Beneficial Epidemics

Christopher Kempes, Vanessa Ferdinand, Laurent Hébert-Dufresne, Yoav Kallus, Artemy Kolchinsky, Brendan Tracey

This section talks about the dynamics of the spread of a _beneficial_ contagion, under different thought experiments about what it means to be beneficial. It talks about the different “mental states” of the infected and susceptible – do they want to be infected? Do they want to infect others? Do they not care? These have very different effects on the spread of the contagion. Specifically, we’ll describe that the driving difference between a beneficial epidemic and a traditional ones is the desire to change your local connections. A traditional contagion spreads through a network (geographic/social), but individuals do not want to be infected, and do not want to spread the disease. In contrast, in a beneficial disease, individuals may want to spread the disease to others, or become infected themselves (or not). This section explores the consequences of individual actions and preferences.