30 in 30 22: Superhero Larry David

Oxiracetam + Alpha GPC

30 in 30 22: Superhero Larry David

Biological cooperation is non-intuitive. Only the fittest survive, so maximizing resources is top priority. Strategically, that means persistent betrayal out of self-interest.

But assuming there's a high likelihood of seeing your co-players again AND that they will retaliate if you betray them, there's one robust, stable, viable cooperative strategy: TIT FOR TAT.

  • Cooperate in your first interaction
  • Copy your partner's previous move

That's it. Basic reciprocity. With that simple strategy, cooperation evolved in many species, primarily humans.

Ironically, the most cooperative human is a quintessential asshole: Larry David. Larry plays Tit for Tat incredibly well. So well that it consistently fails him.

Upon meeting a new person, Larry gives them honest feedback, expecting the same in return. However, his new partner hides information from him.  

Larry introduces the new partner to his perpetual co-players i.e. friends. One or more friends ropes him into addressing the hidden information by blackmailing or incentivizing him for their own personal gain.

When he re-engages the new player, his 'friend(s)' betray him and everyone loses the game. While all winning information is available, no one is happy about the outcome.

Typically, superheroes win through cooperation. Villains have more absolute power because they defect against everyone. Superheroes have friends, so they have fewer points personally, but in combination with their co-operatives, they eke out their arch-nemesis.

Try the Tit for Tat strategy yourself! It works outside of Game Theory too.