Oct 21, 2009

Swine Flu vs Prisoner's Dilemma

Swine Flu is a moral dilemma much akin to the Prisoner's dilemma on a huge scale. To understand this, I need to assume you know the basis of the hype for the Swine Flu. It is less deadly in its current form then the generic flu. Swine Flu's strains change at an alarming rate, and it is quite contagious.

The Prisoner's Dilemma is as follows from Wikipedia
Two suspects are arrested by the police. The police have insufficient evidence for a conviction, and, having separated both prisoners, visit each of them to offer the same deal. If one testifies (defects from the other) for the prosecution against the other and the other remains silent (cooperates with the other), the betrayer goes free and the silent accomplice receives the full 10-year sentence. If both remain silent, both prisoners are sentenced to only six months in jail for a minor charge. If each betrays the other, each receives a five-year sentence. Each prisoner must choose to betray the other or to remain silent. Each one is assured that the other would not know about the betrayal before the end of the investigation. How should the prisoners act?
How is this like Swine Flu? The people that get infected (yes, I understand few to none of them do it on purpose) have some basic resistance against Swine Flu. The more people that get infected, the greater the chance that the Swine Flu will gain a deadly strain. The people that have already have had Swine Flu are more likely to survive a pandemic of that deadly strain.

Armed with the knowledge that the current strain is rather survivable and are a vaccine from the wild, and future strains may not be easily survived, would you be more likely to cause yourself to become infected to gain resistance against a future deadlier string?

I probably should note here that IANAD.

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