Arpith Siromoney 💬

Risk Analysis and Natural Disaster

Kunreuther, the Cecilia Yen Koo Professor, and Meyer have run the Quake simulation for the past four years, using students in Kunreuther’s Risk Analysis and Environmental Management class as the guinea pigs/gamers. By now, about 500 students have played the game, and every time, they play it essentially the same way.

They tend to begin the game cautiously, spending money to build stronger roofs and walls. But as the game goes on, they take more risks. Instead of spending their money to avoid disaster and death, they keep it in the bank to earn interest.

“They think, ‘Can I get away with the next 30 seconds in the game?’” says Meyer. “‘What are the odds of getting destroyed in the next 30 seconds? Well, probably very little.’ So they think, ‘OK, I’ll go a minute.’ And of course eventually they get destroyed.”

Interesting, though the line between a simulation and a game is very blurred.