Speaker: Chris Adami (Keck Graduate Institute)
The observed cooperation between genes, cells, tissues, and higher organisms represents a paradox for Darwinian evolution, because the individual success of cheating is rewarded before its long-term detrimental consequences are felt. The tension between cooperation and defection can be represented by a simple game (the “Prisoner’s Dilemma”), which has been used to study the conflicts between decisions to cooperate or defect. When we encode plays within genes and allow them to adapt to their environment, we find that evolutionary paths end at strategies that cooperate if the environment is sufficiently predictable so that communication between players is reliable. This work shows that cooperation or defection, in populations of players that use the information from previous moves to plan future ones, can be influenced by changing environmental parameters that affect a player's capacity to reliable communicate to other players their intentions, encoded in the history of their plays.