanese auto manufacturer, literally all communications and trust are implicit with the possible exception of the local car dealer. Although the car could be bought on line, thereby remove all explicit trust and communication.  Hence, it could even be said that the whole basis for e-commerce could not occur without an implicit trust model and all evidence validates this conclusion. This also gives us our first insight into the evolution of technology and solutions. Communications and trust (the ability to establish identity and corresponding factors of trust) are of extreme importance.

 

 

 

Now let’s add a Barrel full of Monkeys

 

At this point we will now begin to address the aspects of human culture and its evolution. It should be noted that many researchers feel strongly that game theory dynamics is also one of the major components responsible for the evolution of human intelligence. This is actually fairly intuitive if one can consider that when groups of primates meet, they are basically set with two choices; they either attack each other, or they choose to co-exist. In this example the basic premise of game theory dynamics is; 1). Zero sum dynamics is leveraged in the attack option and, 2). Non-zero sum dynamics is leveraged in the co-existence option with the emergent benefit being increased gene pool and better awareness of potential predators.

If we take a look at the higher apes (particularly chimpanzees) we find that the range of dynamics has increased with the zero sum dynamic being on-going territorial war (with well documented conquering scenarios) and the non-zero sum dynamic moving on from simple coexistence to extended cooperative behavior (say for instance engaging in on-going territorial war to conquer another group). From here the dynamic points to the mannerisms of human tribes and the fact that when two tribes or even cultures for that matter come into contact they are basically left with the very same choices as our primate cousins, we either fight or we co-exist and with humans, co-existence means trading.

As we can see, there are not a wide range of options to choose from. It is also clear that once tribes or cultures come in close cultural contact, ignoring each other is not an option. It is important also to realize that either choice drives emergent benefits and also one choice will often drive the other. As the examples of aggression show, the best way to drive cooperative non-zero sum dynamics is for a set of groups to have a common enemy, which is in turn the fixed sum dynamic. The first and most obvious emergent benefit that derives from allegiances is larger numbers. Larger numbers also means a greater communication network and this network is established and reinforced by trust. As a result, these networks can tend to be very good conduits for ideas and inventions. These inventions were often of a war-like nature such as a better bow and arrow; but just as often would be of peaceful nature; such a more innovative farming practice.

So it is clear that non-zero sum dynamics is often found in intimate relationship with zero or fixed sum ‘drivers’. It is also clear that the ability to share ideas and innovations is the baseline hallmark of culture. As a result, we can safely conclude that game theory dynamics has played a very major role in human cultural evolution. With literally the same mix of dynamics, we move from simple prehistoric economies through to chiefdoms and empires to the eventual advent of the modern nation state and its corresponding international economies. Each successive era built on two past precedents for their foundation namely, communication and trust or the lack thereof.

There are a few salient points that we should cover at this point. The first is that each phase in cultural evolution has its established ‘personality’ and ability to establish common channels for communications and trust. The second point is that each culture created their own system of governance to maintain these frameworks and provide assurances that individuals were not cheating the system. The third point is that cultures tend to grow and assimilate other cultures with each subsequent phase. Sometimes these assimilations were peaceful other times not, but in most instances the assimilated cultures benefited from the dynamic. Indeed, history shows than in many instances cultures and peoples willingly submitted their own sovereignty in lieu of increased security or enhanced prosperity. Finally, as these cultures grew they created larger and more complex non-zero sum dynamics with larger and more complex potential for emergent benefits. In each instance, new and more complex systems of governance became required because the potential of cheating became higher, more problematic and harder to identify. As an example, if a goat shows up missing in an isolated village of one hundred people it is fairly easy to find the perpetrator. When we compare this with fraudulent representation in a trading contract with several middlemen along the ancient silk highway between China and Rome we have quite a different problem. At this point we need to consider that in order to meet these newer requirements, new technologies and methods needed to be created which would facilitate the preservation of communication and trust by identifying those who would try to subvert the system. Today we can extrapolate this to E-commerce and real time international trading. Indeed, this is the primary and most solid rationale for a communications company to be involved in Identity and Security Policy Management. They are the 21st century equivalent of the middlemen on the silk highway.

 

Business as usual?

 

            As shown in the previous section, the evolution and development of human technology is directly and inextricably tied to human culture and commerce. This is so much so that human technology could even be described as an expression of human culture. Indeed, this is the position of many anthropologists and historians. Many, if not most of the innovations throughout human history have been created or invented to either increase the potential non-zero sum dynamic (i.e. to make more profits) or to preserve its existing scope (i.e. to protect existing profits). If this is indeed the case then we can see that by analyzing the cultural and corresponding business and commercial dynamics in terms of the requirements mentioned in the previous section we can to some degree gain better insight as to the next directions in technological evolution. In fact, it is the position of this paper that by using this mentality, better insight will provided with which to actually invent the technologies to meet these ongoing and constantly changing requirements.

            It is also important to consider that in larger technology companies, both external and internal dynamics need to be considered. Up until now, most of the focus has been on the external dynamics, or rather what this all means to a company and its customers who will work within the system of governance for E-commerce. Consider also though that there is a game theory dynamic that also occurs within a company itself and that by paying attention to this dynamic an increase in emergent benefits can in turn be realized.

            In order to qualify these statements we will now take a look at the different forms in which game theory is manifested and why. While this could range into a deep philosophical discussion, we will avoid that by limiting the discourse to the perspectives of a company or enterprise and its business focus, specifically communications technology. It is the position of this paper that a company can vastly optimize both its internal and external processes by tuning them to better realize the non-zero sum dynamic that has shown to be a fairly dependable guideline over the millennia of human history.

 

           

The Prisoners Dilemma revisited

 

            If we will recall the text book game theory example that we covered earlier, there is an optimal non-zero sum option that can only be reached by mutual trust and communication. Without this, it is highly likely that the optimal option will not be realized. Instead, some lower fixed sum option instead will likely be selected. In the example, we used logical deduction to illustrate that the most probable scenario is that both suspects will get three years in jail. Now one might argue that only one of the suspects might confess (note that this is ‘cheating’ against the system of governance). In that instance, one of the suspects will reach a higher optimal option, but they will do so at the expense of the other. Now one might ask, what is the problem with that? Clearly, one of the suspects has benefited significantly. 

The answer is that yes, this is a great approach and most definitely the best option if the other entity is your competition. However, the approach is flawed and self negating if the other entity is a partner, a colleague or another department. This is a critical differentiator that needs closer scrutiny as it largely dictates a successful versus an unsuccessful strategy, realizing that strategies can be competitive, cooperative, external or internal.

When we look at how many telecommunications companies have operated in the past, there were two major divisions, Service Provider and Enterprise. Traditionally, these two divisions were kept largely separate in both agenda and process. As we can see by the prisoner’s dilemma however, isolation is highly unlikely to yield the optimal benefit. Each division is likely to make their own decisions based on their own requirements and motivations. While these decisions will likely benefit each respective division (as we (hopefully) have very competent individuals and groups making these decisions), it is not likely that the other division will reap those benefits. Worse yet, it is possible that the decision of one division could adversely affect the other.

Recent activities in many Chief Technology Offices have focused on cross communication and trust between these divisions which will better allow for technology reuse and more optimal benefits from research and development. Two pertinent examples are the recent activities around Identity Management and Video. In Identity Management specifically, the Enterprise IdM strategy will reuse technology out of the Service Provider 3GPP/IMS project while the 3GPP/IMS project will benefit by the work that has come out of Enterprise in the areas of federated security policy frameworks. It should be noted that these emergent benefits are most often facilitated by establishing clear communication and trust between the divisions and that only by this are these types of benefits realized.

            We need to also realize that most often each division is broken into product ‘silos’ that are largely run as separate P&L organizations. In the past, decisions regarding product and solution directions were made within these silos with little or no communication between them. Obviously, this takes the two dimensional prisoner’s dilemma into a multi-faceted ‘cut throat’ monopoly game where no coalitions are allowed and every player is in for their own interests. This is so because each silo formulates their own strategy and then goes to the investment board for funding based on their own interests. Of primary importance here is that this all occurs against a fixed amount that is defined in the budget. What results is a fixed sum dynamic. The optimal scenario can not or is highly unlikely to be realized. This means that the company will not fully realize its investment. Now it could be argued that the investment board could make the choice of which strategy receives the lion’s share of the funding and indeed it does. But this allocation is done at low modularity, somewhat like doing Bonsai with a machete. What happens in this instance is that the investment board becomes the equivalent of the ‘state of war’ and all of the silos become the equivalent of participating nation states. In order to mitigate this, communication and trust needs to be established between the different organizations and a degree of sovereignty needs to be sacrificed in order to realize any emergent non-zero sum benefits. What is communication in this example? It is the sharing and ultimately the joint-creation of strategies that cross-leverage each other. These higher level strategies are then what are presented to the investment board. What is trust in this instance? It is the ability for everyone involved in the strategy to know and trust that everyone will complete their plan of record (their ‘tribal’ obligation if you will) and thereby trust in the vision that the strategy promises. They will also trust that the ‘system of governance’ will assure that this takes place and that the appropriate allocations of development funding will be provided to them. Again, it is in the best interest for those in the system of governance to assure this otherwise trust is lost, which is the essence of their power.

            Again, the recent activities around Identity and Policy Management are defining the strategy at the high end architectural level and then creating the cross-silo communication and trust to establish concise plans of record with associated phases and timelines. The CTO groups should then work as the system of governance to assure that the levels of communications and trust are maintained as the overall strategy is realized. If this is done, then the mechanics of non-zero sum dynamics are realized and the emergent benefits of the strategy are realized. If the CTO groups fail in this regard, the trust will be lost and all assurance of the strategy along with it. The question begs whether a company can really do this. History says yes, provided that the system of governance is maintained.

 

Hey, let’s gang up on them!

 

            Up until now we have been focused on internal processes and issues. At a face value, we can make the statement that from an internal perspective everyone should work in a non-zero sum dynamic; whereas from an external perspective the company (the tribe for all intensive purposes) faces the vast fixed sum dynamic of the industry at large. In essence, all other companies have the potential of becoming enemies or more properly put competition (no matter how much we would like – we really can not throw spears at them). Obviously, it is not as simple as that. The reason is that the industry could be viewed as a vast ecosystem with many niches and broad fields. This means that some companies are less of a threat than others simply because of their areas of focus.

            In these instances companies will often create partnerships. By now, it should seem intuitive about what this means. Yes, it means that a non-zero sum dynamic emerges out of the fixed sum dynamic of the industry at large. By this, both companies should realize additional emergent benefits that would not have occurred otherwise. Obviously, there needs to be a cohesive strategy for the alliance, which requires communications at an in depth level and there needs to be established trust that each company will hold up its end of the bargain and will not act in a predacious manner. The problem with partnerships is that it is difficult to provide a firm system of governance to provide assurance. Therefore, strategies with partners require more energy from a human perspective. There needs to be the face time at the highest levels as makes sense on a continuing basis to provide this assurance. It is also critical that ongoing communications is maintained between development teams in a very similar fashion to the internal processes, with joint plans of record and associated phases and timelines. There is one key difference however in that there is no sacrifice of sovereignty to the partnership. Here we see a different non-zero sum dynamic, or rather a non-zero sum dynamic that is based on a different system of governance; a mutual system of governance. In this system the parties involved will hold their end of the bargain as long as everyone else does and (this is very important) the perceived emergent benefits of the strategy are realized. If either does not occur then the system of governance fails and the partnership fades away or worse yet becomes competitive (which can bring its own set of problems particularly if the partnership has been long and successful because this means shared installed base – but as non-zero sum logic dictates – if the system of governance is good and emergent benefits are continued to be realized then there is no reason for the partnership to fail outside of neglect).

            We have rough equivalencies in the political world with the internal non-zero sum dynamic being something like a national government or legal system and the partnership non-zero sum dynamic being more like a coalition type of arrangement similar to the United Nations or NATO. Again, the main difference between the two is that in the first instance constituents surrender some degree of sovereignty while in the second example this does not occur. It should be noted though that some degree of autonomy is always surrendered in order for any partnership to be maintained. It should also be noted and we have already shown that the major tenets of game theory and non-zero sum dynamics holds true in both instances.

            In summary, we can conclude that game theory dynamics not only adequately describes evolutionary frameworks, both biological and cultural. We can also state that practically every human thought and action is in some way associated with these dynamics. As a result, any aspect of culture, even that of directions in technology can be extrapolated and to some degree preempted by examining them against a game theory context.

 

It’s a Jungle out there

 

            The last dynamic we will speak to is the fixed sum dynamic. Here we will show that not only is it impossible to eliminate fixed sum dynamics, there are valid reasons why one would not want to do so. The reason is simple; fixed sum dynamics provide the background or fuel for non-zero sum dynamics. Put into the context of a company, it is their competition that causes them to innovate.

            History has shown that it is the fixed sum dynamics that creates the motivation to build non-zero sum dynamic systems. This motivation is always driven against a framework of adversity. Even in the case of peaceful innovations such as farming practices, there is the fixed sum dynamic of the adversity of nature and the fact that, if left to itself, entropy (or more properly put competitive elements of order) would drive the environment back into a wild state.

            History also shows that cultures tend to decline when reaching a zenith. Recent findings have shown that often the reasons are a decrease if not ceasing of the non-zero sum dynamic. As the innovations cease the society also ceases to be competitive and will eventually subside to another more dominant, more innovative culture that has a stronger set of non-zero sum dynamics from which to leverage.

            In summary it is the entity that maintains the non-zero sum dynamic that maintains dominance and perceived invulnerability. As an example, it is often said that some companies create markets. This is a very serious misconception, not even monopolies can claim that. Smart companies preempt markets and they do it by remaining tuned to the non-zero sum dynamic whether they realize it or not. If one takes the time to analyze every dominant technology company, one will find that this is the case in every instance. There is an ability to sense market trends and dynamics, (the fixed sum environment if you will) and thereby adjust their own non-zero sum dynamics (their strategies) to better align with the optimal attractor (the market direction). The end result is the emergent benefits to both the company and the market in question.

 

 

Now let’s put some gas in this sucker

 

            What this all comes down to is providing a win-win situation for those who participate in the non-zero sum dynamic. If this were not the case then those who are getting the short end of the stick will remove themselves from the dynamic. If we look at business ecosystems and why they succeed, it is because they drive non-zero sum dynamics in several different vectors. If take the example of a bank or financial institution for instance there is the obvious customer dynamic between a communications company and theirs. This would be termed as the northbound vector. They also have customers however (this would be termed as the southbound vector) and they realize success not by whether or not they buy from a certain communications company. They succeed because they are able to better offer their services and satisfy their customers banking requirements. As long as they are able to do this and realize the emergent benefits of increased business or reduced cost of business then the decision to purchase from a given company is deemed a good one. Note though that there are many other elements within the bank that also determine the level of success their customer’s experience. A good account manager would know these other elements and try as much as possible to influence them to better align to a positive result. All of this points to a requirement for expertise in the financial sector for that account manager.

            A more complex example is that of IP based television services. In this instance we also have the northbound ( the companies customer) and southbound (the customers’ customers) business vectors. In addition, we also have a serious set of fixed sum dynamics in the way of competition from competing companies. A wise company will provide a method of gaining inroads into this market by leveraging on partnerships against the common fixed sum dynamic of the competition. These partners are hoping to realize emergent benefits as well. By aligning a strategy to a non-zero sum dynamic, a successful business ecosystem can be driven where a company and its partners are better able to compete against the competition. This is a non-zero sum dynamic that is intended to negate or avoid negative sum losses, which would be the competition taking the emerging market. Further, if the right kind of innovation is provided, a partner ecosystem can build a different non-zero sum vector that in turn provides emergent benefits to the provider customers and finally to their customers, the actual subscribers. By creating solid non-zero sum dynamic vectors a business ecosystem can flourish and grow. Furthermore, in order to continue along with a successful strategy, the dynamics of the ecosystem would need to be continually tuned and optimized to the market requirements and demand (which provides the role of the attractor for the system).

            If we take things down to their most basic level, people (which are the market) want a series of five things. First, they want to be able to provide for themselves and their family, second they want to be able to acquire things; third they want to be provided with security to protect themselves, their loved ones and the things they acquire. Forth, provided that the other requirements are met they want to be entertained in their idle time. Lastly, there is the nebulous aspect of self fulfillment and worth that every individual needs to feel. It could be argued that this last need is met by succeeding in the other four. This is simple in that it ignores the spiritual dimension of life. However, since we are purposely avoiding any issues of abstract philosophy we will ignore this, but note that it often can be a very strong need or motivating driver.

By looking at these requirements, we can more easily begin to tease out the areas where technology can better address these needs. A good emergent example that is driven by a strong fixed sum dynamic of the recent rise in international terrorism is the area of civil communications infrastructures. Additional threats from the environment such as the 2004 tsunami and Katrina all point to the need to provide increased security for the populous.

This has created a very strong non-zero sum dynamic in the market where enhanced communication and coordination services for emergency response teams will be a big market and a lot of dollars will be spent to meet these requirements. We need to remember that there are other dimensions of non-zero sum dynamics as well. As an example, look at the amount of negative press that resulted to the Bush administration and FEMA over the bungling of the emergency response to New Orleans. As a result to the imbalance of the political non-zero sum dynamic, the federal agencies in question are making major enhancements to their infrastructures and communications systems. In essence they are reacting to a fixed sum dynamic.

            Again, companies are being preemptive to this market by aligning with some of the major integrators in the industry to put together a civil communications practice to address these new and emerging market demands. Again, we have internal as well as partner non-zero sum vectors as well as the customer vectors which would be the agencies themselves.  These vectors define the business eco-system. From there the business vectors end or more so translate into the political non-zero sum vectors. In essence, if companies succeed in the market with a civil communications practice, then partners in turn succeed. In turn the agencies are better able to respond to any new threats or emergencies. This in turn saves lives and this in turn creates a positive political non-zero sum dynamic. People feel safer because they believe that they are safer by the improvements that they see when the next emergency situation transpires.

            I do not mean to belittle people’s lives by tying them into the political dynamics, but unfortunately this is often the reality. No one wants to see human lives lost but the reality is that this will often be tolerated or ignored if the political costs are not that high. This again pits us into a different set of game theory dynamics that is outside the scope of this paper, but can be readily extrapolated from the tenets thus far established.

 

 

In Summary

             

It has been the intention of this paper to show that game theory dynamics is an effective method for representing evolutionary dynamics. It has also been the intention to show that almost every aspect of human behavior is in some way associated with these dynamics. These are important insights whose import can not be overstated.

By using these concepts we have shown that we can to some degree predict the requirements of the industry by looking at the associated dynamics of society. We have also shown that technologies, no matter how high or abstract, are prone to these dynamics.

It has also been the position of this paper that these dynamics also come into play within a companies business processes, its partnerships as well as how they address their competition. Indeed, game theory dynamics is about as close to a crystal ball as you can get. No, it’s not magic, but it’s pretty damn close.

 

Bibliography – Books for further reading interest

 

NonZero – The logic of Human Destiny

Robert Wright                                                  Vantage Press              ISBN 0-679-75894-1

 

In the wake of Chaos

Stephen H. Kellert                                            Chicago Press              ISBN 0-226-42976-8

 

Deep Simplicity

John Gribben                                                    Random House ISBN 1-4000-6256-X

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