Complexity and Noise in Games

Puzzles have solutions, games have strategies. A solution is a complete sequence of moves or actions that leads to victory. A strategy is a general plan, in which the exact actions or moves may vary. This shows a property of games – they are not predictable in practice, or at least, they should not be. They may or may not be predictable in principle – rolling a dice or drawing a card from a shuffled deck produces outcomes that are, both in principle and in practice, unpredictable. Other players are also, in principle, unpredictable. Many digital games make use of random number generators that are really no different from dice rolls, and these too, are in principle unpredictable.

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Homo Economicus

It is currently trendy to blame the ills of the modern world on capitalism, as if that neatly explains everything. Capitalism does, of course, steer the behaviour of people to some extent, but it seems odd to me to only examine the incentive structure while ignoring the characteristics of the creature that is driven by those incentives.

Homo economicus is a term that has been used to denote a perfectly rational, self-interested economic actor. It is typically used in criticism of economic reasoning that is thought to be overly simplistic. I, however, use the term to describe that part of humanity, ascendant in our current age, that is driven by economic concerns. Here I will give some thoughts on this creature.

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Some Notes on the Experience of Pain

Some months back I had a stomach upset of some description, accompanied by an uncommon amount of pain. I wrote a little about it then, but was not sure if I should post it here. I have decided that I should, if only to try to overcome some niggling insecurities about revealing my own thoughts and personal experiences.

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