Illustration of Game theory

1944 Game theory

The book of science

Tom Sharp

John von Neumann, Oskar Morgenstern game theory Illustration of Game theory

Game theory

Von Neumann and Morgenstern’s theory of games is also a theory of economic, political, and military behavior. It establishes optimal strategies in competitive and cooperative situations such as whether a prisoner should rat on his collaborator, or whether President Kennedy should have threatened to nuke Russia and invade Cuba.

Gaming is serious

According to von Neumann, economists should use convex sets and the topological fixed-point theorem, but of course, at the time, economists didn’t know shit about convex sets and the topological fixed-point theorem. In fact today economists have trouble competing with monkeys throwing darts. How can this be when they are fooling with other people’s life savings? And don’t get me started on whether politicians and generals use optimal strategies instead of just trying to look good.

Life as a game

With the right attitude challenges are fun. Two can convert zero-sum to win-win and stay a step ahead to beat the band. “Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra!”

If you examine something closely enough and look hard enough, and you begin to approach the essence of purity, then the observable universe gradually conforms to the idea.

In addition to being applicable to economics, politics, and military behavior, game theory has been used to explain animal behavior and evolution.

See also in The book of science:

Readings in wikipedia: