I read Slate Star Codex pretty regularly, and one of the commenters on that site posted a link to a fun little web game that you can play to get a better understanding of the implications of game theory. The link is here. What struck me about the instructional web game was its elegance. Without tagging everything, or making things deliberately obscure, it gives you clues to certain features of the illustrated, interactive explanation before it actually verbalises the fine points of “always cheat” or “repeated patterns.”
I would like to say that I have learned a great deal about game theory and economics from extensive reading, but even after studying histories of strategy, I still sometimes struggle to grasp the essential utility of applying game theory to real life. In many ways I feel like I take a lot of economics thought and philosophical implications on a faith basis – having never formally studied it, it seems important without my being able to verify that intuition of its importance. I think this is a common situation that people find themselves in, even when they are of above average intelligence. Sure, we would all like to be knowledgeable about as many aspects of the world as possible, but much of the time we are reliant on other people’s knowledge and experience, and ultimately have to take many things on faith, or at least with a sceptical sort of trust that what others are saying is not total nonsense.
The difficult issue is that so much of what people actually say is total nonsense, be they “experts” or “credentialed” or be they “folksy” and “wise.” I am going to work on being more consistent with updating this blog as the year continues – my time here in Qatar, with its long hours and strange circumstances, is coming near its end. I plan on producing at least one to two entries each week, and I will look to have more substance to my posts than even this one with its singular link. Certainly I want to go over some of the books I have been reading in the past couple of months, at the very least.