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The Tragedy of the Commons and Distributed AI Systems

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Turner, Roy
Conference: 12th International Workshop on Distributed AI
Location: Hidden Valley, PA, USA
Conf. Date: 1993
Date: 1993
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/1601
Sector: New Commons
Information & Knowledge
Subject(s): artificial intelligence
resource management
Abstract: "The natural and social sciences have recognized for some time that when rational agents use a shared resource (a 'commons') near its capacity, the resource is doomed. This is the 'tragedy of the commons.' The same problem will also arise when agents in a distributed AI system share a resource. In this paper, we examine the tragedy of the commons as it applies to DAI (distributed artificial intelligence [more recently called 'multiagent systems']) and discuss several potential solutions, including conventions, privatization of the resource, and mutual coercion mutually agreed upon. Solutions to this problem in DAI testbeds will likely also contribute to understanding how to avoid the tragedy of the commons in many areas of current interest to society, such as fisheries management, preservation of whale and other species populations, global climate change, and preservation of tropical rainforests."

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