Game theoretic R&D:
One perspective on much of human-borne problems in the world is referred to as The Tragedy of the Commons. This is a term used to describe a situation in which whereby ecosystem resources services can be used or extracted by individuals acting from their own self interest, drawn to varying amounts by different individuals and companies, while the costs of environmental destruction is shared more or less equally by all. Under that scenario, it appears is said to be in the best interest of individuals to take as much as possible. This leads to outcomes such as overgrazing, depletion of fish in the ocean, and/or global warming. There are many studies done both in natural observation, experimentation, and even computer simulation to try to solve the problem of how free agents can work as to create an optimum for the group in its entirety. Rustling Roots is working on developing activities and games, based in game theory that can help shed light on broader political, economic, and ecological dynamics.
Hawk-Dove, ultimatum and Public Goods Games:
game theory is typically studied in laboratory environments so to reduce communication and emotion confounds for maximum control of experimental conditions. Here at Rustling Roots we have facilitated and tested playing such games in more of a “focus group” environment so to bring in and examine all the social and emotional components of playing these games. we have facilitated such games in large groups to examine and expose the social cognition around reward, revenge, gossip, reciprocal vs. genuine altruism, and rule making by allowing a much more open platform for these games.
The summit game:
one particular game we are developing, testing and facilitating is what we call the Summit game. its a game that simulates the dialectics of intra-national and international relations. It is a game with a minimum of 20 players, with few simple rules, but a widely open-ended complex and evolving strategy. This game has been a huge success at the recent Communities Conference, in providing crucial insights both for us and for the participants in the areas of political psychology, identity, trust, and economic warfare.
The insurrection game:
We are developing another game to evaluate mechanisms of stability and instability in oppressive governments and the efficacy of revolutionary attempts. This is done through a large group game in a field settings. The game is an elaborate tag game of tactical collective action. It demonstrates how the vast majority of agents can be stuck in suboptimal situation yet have no good means of generating the required coordination to make a change. The game sparks creative ways of communication and alliance building, and teaches about the mechanisms that maintain oppressive hierarchical structures
Game development and Self-organization:
To investigate the human potential for efficient and peaceful self-governing we are developing games in which distributed communication and agency yields better solutions than centralized or organized communication. The intention of this project is to understand what kind of find what particular problems can be best solved by emergent solutions and what kind require centralized organization. This project is considering various forms of the “traveling salesman” problem puzzle problems as well as complex differential equations where each participant has access to different information.