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A Brief Overview of Game Theory

By Edited Apr 16, 2014 0 0

Games have been important since humans first started communicating with one another. Because of this, there have been a lot of theories related to games and gaming. But did you know that there are a number of different theories that are behind games and gaming? These theories involve investigating how the mind works, how people think, how people compete, and what people do when they are placed in a difficult situation. 

One of those theories is known as game theory. Interest in game theory has recently grown in popularity due to the techniques used by Arthur Chu on the popular quiz game, Jeopardy. Game theory, in general, is a theory of how decisions are to be made. Basically, when you are playing against other people (or competing in some way) you go through multiple processes so that you can make a final decision, which is meant to, ultimately, give you an outcome that is in your favor.

So what does this look like? For example, with the Jeopardy situation, Chu played in a very competitive manner. He wasn't just focusing on answering the questions; he was going after the higher dollar amounts so other people can’t get them and he’s jumping all over the board so that he can try to get the daily double. He’s doing everything that he can in order to win the game. He's using the board to his advantage; even though he's obviously an intelligent person, he knows that strategy has helped him to achieve his goal. 

How does this apply to your own life? If you want a really technical explanation, you can check out a number of sources that are available on the web, but in short, it involves the use of mathematics and other theories to make complex decisions. Think about it - when you play a game like chess, you have to plan out several moves in advance. You use calculations in order to make those decisions. What might your opponent do? What move can you make that will put you in an advantageous position? All of these questions are part of the calculation, and they play a role in making decisions. 

You can use the same thought process when you're looking at real life problems as well, which is where the idea of game theory comes in. So, if you’re looking to get a promotion for example, you could utilize game theory in order to try and do everything you can in order to get that promotion. Even though it wouldn’t be good form to prevent others from getting it, you could make decisions like working extra hours (but only when the boss is actually there to see you do so) or by making decisions that would express your skill and talent for the job in question. 

In general, game theory can really help you in terms of strategically determining what your next step(s) should be when it comes to making a decision or moving forward in your life. Everything in your life can relate to game mechanics and techniques, so having a better understanding of those things can help you get ahead in the world. Do you use game theory in your life? Can you see yourself using it? 

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