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Peer-to-peer scenarios are increasingly important in globalized information societies. To guide the interaction between (rational) agents in these P2P settings, self-enforcing collaborative protocols are desirable, so that agents have no motivation to deviate from them. Moreover, to increase social welfare and ensure the success of protocols, it would be desirable to make the collaboration between agents mutually beneficial. In this paper, we present the notion of co-utility, which refers to protocols in which mutual help is the best rational option to take, even for purely selfish agents. This concept is illustrated through several P2P scenarios, framed both in the information society and in the physical world, for which we present and discuss co-utile self-enforcing protocols.
KeywordsProtocols Game theory Multi-agent systems Self-enforcement Co-utility
Funding by the Templeton World Charity Foundation (Grant TWCF0095/AB60 “CO-UTILITY”) is gratefully acknowledged. Also, partial support to this work has been received from the Government of Catalonia (ICREA Acadèmia Prize to J. Domingo-Ferrer and grant 2014 SGR 537), the Spanish Government (projects TIN2011-27076-C03-01 “CO-PRIVACY” and TIN2014-57364-C2-1-R “SmartGlacis”) and the European Commission (project H2020-644024 “CLARUS”). The authors are with the UNESCO Chair in Data Privacy, but the views in this paper are the authors’ own and are not necessarily shared by UNESCO.
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