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Analysis of the influence of altruism on life expectancy in an artificial world

Nejc Krokter (2016) Analysis of the influence of altruism on life expectancy in an artificial world. EngD thesis.

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    Competition is such an obvious and every day part of our lives that we probably do not even notice it most of the time. It is in fact so ingrained in our society, that many consider it a part of our human nature. However most people do not realize that capitalism in its insatiable appetite for more and higher profits, forces us into constant competition among ourselves, which in turn, forces us into bad habits and behavior. Different fields of science, such as neurobiology, psychology (namely behaviorism) and sociology, have however shown that we human beings are mostly a product of the environment in which we live in and are far from being ``bad by nature'' as some would like us to believe. So the main purpose of this thesis is to simulate different environments with a simple model and see how the entities (which can represent any living beings in nature) behave in these environments. Our hypothesis is that cooperation, at least in the long run, is more beneficial to survival than competition. Our model consists of entities that are constantly moving and collecting sources of energy for their survival in a closed environment. If at any time during the simulation, an entity is running low on energy, it can ask other members of it's group for a portion of their energy. The other entities then decide, based on their level of altruism, if they are going to share any of their energy with the entity in need. This is where we see how different levels of altruism influence the behavior of entities and their groups. Results from the test group, where we have, among others, very selfish and very altruistic entities in the same group, are close to what we would expect. The most successful entities in such a group are also the most selfish ones, living at the expense of the more altruistic ones. However, when we ran our simulations with four different groups, where entities with similar levels of altruism were in the same group, so we did not have selfish entities living off at the expense of altruistic ones, the results were much more interesting. As it turns out, selfish entities or their groups survive longer in an environment where energy sources are scarce, but do not do as well in an environment where sources of energy are abundant.

    Item Type: Thesis (EngD thesis)
    Keywords: altruism, survival, groups, behaviourism, artificial abundance
    Number of Pages: 39
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Name and SurnameIDFunction
    doc. dr. Iztok Lebar Bajec269Mentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=51012&select=(ID=1536899779)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Computer and Information Science
    Item ID: 3325
    Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2016 15:47
    Last Modified: 05 May 2016 13:01
    URI: http://eprints.fri.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/3325

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