Game theory isn't just the minmax theorem

Check out this year’s Nobel prize in economics at

http://nobelprize.org/economics/laureates/2005/

and for the long version

http://nobelprize.org/economics/laureates/2005/info.pdf

Thanks for that, I love reading about economic theory, especialy game theory.

Wasn’t there a Nobel Prize for game theory awarded already?

Yurislave- I do too. :)

Igor-yes, the first prize in game theory was in 1994, to Nash, Harsanyi, and Selten. So in principle everyone who’s aware of that (or followed the confusing vague comments in “A Beautiful Mind”) already knows that there’s more to game theory than the minmax theorem and constant-sum games. But it’s nice to have an excuse for a reminder 8)

Absolutely much more than a min/max theorem.

For instance, they’re also a terrific guitar-pop band from the 1980’s who morphed into the equally fascinating Loud Family.

No, really! (Game Theory/Loud Family main man Scott Miller is a LiSP object-oriented database programmer with a degree in compsci and mathematics from Cal-Davis.)

It apparently is helpful for movie reviews, too. From The Filty Critic’s review of Wallace and Gromit:

Figuring out what’s sincere from what’s horseshit on a daily basis is like walking through a field in Kosovo. Mistake someone’s intentions and it’ll blow your fucking arm off. You really have to apply game theory to every interaction you have. You have to estimate the likelihood the person you’re talking with is sincere when he says “Nice shoes, asshole.”

Does he really mean my shoes are nice? Or does he really mean I’m an asshole. Let’s put a 25% likelihood on the shoe part, and a 75% likelihood on the ass part. Being complimented on my shoes is very important to me, so I’ll weigh that more heavily than being called an asshole. Hell, I’m pretty used to being called that. So, let’s sum this interaction at about zero, neither a positive or negative experience for me, and figure I owe the guy no response.

But if I thought there was a greater likelihood he meant the shoes part and lesser likelihood for the ass part. Then I’d have to say “Thank you” with at least a 50% probability I was sincere. On the other hand, if I thought his sincerities were the opposite, I’d have to punch him in the face, or the nuts. But how hard? What is the probability he’ll punch back? What is the ratio of his ratio of strength to mine? How fast can he run? Is society better overall because I’m more likely to punch fat asthmatics than teenagers? I think so.

See what I mean? This is the reason I spend so much time in alone in a basement: I hate all the math it takes to interact with people. And even the simplest, most mundane transactions require me to carry a pencil, paper and a calculator, like when the cashier at Safeway asks “Paper or plastic, asshole?”

Punch her in the face and run, or “Paper, please?” There is no easy answer.

I bring this up because I’ve been trying to put my finger on exactly why I liked the clay animation movie Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Wererabbit as much as I did.