Cyphernomicon Top
Cyphernomicon 18.17

Loose Ends and Miscellaneous Topics:
Deeper Connections

  18.17.1. In several places I've referred to "deep connections" between
            things like crypto, money, game theory, evolutionary
            ecologies, human motivations, and the nature of law. By this
            I mean that there are deeper, unifying principles. Principles
            involving locality, identity, and disclosure of knowledge. A
            good example: the deep fairness of "cut-and-choose" protocols-
            -I've seen mention of this in game theory tesxts, but not
            much discussion of other, similar protocols.
  18.17.2. For example, below the level of number theory and algorithms
            in cryptology lies a level dealing with "identity," "proof,"
            "collusion," and other such core concepts, concepts that can
            almost be dealt with independent of the acual algorithms
            (though the concrete realization of public key methods took
            this out of the abstract realm of philosophy and made it
            important to analyze). And these abstract concepts are linked
            to other fields, such as economics, human psychology, law,
            and evolutionary game theory (the study of evolved strategies
            in multi-agent systems, e.g., human beings interacting and
            trading with each other).
  18.17.3. I believe there are important questions about why things work
            the way they do at this level. To be concrete, why do threats
            of physical coercion create market distortions and what
            effects does this have? Or, what is the nature of emergent
            behavior in reputation-based systems? (The combinatiion of
            crypto and economics is a fertile area, barely touched upon
            by the academic cryptology community.) Why is locality is
            important, and what does this mean for digital cash? Why does
            regulation often produce _more_ crime?
  18.17.4. Crypto and the related ideas of reputation, identity, and
            webs of trust has introduced a new angle into economic
            matters. I suspect there are a couple of Nobel Prizes in
            Economics for those who integrate these important concepts.

Next Page: 18.18 Loose End Loose Ends
Previous Page: 18.16 Tamper-Resistant Modules

By Tim May, see README

HTML by Jonathan Rochkind