Game Theory: Thinking In Positive And Negative Possibilities

1430 words - 6 pages

Ever since you were a child you have unknowingly used game theory. When your parents gave you the option to choose a candy bar, your brain started thinking of all the possibilities that depended on which candy you chose. You would think which one would taste better, make your feel better, and maybe be healthier for you. In the end, you would narrow your choices down to one piece of candy and eat it happily. Game theory is the use of theory to think through all of the positive and negative possibilities that could happen in a problem and try to maximize the positive. Game theory is not just one theory, throughout the years is has spread into six main games. These games are: zero sum games, non-zero sum games, simultaneous move games, sequential move games, one-shot games, and repeated games. Each of these games will be covered more in depth in this essay, with the exception of zero-sum games. Dalton Birchmeier will be writing about the zero-sum game in his essay.
History is a very important key when trying to figure out what exactly game theory is. Game theory was officially discovered by John Von Nueman and Oskar Morgenstern in 1944. Although those two brilliant men are credited with the discovery, game theory was being used centuries before it was written down. In 500 A.D, the Talmud used the idea of game theory when giving a problem about the different ways to distribute a mans estate to his three wives. Many other well know people used game theory before it was officially recognized. For example, Socrates found that Plato used game theory in two of his works, those works that Socrates spoke about are called “Laches” and “Symposium”. Hemán Cortés, a Spanish explorer, destroyed all of his ships when conquering a new land to make sure that his soldiers would fight, doing so took away all the soldiers options of leaving that could be thought of. Cortés used game theory to think of all the outcomes and get rid of all the options that would have allowed his soldiers to flee. Two other well know people are William Shakespeare,who used game theory in his play “Henry V” and Thomas Hobbes who wrote “Leviathan” with the help of game theory. Shakespeare solved his problem in his play similar to the way Cortés solved his, he killed off the prisoners, which made the opposing soldiers believe that they the need to fight to revenge the prisoners deaths. Therefore, Shakespeare successfully took away the opportunity that the soldiers might retreat and not fight them. Hobbes used game theory in another way, he thought of all the options and decided that people do not have to kill. For example, if person X claimed that person Y broke a promise or deal, person X could hire a person to hurt person Y, which would not kill anyone and it would stop Person Y from being dishonest again.
A non-zero sum game is a game that has one player that wins, and the consequences will not harm the losing player. A very famous example of non-zero sum games is the Prisoner's...

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