Evolving past Bruce Bueno de Mesquita’s predictions at TED

An interesting early blog post by our very own Artem Kaznatcheev on Bruce Bueno de Mesquita’s talk on the uses of game theory in international politics. I think this highlights both the potential of game theory as a predictive tool but also the risk of complex and poorly validated mathematical models.

Theory, Evolution, and Games Group

Originally, today’s post was going to be about “The evolution of compassion” by Robert Wright, but a September 3rd Economist article caught my attention. So we will save compassion for another week, and instead quickly talk about prediction human behavior. The Economist discusses several academics and firms that specialize in using game theory to predicting negotiation behavior and quantify how it can be influenced. The article included a companion video highlighting Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, but I decided to include an older TED talk “Bruce Bueno de Mesquita predicts Iran’s future” instead:

I like the discussion of game theoretic predictions in the first part of the video. I want to concentrate on that part and side-step the specific application to Iranian politics at the end of the video.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita clearly comes from a political science background, and unfortunately concentrates on very old game theory. However, we know…

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