The prisoner's dilemma - Lessons for Hive?

in #hive8 months ago

I have mentioned before that I have been reading Metamagical Themas by Douglas Hofstadter. This book by the author of Goedel, Escher and Bach reprints his columns from Scientific American in the early 1980s. His specialism is artificial intelligence, but the topics range over music, language and chaos theory.


A section at the end of the book covers various aspects of the prisoner's dilemma. This is a thought experiment in the field of game theory. There are variations on it, but it goes something like this:

Two known criminals are arrested and held in separate cells where they are offered a deal. If either of them betrays the other they will be released and the other gets three years in prison., but if both betray they get two years each. If neither says anything they will serve one year for other crimes.

Betrayal seems an attractive option, but if the other does the same then they will be worse off. cooperating to stay silent may give them the best chance of a shorter sentence, i.e. they take a risk for a better general result.

There are lots of variations of this game that may involve more players and different conditions. Hofstadter suggests several, including a lottery that is free to enter. There is a prize of up to one million dollars and you just need to send in the number of times you want to enter. The issue is that the actual prize will be that million divided by the number of entries. So if people say they want to enter thousands of times then they could only win cents.

The same idea applies to real situations. It would be best for the world if all countries take measures to reduce carbon emissions, which would affect their economies. The temptation is to ignore the problem to maximise profit and hope others do something about the problem. Or there is the arms race where the ideal situation is no nuclear weapons, but a lack of trust means countries stockpiled them 'just in case'.

Personal short-term gain can override what might seem like a better strategy for the longer term. We have seen this in various forms on Steem and Hive with such activities as:

  • Buying votes
  • Self-voting
  • Proxy accounts
  • 'Circle jerks'
  • Plagiarism

These may earn you something, but do little to make the platform attractive to investors. This is part of the reason the token prices have remained so low. The whole cryptocurrency market is an exercise in game theory where people attempt to manipulate the situation for maximum profit at the expense of others. Hive has to compete against hundreds of other projects for attention.

I think Hive can be more than just a 'get rich quick' scheme. I believe the original intention was to create something that could empower people from all parts of the world. You can get into it with no initial financial investment and earn if you have content that others see value in. Once people hold some HIVE they can use it to curate or to trade for things they need. The lack of transaction fees makes micro-transactions viable. Such an empowering currency should attract investors who want to offer services they can charge for as well as earning from curation.

The key is that we need cooperation between Hive users/owners to achieve its potential. We have seen that growth is slow and many do not stick around long when they fail to earn much. We need to be supporting good content that will attract a wider audience and not just help out our friends. If you believe in the potential then you should invest what you can afford, be that money or time. With more large accounts the rewards are likely to get spread wider. That may mean less rewards for some of us who are used to doing well, but if we can attract more investors then the value of our stake will grow anyway. I would rather have 50,000 HIVE at $5 than 1,000,000 at 5c.

I have invested some of my own money in this thing as well as thousands of hours. I think the world needs alternatives to the existing financial systems that tend to just enrich those who already have enough. From the day I signed up I could see this was something different and I would hate to see that potential wasted.

Ask not what Hive can do for you, but what we can do together to change the world (paraphrasing JFK).

Hive five!


You are absolutely right 👍 what i find difficult and challenging is the amount of time you can actually dedicate to the platform. Writting an article, regardless of english not being their mother tongue language, it s an energy that many, me included, can't afford on a regular basis.

I think the "getting rich scheme" mindset was very 2017, 3 years later with the actual experience of crypto based social media things started to ease off about this little dream that only a handfull of people actually acheived.
Today many give up quick because the system of daily retribution is more complex that we thought and still rigged by big players who only got successful based on financial investment rather than actual creative materials. There are many talented writters and the little amount you just made writting this good article shows for itself that, your dedication goes beyond rewards.
Also i use my phone like many to intereract with hive, and we know that phones are not design to write articles. I personnaly use @dapplr for hive now which is a great dapp optimised for phones.

The tools, the availability, and the perspectives of engaging are 3 main variables that are left after financial investment that requires the attention of investers. Although things have been moving towards curation communities we face bahaviours where without manual curation the system will always turn around the hive power that you have regardless of genuine content producers.

My ideal situation would be that we are intereacting with a curation framework optimised with AI where rewards are not shown in the absolute but work in the background. I think that interacting on a platform that shows rewards everywhere is primitive because our interaction with money is like that.
How can you motivate peeple to come and engaged if the first thing they see is how much money they could make? It s an investor mind set not a creative one. The futur of crypto social media to me will hold in people that will put first their singularity and creations without financial expectation. Thats also why instagram works.

For example, i busk in the streets of europe, people pass by, stop, apreciate and give me money. They don't know how much is in the hat, and would they give something if suddenly the motivation of giving would be altered by the amount i have already in there? I believe they would because of this distraction.
There is a lot to think about,, but showing the money will always make things worst and it shows that crypto is still speculative and crypto projects are bubbles swimming in this market.

I would hope that Hive can be multi-lingual. There are communities around various languages. The spread of votes may be better than it used to be on Steem, but some of the big players keep giving each other hefty votes. I tend to give bigger votes to smaller accounts and do not self-vote. I think we need more manual curation to get votes where they are earned.

The tools are improving too, but could be better.

The rewards are the main thing that differentiates Hive from other platforms, so it ought to be attractive for that. What it lacks is an audience and we have to find ways to build that.

I have done some busking in the last year and it is interesting to see who pays. A lot of people seem reluctant to give a few pennies. With Hive it is different as you actually gain by voting. Discovering under-appreciated content can get you the best rewards.

It is still a fairly new idea and it can be hard to explain it to people. Marketing could be a key factor.

Thanks for commenting. !ENGAGE 50

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I think that interacting on a platform that shows rewards everywhere is primitive because our interaction with money is like that.

I'm not so sure about that, many people have lost touch with money in America. They no longer have coins jingling in their pockets, and many use credit cards or debit cards to pay for everything. This I think has lead to the people losing touch with the value of the money and then going into big debt. When you had to have cash to pay for things you knew how much was in your pockets to make your purchases whether needed or frivolous.

There are a lot of ways and means to use Hive, I like the reward part, I also like the say what I feel like part, and I am sure there are some that like the invest and take part. There are very few platforms that can offer so much to so diverse a group of people, it is one of the things that make Hive special.

Exactly. Some say it's just about the money, but it can be much more.


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Hi friend! To begin with, I loved that JFK quote... I have little time as a user, but already a few months preparing to start doing things right. I'm even promoting the beachform on Twitter and Instagram. It is what humanly has occurred to me so far, although I plan to do more, and I do it because I also see potential in Hive.

I have noticed that many users get the best out of it, but also some who have a lot of time and do not present anything attractive, not even the design of their publications. The only thing I can conclude from this reading personally and continue to learn from those who have more time to continue growing and benefiting the community of hivers. And motivate new people to do the same. Thanks for sharing this content ...

As I was reading the book I was thinking about Hive, but then I think about Hive a lot. I have been on here for 4 years and want it to succeed. We have to talk about the issues that stop it being successful. Nothing is perfect, but it can be better.


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Very interesting. That is some pretty deep stuff there! I have been trying not to pay attention to the prices as much because they have been bouncing all over the place with not much rhyme or reason.

I think we need to have discussions about the motives of Hivers and what the issues are. The book got me thinking.

I suspect there are under a hundred accounts that have the same vision as you, Steve. Sure, there are around five hundred accounts that are desperate to promote Hive but not for the same reasons as yourself. They just want their rewards to increase while building an ecosystem you, on the other hand, would like to see Hive replace pretty much everything from Google to Pounds, shillings and pence even Bitcoin!

I never thought of Hive being a 'Penny Stock' (See Wolf of Wallstreet LOL) but this investment site gives some good info: although I've picked out some pertinent lines:

"Although HIVE BLOCKCHAIN may be in fact a good instrument to invest, many penny otc stocks are speculative in nature and are subject to artificial price hype"
I read on another site that they advised a quick "In and Out" when it comes to Hive. Maybe we'd be better off just swapping tokens rather than trying to play the stock markets while blogging about darning our socks?
"If you don't have enough power or Crypto to upvote me; reshare me instead. Reshares are worth their weight in gold!"

Don't forget, you can upvote peoples comments too!

Well I see it as more than just an investment and I am not that bothered about the money really. I know that makes me unusual, but if a few others think the same way then we have the possibility of building something. I know most of the witnesses do not make a profit and many who went to Steemfest spent more than they have made getting there.

I enjoy the Hive experience much as billions enjoy using other social platforms for no reward. I get more engagement here than elsewhere despite the lack of users whilst giving out several dollars each day in rewards. Some guy bought about 2 million HIVE recently, so he must believe in it.

Feel free to post about your socks if it makes you happy.

Nice, I need that book :D

Posted Using LeoFinance Beta

It's a fairly old book that I found in a charity shop. I am not sure if it is still available, but it is a fascinating read.

Hive will be the future social media blockchain, we just need some little bit of spark may that be a cool app that is easy to use by the masses.