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Posts Tagged ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’

So, I just got back from California.  While on the plane to California, I was the bread of a medium guy/big guy sandwich.  In other words, I was on the window and another guy (bigger than me) was on the aisle, and a guy in between.  But, on my return flight, the middle seat was held by a woman that could not have weighed more than a buck 0 five sopping wet.  Needless to say, the return flight was much more comfortable for me and the other members of my aisle.  It got me thinking, what if we were required to give our weight when buying our airline ticket?  Think about it.  Let’s say that only middle seats were available.  If you knew the size of the people in the aisle and the window, wouldn’t that inform your decisions of which middle seats were preferable?  If you are one of my smart readers, I am sure you see the flaw in my plan already.  What about liars?  If you are a woman, and you weigh 115 pounds, it would be to your advantage to say that you weigh 300.  It would decrease the chance of anyone sitting next to you.

It’s a basic Game Theory problem or Prisoner’s Dilemma, depending on your academic training.  For example, in Hawks and Doves Game Theory, a hawk will fight and be aggressive to obtain a resource, but a dove will never fight and be submissive.  So, if a dove meets a dove, they share the resource equally, but if a hawk meets a hawk, they fight and incur a cost with diminished access to the resource.  Of course, if you are a hawk and you meet a dove, you get everything.  So, a population of hawks and doves should reach a balance.  Not too many hawks and not too many doves.  In my Airline Game Theory, we would have True Weight (Low Medium High) versus Liar Weight (Low Medium High).  For example, if a True 350 pound person sits next to a True 100 pound person, the seats are shared in favor of the 350 pounder, however, the 100 pounder receives low costs, due to their small size.  Two people that are True 150 pound people, would share their seats equally.  However, if a Liar High 150 pound person (someone who really weighs 350 pounds) sits next to a Liar High 150 pound person, they will incur very high costs, and no one will win.

So, what is the answer?  Let the airline make seating assignments based on everyone’s weight, using an algorithm that maximizes comfort for all concern.  This would mean you would not know your seating assignment until the very end, but wouldn’t it be worth it?  I love this idea.  I am a big guy.  If you are a big guy, trust me, you do not want to sit next to me.  Airline people, if you are reading my blog, make it happen.  This is a great idea.

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What is up with airline travelers?  Is it really necessary to keep your cell phone on when the plane is taking off?  They’re like children, and the teacher has to go around slapping people on the wrist to get them to turn their iPhones off.  And guess what?  If you refuse to listen or at least be quiet during the safety announcements, I have every right to leave your butt behind when the crap hits the fan.  Finally, no matter how much you complain, you can’t will the plane to be on time.  So sit down, shut up, and put your damn seat belt on when the sign is illuminated, because guess what?  That sign is definitely for you.  I’m just sayin’ …

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