Game Theory and Real Life

There are many different games and concepts within Game Theory that can tell you a lot about real life and patterns within it. In this article I will be going over some game types within Game Theory and some examples of how it plays out real world situations.


Zero-Sum Games


Zero-Sum Games are essentially a type of game where no one can gain something without another person losing something. There are many ways that this plays out in real life. One example is social hierarchies as you cannot rise in the social hierarchy without other people moving lower within the hierarchy. Gambling is another example of a Zero-Sum game since your winnings come out of the other person losing. This type of game can generally be found where there is a fixed amount of something since the only way you will gain whatever that may happen to be, it is reliant on someone else giving it up.


It is important to recognize Zero-Sum games because generally it is better to find ways where everyone can benefit without any negative effects.



Cooperative and Non Cooperative Games


A cooperative game is where agreements and acts are enforced through third party means such as law. And non cooperative games are where agreements are self-enforced and there is essentially nothing stopping someone from sabotaging the agreement other than their own self-interest and consequences on the relationship. You can see examples of cooperative games all over the place mainly when it comes to laws. But we are also surrounded with non cooperative games as well such as promises, and any agreement where it isn’t enforced through a third-party.


It is important to recognize whether the situation you are in is a cooperative or non cooperative game. Mainly because in a non cooperative environment the stability of the agreement stems from trust in the relationship and the other person. So realizing this can help you calculate risks and make better decisions.


Symmetric / Asymmetric Games


Symmetric games are games where the strategy of the game does not change with who is implementing it and is all about the strategy not the individual. So you could flip the game board and nothing would change. An asymmetric game is where the strategy will change based on the individual and their capabilities. I think this is really important because in many scenarios it is an asymmetric game because you are a unique human being, and realizing this can help you come up with ways to leverage yourself to get the best outcome.


There are many different games within game theory that can be applied to the real world and your day-to-day life. I would highly recommend looking into game theory just to learn more about the different types of games and seeing how it changes your outlook on the world.