Saturday, 15 March 2008

Green IT and the Prisoner's dilemma

Imagine you want to buy a data center ... you have a choice of 3 suppliers, all things being equal and above board, you will choose the supplier that provides the best kit and service for the lowest cost,.

If you look at it from an entirely fiscal point of view, which ever supplier has the lowest cost has an advantage in winning the business, as they can provide a lower cost to their customer. But thats bloody obvious I hear you yelling. What stops one of our suppliers from behaving like a right bastard, abusing their work force and the environment? The answer is the state with its threat of the judiciary which representing us individuals and the other suppliers can remove that suppliers competitive advantage and even freedom. Overall everyone is forced to co-operate and by and by everyone more or less wins, in the places where the judiciary has the ability to impose its will.

Game theory describes situations like this as "The prisoners dilemma" the prisoners who default are the bad suppliers, and if everyone behaves (both prisoners and guards) then every one wins

Now apply this logic to the global green issue and climate change. Whichever country that pollutes has a commercial advantage because they have lower costs ... but ... on a global scale there is no real judiciary except the western military which is not powerfull enough to enforce fair play across the entire problem domain therefore the only state that the world can adopt is the Pareto-suboptimal solution. I.e. all nations default, and we allow the environment to collapse.

The only other stable state is a single world government.


Steve Nimmons said...

Single world government is a tad too prophetic and certainly something the Revelation of St. John advises us to avoid. In terms of your options for data centre ownership where do you see Cloud Computing fitting in and what impact might it have?

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Simon Elliott said...

real funny Karen

Elliott - a little more

London, United Kingdom
I am an architect with shed loads of familiarity in providing high profile consumer media, products and services. I conceive ideas, design and lead projects to create new consumer products. I love brainstorming ideas with marketing counterparts and creating future facing and innovative solutions. I have been responsible for high volume mass consumer market features where scale, reliability and the ability to quickly respond are of crucial importance.