Sphere College Project

A New World of Learning

Game Theory

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A Brief Introduction to Game Theory:

At any given moment each of us has an infinite number of choices of actions we could take. We subconsciously project what we believe are the likely outcomes of each action based on a combination of our knowledge, experience and our innate ability to accurately project. We subconsciously place probabilities on each of these outcomes, and also place values on each of these outcomes representing our desire. This desire is called our ‘utility function’, and varies widely from individual to individual also based on our experience and proclivities.

Board games can be modeled using probability and statistics. Often it is assumed that one player’s win is at the other player’s loss. Such a framework is called a win-lose game, or “zero sum game”. But by reframing we can transform a win-lose game into a win-win game. For example, I could play a game of chess with you, and not care so much whether I win or not, but just enjoy playing the game no matter who wins. (This is good for me because I’m not a very good chess player.) This reframing is effected by a conscious change in my utility function.

It seems to me that humanity today is a bit too entrenched in the win-lose mentality and we would do well to get a bit better at reframing our interactions in life as win-win situations. We all have the freedom of choice to do so.


Don’t forget to spread the word about the Sphere College Short Film Contest! Submissions will be accepted until April 10!

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Author: Richard Liston

Musician, computer scientist, educator. I'm creating a new educational environment for adults.

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