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The Evolution of Cooperation (Towards a mathematical theory of reputation?)

I highly recommend Axelrod's short book, The Evolution of  Cooperation, for
those (like me) who find it hard to think clearly about trust issues. You
have probably heard about prisoner's dilemma, tit-for-tat etc. Axelrod is a
very early worker in this field. He set up a tournament of programmed bugs
that competed with each other in an artificial environment. They could
survive only by cooperation with other bugs. The could also cheat.

Axelrod does not use the term "reputation" but it what one bug gains or
looses as it interacts with other bugs in iterated encounters.

I read the book about two years ago. Only last night did I realize that
those ideas helped me think about the MITM threat.