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 Modeling Inequality and the Use of Resources

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TheOmnipotentMoleRat



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PostSubject: Modeling Inequality and the Use of Resources   Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:03 am

I am not sure if this is entirely relevant, but I discovered this paper that has a fairly interesting societal model, and I wondered if anyone on this forum had seen it. It describes the population dynamics of human populations taking into account economic stratification and resource use. The equations used are generalized and don't exactly pertain to alien civilizations, but it is a fascinating experiment.

http://www.sesync.org/sites/default/files/resources/motesharrei-rivas-kalnay.pdf
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Immortal_Dragon
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PostSubject: Re: Modeling Inequality and the Use of Resources   Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:45 am

<Statement redacted>


Last edited by Immortal_Dragon on Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Seregon
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PostSubject: Re: Modeling Inequality and the Use of Resources   Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:26 pm

This looks interesting, and similair to the sort of models we're developing for population dynamics, and will need to develop for the societal stages. I'll try and have a proper read of it at some point this week.

Immortal - while we would normally move this sort of thing to the misc thread, part of the reason for the permissions changes was to allow smaller threads like this one, which need a little discussion, to be posted seperately. Thanks for keeping on top of this before now.
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tjwhale
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PostSubject: Re: Modeling Inequality and the Use of Resources   Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:40 pm

Cool paper, to TL:DR it "Elites" and "Commoners" are two species that prey on "Nature" and generate "Wealth". In the catastrophic scenarios the humans harvest too much from Nature and it crashes BUT their population keeps rising because they can eat their stored wealth (here wealth means stored grain and wood etc not money) but when the Wealth is exhausted there really is nothing to eat and so then they can crash and nature has no chance to recover.

If when Nature was declining the human population declined too then Nature would recover and it wouldn't crash irreversibly. The Wealth delays the human decline so the catastrophic crash is possible.

To relate this to the microbe stage we need to be careful about effects like this. It is very possible that crashes like this will occur. A resource will become scare so the prey species will start to decline just as a predator species peaks and if the predators life span is long enough, and they have enough stored food, they will be able to eat the prey to death.

So we'll have to test a lot when the pop dynamics system is being built to make sure we are happy with the dynamics (and maybe add some difficulty sliders). Because species should be able to go extinct and populations should be able to crash, but it should be a rare event.

I really like the idea of humans consisting of many "sub-species" or "tribes" or "guilds" and that there is a stage of the game where you can play as one of these subspecies. You can prey on other subspecies and be preyed on from above. This fits the abstract model we are working with better than being a nation, IMO. It's also along the lines of what I have been pondering and is relatively unique.

But that is a long way off.
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MitochondriaBox
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PostSubject: Re: Modeling Inequality and the Use of Resources   Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:47 pm

tjwhale wrote:
To relate this to the microbe stage we need to be careful about effects like this. It is very possible that crashes like this will occur. A resource will become scare so the prey species will start to decline just as a predator species peaks and if the predators life span is long enough, and they have enough stored food, they will be able to eat the prey to death.

So we'll have to test a lot when the pop dynamics system is being built to make sure we are happy with the dynamics (and maybe add some difficulty sliders). Because species should be able to go extinct and populations should be able to crash, but it should be a rare event.

I really like the idea of humans consisting of many "sub-species" or "tribes" or "guilds" and that there is a stage of the game where you can play as one of these subspecies. You can prey on other subspecies and be preyed on from above. This fits the abstract model we are working with better than being a nation, IMO. It's also along the lines of what I have been pondering and is relatively unique.

But that is a long way off.

This could be handwaved as the ocean being infinite from a cell's point of view, and thus have similarly infinite resources. However, this would make population dynamics for the Microbe Stage unnecessary, so I'll go with the idea I've heard of about the Microbe Stage taking place in a tiny dent on a sunlit seafloor.

... If there's population dynamics, then there's resource dynamics, assuming there's no connection with anything outside of the seafloor dent aside from sunlight; otherwise, cells would find a way to swim out of the dent, and there'd be constant recycling of compounds.

Longness:
 

Now, we (including me) might be reading too far into this, and could leave this for the Aware Stage and above, but that would require doing away with population dynamics for Microbe and Multicellular to compensate for the infinite resources, and there's been too much effort on that to take it out...

At the same time, keeping both might end up in unrealistic yet constant mass extinctions because the isolated dent on the seafloor somehow doesn't have access to the truckloads of oxygen and carbon dioxide provided by the rest of the ocean, leading to constant Game Over's.

I guess, for the Microbe Stage, we could just leave gases out? Yeah, not sure why I didn't think of that a while ago. Just glucose, and whatever else there might be.

... But then the equations would be thrown off...

... I've written myself into a corner here, guys. Anyone have any ideas? What's the final verdict on the extent of simulation during the Microbe Stage, anyway? I think that's a more important question.
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moopli
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PostSubject: Re: Modeling Inequality and the Use of Resources   Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:49 pm

MitoBox wrote:
final verdict

To start us off, no. Just to the idea of final verdicts. Nothing is even set down completely until it is implemented and we get to see just how many details the original idea was missing; for whatever feature. What with some recent events, asking for final verdicts kinda hit a nerve. Anyway sorry to pick on that, the rest of your post is great:

MitoBox wrote:
but that would require doing away with population dynamics .....
leading to constant Game Over's

Game Overs are part of the problem of making population dynamics involve the player, which is also a hard problem, but there's a simple solution -- we can just not do it. Given that:

  1. We have very large spaces where our species can compete
  2. Our organisms reproduce very quickly
  3. Every time you go through the editor, we need to make a non-negligible step forward in geological time.

Given 3, we can decide to make that jump in time happen after you've created the first mutant; and so it has a lot of time to replicate. Then, since the player will always have at least a couple hundred million generations pass before they get to play a microbe of their newest species iteration, then their population will generally be very, very big. In these sorts of cases, player-affecting population dynamics does not matter one bit. Even in cases where the player species only inhabits one hydrothermal vent, there'll still be millions of them most likely. Unless we make the population crash terribly (ie, kill off 99% of them or so) with every player death (ouch), then the player will simply never be affected by the number.

Now, of course, we still need population dynamics around since that's one of the foci of the planned evolution system. So here's a solution to your problem of infinite resources: Sure, we have basically infinite amounts of each resource, spread all over the earth. But, what matters to any instance of a species is the resources available in the area. And what matters more for the competition between species is not the absolute size of each pie (when the pies are big, anyway), but the relative share each species gets. Sure, given an ecosystem of microbes chewing on cyanobacteria, there'll be a near-limitless supply of foodstuffs; but who gets more food?

Basically, what I'm saying is, we can assume uniformity, and thus treat the entire system as if it's a scaled-up version of this seafloor-dent microcosm. Then, to discharge that assumption of uniformity, we feed all the numbers through some probability functions which estimate, for example, what fraction of each population did not in fact get the food it needs (even if on average everyone does), etc.
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tjwhale
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PostSubject: Re: Modeling Inequality and the Use of Resources   Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:13 am

This is what I think.

Ok so when the population dynamics / compound system / auto-evo stuff get's built it's going to be big. So a planet will be divided into biomes and those biomes into patches and there should be a lot (I think we should be spending most of our computing resources on this system). So for example a planet could be 1000 patches with 1000 species in each and each species could have maybe 1,000,000 members. Now maybe that's over-ambitious but the computations are quite cheap so we can afford a lot of them.

So over the entire planet the biosphere will very much affect the amount of resources availlable, especially over the timescales we are talking about.

From Wikipedia on Cyanobacteria

Wikipedia wrote:
By producing gaseous oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis, cyanobacteria are thought to have converted the early reducing atmosphere into an oxidizing one, which dramatically changed the composition of life forms on Earth by stimulating biodiversity and leading to the near-extinction of oxygen-intolerant organisms.

This kind of thing will happen in the game. I personally think Carbon is going to end up being heavily limiting to growth. (Note on the earth it is a small proportion of the atmosphere, less than oxygen, which means it is probably in heavy demand). And the species we introduce are going to fundamentally alter the chemical composition of the planet.

And yes your species can go extinct. I think that's ok. We can set some easier difficulty levels where you get immunity (or a reduction) to predation and more efficient internal processes but ultimately I think (ala Dwarf Fortress) failure being fun should be the goal.

What is built thus far represents a very small amount of the planet, but hopefully soon we will be able to see the life on the whole thing evolve. And that's going to be very interesting.

So don't worry, yes some things will be abundant and others will be limited and those that are limited are going to set the limits on planet-wide growth and that is going to limit the growth of your species in your patch.
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moopli
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PostSubject: Re: Modeling Inequality and the Use of Resources   Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:16 pm

tjwhale wrote:
This kind of thing will happen in the game

Well not that in particular; eukaryotes only arose after the atmosphere became oxidising, but that's beside the point. I agree with all the stuff you said, I think I might've made my point a little unclearly though:

I agree (vehemently) that player species should be able to go extinct; I just argued (misplaced argument maybe) that what the player does outside of the editor should matter very very little to the population, until you're about to go extinct due to the background simulation anyway.
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tjwhale
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PostSubject: Re: Modeling Inequality and the Use of Resources   Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:44 pm

My biology isn't very good so I'm always glad of help!

moopli wrote:
that what the player does outside of the editor should matter very very little to the population, until you're about to go extinct due to the background simulation anyway.

Yeah agreed. We had a bit of a discussion about how individual play will affect your species.

Basically we all arrived at thinking your species status will affect your individual status a lot but no influence will be passed the other way.

Though of course it's not fixed.
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moopli
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PostSubject: Re: Modeling Inequality and the Use of Resources   Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:52 pm

tjwhale wrote:
We had a bit of a discussion
Oh, so that's where I should've posted that reasoning, oops. No matter.

Back to the topic though: I think the idea of separate tribes/cultures behaving as different subspecies is a powerful one -- a whole bunch of features of a culture can be subsumed into the traits of the subspecies when we deal with populations as a whole. One important difference between memes and genes is that memes often transfer between living organisms, necessitating a different model of the traits of an individual. This, conveniently enough, is completely unimportant when we deal with populations as a whole; since a population could evolve either by different genes growing in prevalence or by different memes doing so; the difference can be abstracted away. Populations simply evolve memetically over a much shorter timescale. The key then is figuring out memetic traits, and what makes one meme better than another.

And before anyone asks, no, not internet memes.
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