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Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Learn About Game Theory and AI?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the watch-scifi-movies-from-the-eighties dept.

AI 152

xmojox writes "I would like to learn more about Artificial Intelligence and Game Theory. I know these are both large areas of study; however, my main interest is in how these affect decisions in the world. This would include politicians, business people, and general society. I'm not looking for a career or anything; this is just a personal interest of mine. Where are good places to start in these areas for somebody new to them? I'm aware of the Stanford on-line classes, but those don't work with my current schedule."

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152 comments

Russell and Norvig (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523658)

Grab a copy of Russell and Norvig. It's a nice survey, and a fairly easy read.

Re:Russell and Norvig (1)

ArAgost (853804) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524282)

Seconded. There's everything you need, and it's also well written. No wonder it's a de facto standard in universities everywhere.

Re:Russell and Norvig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524808)

True. This is an awesome text.

I found 'Rock, Paper Scissors' quite accessible (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523676)

See: http://www.lenfisherscience.com/books/rock_paper_scissors.html

Jesus christ learn to schedule your time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523704)

I don't understand questions like these.

Want to learn about something? Research it.
Don't have time for something? Make time.

This is one of those lazy "I have a passing interest in subject X, hey everybody help me out personally" requests. Get up off your butt and check it out for yourself.

Guessing you are a 13-year old wannabe game programmer with an emo haircut who mixes poorly pronounced Japanese slang in with your English. How close am I?

Re:Jesus christ learn to schedule your time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523824)

I guess he knows something about using his time, after all, since he didn't answer you.

Re:Jesus christ learn to schedule your time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523846)

AHAHAHAHA oh snap!

Re:Jesus christ learn to schedule your time (1, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523872)

One possibility here is of course that the original poster knows that the field is quite large and isn't interested in studying it intensely for several years. In that case it can be good to ask those who already have studied the field for pointers to figure out just which things are most essential to learn about, which books are likely to be most useful and such things. Basically, the original poster may just be trying to avoid wasting his/her time studying more or less irrelevant parts of the field (anyone who has ever gone through a few college courses in a technical field should know what I'm talking about here, there are plenty of textbooks out there that imply pretty heavily that specific peripheral details are somehow core concepts when in reality you could spend a day or two on them and learn all you'll reasonably need to know about them, I myself have a book somewhere in storage which confused me to no end when I was in high school, it went on for page after page after page about linked lists like they were the only thing that mattered to computer science when it could've just explained the concept, what they were good for and then moved on).

Re:Jesus christ learn to schedule your time (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524170)

I've been in the same boat as the OP. I did research it and its wide and varied.

If you don't understand the question, why the hell did you post an answer?

Mod: Troll

statistical decision theory (4, Interesting)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523708)

-bone up on your probability (continuous/discrete distributions, transformations, etc)
-grab a book on statistical decision theory like Parmigiani and Inoue or Berger (85).
-read Von Neumann/Morgenstern

Re:statistical decision theory (2)

scottgfx (68236) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523794)

Many years ago I read the book "Prisoner's Dilemma".

Interesting book with a bit of Game Theory and biography of Von Neumann.

Thought it interesting to note that my father's and Von Neumann's lives ever-so-slightly intersected at Operation Crossroads.

Re:statistical decision theory (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524198)

Thought it interesting to note that my father's and Von Neumann's lives ever-so-slightly intersected at Operation Crossroads.

That's pretty cool! Never heard of Operation Crossroads before, but it sounds like it was the second nuclear test?

Re:statistical decision theory (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37525338)

No it was a hotel near the 10 and 75 intersection. Von Neumann and my father buttfucked each other ever so slightly.

Re:statistical decision theory (3, Interesting)

Slugster (635830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524484)

-read Von Neumann/Morgenstern

I have the Von Neumann/Morganstern book. It is very heavy reading, Rain-Man level stuff. Unless you're rich or its really cheap, it's a good idea to thumb through a copy before buying.

On the other [fuffy] end of the spectrum is Prisoner's Dilemma by William Poundstone. A 1-2 hour read suitable for teens, with no difficult math and a lot of real-world examples.

Stanford AI and Game Theory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523718)

Stanford offers this? Where? Just curious because I'd be interested in something like this. I am currently enrolled in the Database & Machine Learning courses. I wouldn't mind taking on more! :P

Less Wrong (2, Interesting)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523724)

I haven't had much time to dig in yet, but I hear good things about Less Wrong [lesswrong.com] from some friends who are into game theory, ai, and sociology.

Here's their front page blurb:

Thinking and deciding are central to our daily lives. The Less Wrong community aims to gain expertise in how human brains think and decide, so that we can do so more successfully. We use the latest insights from cognitive science, social psychology, probability theory, and decision theory to improve our understanding of how the world works and what we can do to achieve our goals.

Re:Less Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523868)

Oh geez, eliezer is still around? Is he still soliciting donations for his bogus "institute" too?

Re:Less Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524332)

Well, he's writing the most successful Harry Potter fanfic on the web. Does that count?

Re:Less Wrong (2, Funny)

GrimmParoD (2468306) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524498)

You should be careful with communities assembled around prohibited subject matter. Game theory is one thing - Singularity class AI would be so disruptive that it may be assumed unregulated advances in the field could get you 'cleaned up' in pretty short order. People peddling entre into communities gathered around such subjects should be considered suspect unless they openly tell you that any significant contribution will likely come with total loss of your freedoms.

This fact gets conveniently left out of literature from Singularitarians in particular, but should be logically apparent to anyone actually deserving of being included in such an effort. If you must work on AI, either work alone and air-gapped, or alone and on a machine from which you periodically notify the NSA of your intentions to overrun the world with sentient kill-bots. Both of those options are better than walking into what should be an obvious death-trap.

The existence of security based prohibitions may suck, but it doesn't increase freedom to associate with individuals who are so obviously positioning to catch indies in a highly regulated field.

My advice, forget 'game-theory'/AI terminology and work on non-verbal thought processes via extended meditation. If you must use language, develop your own compaction routines with cipher keys bundled for obviousness - don't resort to natural language when attempting to make a leap across semantic boundaries. Trying to separate the expansion of logical processes from the compaction of logical processes is largely useless, and the security bump from obvious behaviors will pay off if you get popped for making progress.

Better to go get laid and have kids if you want to study emergent systems. Just MHO. Now where did I misplace my breeding stock? Hrm... Not here in Mom's basement.. *wanders off*

Re:Less Wrong (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37525430)

Right at the top of the page they have a line endorsing human rationality. Right next to that is a link to a singularity summit. There is no hint of irony in the juxtaposition. That's a big red flag right there.

How do they not work?? (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523736)

I'm aware of the Stanford on-line classes, but those don't work with my current schedule

Why? You can just watch the videos instead of doing the homework, or watch them sometime later and do the homework then.

But if you really had any interest you would be shifting around everything else, including sleep, to take fullest advantage of these classes in real time.

Re:How do they not work?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523870)

I'm aware of the Stanford on-line classes, but those don't work with my current schedule

Why? You can just watch the videos instead of doing the homework, or watch them sometime later and do the homework then.

But if you really had any interest you would be shifting around everything else, including sleep, to take fullest advantage of these classes in real time.

THIS

I would just mod you up but I'm out of points.

Re:How do they not work?? (1)

manwargi (1361031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524514)

Not only that, the AI class has a "light" version that's simpler than the full course.

Re:How do they not work?? (2)

fartrader (323244) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524866)

Its a good thing that everyone seems to be clairvoyant and understand how the OP *can* indeed fit it in to his current schedule when he says he can't. Maybe he has a 100 hour a week job, a demanding girlfriend, 200 kids or all three. ...and "interest" doesn't mean you give up sleep. Perhaps if he was interested in two things he should give up eating as well.

Reasonable question asked - with reasonable parameters - unreasonable dissection.

Re:How do they not work?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524902)

demanding girlfriend - is that what the kids are calling xbox these days?

Re:How do they not work?? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524972)

I like how you sarcastically, and unintentionally, give the exact same answer! He doesn't work that long, have that many kids etc, and therefore COULD in fact find the time.

Another possibility is that there's no way for him to learn this stuff as there's no way of doing it without leaving the girlfriend, drowning some kids etc.

Re:How do they not work?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524914)

He already said this was a hobby interest. It would be stupid to potentially sacrifice things that benefit job performance (like sleep) in this economy for hobby interests.

Re:How do they not work?? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524926)

Anyone who has any interest but hasn't already looked into it themselves, is not going to be interested in getting up at 4am. Nor do I think it would do much use. Why, if you can watch the video?

Personally I wouldn't even bother with the videos, just read the book.. I might dig it out and see if it has any Lambda Calculus stuff - I'm about to go through Norvig's book on AI/Common Lisp.. and my memory of LC is really rusty.

Re:How do they not work?? (4, Insightful)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#37525352)

Why? You can just watch the videos instead of doing the homework, or watch them sometime later and do the homework then.

Maybe xmojox isn't around a PC for hours, because of his/her job, and spend a few more hours commuting. Maybe he/she has no tablet that's easily carried. We are not to judge. If we don't believe what's telling us, we may as well think this question is just an attempt at trollling and stop wasting our times.

But if you really had any interest you would be shifting around everything else, including sleep, to take fullest advantage of these classes in real time.

Worst. Advice. Ever. If you don't sleep at least six hours, you'll notice. It isn't sustainable.

On topic: Check Wikipedia's page for Game Theory and go to the citations. There you'll find a few books and other resources you can read.

Robot Aside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523738)

Buy a good book. I have two (one when I took it in university, and another I purchased later). For a good introduction: try a cognitive psychology course. I took it along with AI, and there was 1 other guy doing both that semester. We both agreed that apart from terms, you study for one and its like studying for both. They aren't of course the same, but the follow similar themes. Example: my Psych prof. asked the class to try and understand the missionaries/cannibals problem. "Just try to work the problem and see if you can figure it out. It represents a type of problem where you have to backtrack to get a proper solution". The next day, I got the same problem in CS, but it sounded more like this "You are required to write three programs showing the computer solving this missionaries/cannibals problem using depth first, breadth first, and best first search trees. Use alpha-beta pruning to speed the search. There was another program and some other problems as part of that weeks assignment. You could do it in C using multi-linked lists, but we used either prolog or (mostly) common lisp (pronounced lithp). Make sure the AI texts include predicate calculus, rules of inference, and modus tolens, modus ponens, introduction, elimination and universal instantiation.

Stanford Online Courses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523740)

Below is Stanford's Online courses.

http://see.stanford.edu/see/courses.aspx

There are a number of Ai related courses.

Try Open MIT, free online courses (0)

neverelax (2471308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523742)

Not sure if they'll have anything, but worth a shot if you haven't looked here. http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm [mit.edu]

Re:Try Open MIT, free online courses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523908)

Further investigation at OpenMIT yielded the following positive results!! There you go OP

Artificial Intelligence [mit.edu]

Game Theory [mit.edu]

Re:Try Open MIT, free online courses (1)

blue trane (110704) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524506)

From the first link I got to this page [aaai.org] which has the delicious quote:

"we might want to stop thinking about jobs as the main aspect of our lives that we want to save. They may be a means, but they are not the ends."

Game Theory on Open Yale Courses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523746)

The Open Yale Courses has a well-curated and complete introduction to Game Theory that I strongly recommend: check it out! The Problem Sets, Syllabus, along with videos and transcripts are all available.
http://oyc.yale.edu/economics/game-theory [yale.edu]

Game Theory - The Great Courses (2)

slasher999 (513533) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523754)

I purchased a course from "The Great Courses" on DVD last year (thegreatcourses.com), the topic of which was Game Theory. I've enjoyed the first half of the course, but haven't completed it. Unfortunately whenever I get time to go back to it, it has been long enough that I tend to start back at the beginning and watch the entire course over.

Also an important tip: Game Theory != Game Theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524108)

Because if the original poster was interested in computer games, then he might think "game theory" would help him making games. Which is as much the case as quantum mechanics helps with fixing a car. ^^
In case he really meant computer games and the theory about them:
"The Art of Game Designâ by Jesse Shell. 'nuff said.

Re:Game Theory - The Great Courses (1)

wienerschnizzel (1409447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524204)

These are awesome courses! Especially if you are new to the field. There are a couple of them that might interest you - the course on Game Theory, taught by a matemetician, focuses on the theory itself, although it gives some real life and historical scenarios of how game theory should be (or was) applied.

Then there is a course on Conflict Resolution which discusses a lot of the themes from Game Theory applied to real life and another course on Leadership that discusses a lot of historical examples of failures or successes of political or entrepreneurial campains.

AI Class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523778)

Start with the Stanford course given on-line that start in a few weeks:
http://www.ai-class.com/

perceptrons is a start (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523800)

Read perceptrons, I'm sure a copy exists in your local college library.

Re:perceptrons is a start (0)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523808)

don't kill me with -1 troll, it's a joke.

Re:perceptrons is a start (0)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523918)

don't kill me with -1 troll, it's a joke.

Slashdot should have a "just kidding" button, that will change your -5, troll to +5, funny.

Re:perceptrons is a start (1)

DanDD (1857066) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524174)

But then some asshat named Marvin would point out, in the most malicious way, how there can be no guarantee of linear separation between joke and troll...

Yale course on Game Theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523854)

As for gameThe Yale online course is excellent (pitched at an undergraduate level). A very good game theory book for the non-academic would be The Art of Strategy by Dixit and Nalebuff. More advanced introductions include Gibbons (1999) or Osborne (2003)

readings (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523860)

After you go thru the usual stuff (Intro to AI, on-line courses, et al)
Game Theory and Decision Theory in Agent-Based Systems ISBN 978-1-4020-7115-7
Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict ISBN 978-0674341166
Hope this helps.

hello (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523898)

hey, if you come here asking questions like these,

just go fuck yourself you dont deserve to learn even one percent of what you are asking ridht now

FUCK OFF
DIE

retard motherfucking idot

Russell & Norvig (4, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523904)

Read Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, 3rd edition. It's supposedly the most-used AI textbook in the world.

It's weak on the biologically inspired methods (genetic algorithms, neural networks, fuzzy logic), but very solid in "Good Old Fashioned AI" (GOFAI) and some of the decision-making procedures from other fields such as economics.

If you don't have a background in CS, you'll need to work through a book on discrete math first.

Re:Russell & Norvig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524114)

That book is great, someone should mod parent up!

Re:Russell & Norvig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524196)

For those newfangled things, I like Bio-Inspired Artificial Intelligence by Floreano and Mattiussi.

Re:Russell & Norvig (1)

liamoshan (1283930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524742)

+1 for this book. It was the only textbook in my uni study that I read cover to cover like a novel. It's exceptionally well written an accessible

lmgtfy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523912)

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=ocw+game+theory

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=ocw+ai

Yale course vidoes (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523926)

I like the Yale course by Benjamin Polak so far. I've only seen the first four videos, but it is presented very accessibly. You can find the videos easily on google.

AI and and Game Theory resources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523942)

Read "AI : A Modern Approach 3rd edition" - it will give you a holistic and in-depth perspective. I think chapter 14 or 15 covers some of game theory.
For game theory specifically, read "Game Theory, a short introduction" , by the aptly named Ken Binmore - very succinct.

F.A. Hayek's "The Fatal Conceit" (1)

bitbucketeer (892710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523968)

Central planning doesn't work nearly as well as decentralization of knowledge does.

Re:F.A. Hayek's "The Fatal Conceit" (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524490)

Maybe I'm off on a tangent or somewhere completely different alltogether, but...

How about decentralization of planning, too? If everyone that wanted to could be part of decision making. That would probably be the best and most democratic (obviously) way? In this age of the internet, it should not be that hard to implement technically, either.

AFAICS, the only reason not to increase democracy to an extreme is the possibility that democracy really isn't good for people. And even if that were true, it must still be the only right thing to do, IMO.

Re:F.A. Hayek's "The Fatal Conceit" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524548)

Perhaps I am being simple-minded, but I would think that the reason not to increase democracy would be that the current system greatly benefits those in power; the people best positioned to do so have the worst incentives.

Re:F.A. Hayek's "The Fatal Conceit" (1)

GrimmParoD (2468306) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524666)

"If everyone that wanted to could be part of decision making."

The bigger problem is all the people that don't want to be involved in planning, but want to remain employed/in good graces/not drawn outside the lines. Solve the organizational problem of perceived proximity to satisfaction and you might have a stab at making this work. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to make a human believe that the distance between current position and satisfaction is variable according to externally controlled factors. The distance is always equal to the duration of the urge, no more or less.

More plainly, the same problems that beset Tammany Hall will continue in Democratic structures until people accept the transient nature of life, risk, and reward. Beyond that developmental point, Democracy can't be beaten. Until then, you require periodic cleanings to break the behavioral patterns of people who subject themselves to both physical and mental intimidation or you end up with slave enforced plantation systems that get validated each election cycle. MTV's "Rock The Vote" and head-cracking Labor Union mobilizations are equally destructive to the process of distributing the power of governance.

The best way to learn is to do it (3, Interesting)

Unoriginal_Nickname (1248894) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523976)

The best way to learn is to do it. Choose a "game" and try to solve it with some different approaches. I say "game" with quotes because the game you pick should definitely not be a game which a normal adult would choose to play, but something very young children would play, or a heavily simplified variant of a full game. Something like Tic-Tac-Toe or RPS.

RPS seems trivial, but it's actually a very interesting game to study. It's an easy-to-understand example of how a Nash equilibrium strategy doesn't always produce an optimal outcome. The equilibrium strategy is to choose between the three moves at random, but you can't naively use the strategy because it offers no way of taking advantage of weak opponents, such as an opponent that favors a particular move or a pattern of moves. Computer RPS tournaments will always include a variety of bots that are predictably weak in various ways, to separate out the good bots that are capable of using these weaknesses.

Another simple game you could experiment with is Leduc Poker. Leduc Poker is another matrix game, and it's simple enough that you can easily compute the Nash equilibrium (which, remember, is not necessarily optimal, but it's a good starting point) or iterate over the entire game tree. You could also use a similar subset of poker to experiment with more advanced techniques - e.g. minimax and alphabeta pruning, or maybe Monte Carlo Tree Search (I can't guarantee that MCTS would work for poker, I'm not sure it's ever been done, but it might be interesting to try.)

Re:The best way to learn is to do it (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524894)

In all likelihood, the OP doesnt actually want to learn AI but rather the related subject of Machine Learning.

The problem with tackling AI is in fact everything you were talking about. Pick a simple game, write a player for it, etc, where the answer is nearly always some form of tree search leveraging hard-coded knowledge (chess-like) or simple Bayesian derivations using hard-coded knowledge (poker-like.) While that stuff (and path finding) is the mainstay of popularized AI, its both limiting and non-interesting unless you actually care about the specific game (chess engine authors love chess, not AI.. poker bot authors love poker, not AI..)

It is through the act of a program itself learning the knowledge necessary that makes AI both enjoyable and powerful. I can teach you a tree searching algorithm in a single day.. and I can teach you a machine learning algorithm like actor-critic in a single day.. only the later will reward you for a lifetime.

Decision making (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523982)

If you are interested in decision making in everyday live perhaps game theory is the more relevant subject to study. AI has always been arcane in a loveable sort of way whereas game theory is mostly applied mathematics. Perhaps you can benefit from my method: I went to our library (I work at at university, so your mileage may vary) and looked through a couple of books on game theory until I found that two that nicely complemented each other. It's very hard to give advise about introductory sources without knowing what you know and how you learn best.

Also, as a general method of learning new subjects: Try to think about things you already know in terms of the new theory. In your case that's probably what you want to do in the long run anyway given your stated motivation for learning those subjects.

One thing is for certain. (2)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 2 years ago | (#37523984)

Some think that artificial intelligence seeks to emulate the real intelligence of humans. But most of it is just software, and has little to do with real intelligence.

There are certain problems that AI can solve, but those solutions are not "intelligent" but rather are merely "formulas" programmed by intelligent people (computer scientists).

We get excited when these formulas emulate what a real person might do, and when we can hide the underlying machine, but that is not to say we know how people think or even how we are implemented. We are just getting better at programming.

There are some great advancements in cognitive science, and the more we discover about how the brain works, the less it looks like it could be run by any "code". No intel inside. The brain is an organ that grows and dies, and takes its memories with it. If anything, it programs itself.

That is not to say there haven't been advancements in AI. It too is incredibly useful.

A good place to start:
http://www.ted.com/search?q=brain [ted.com]
http://www.ted.com/search?q=artificial+intelligence [ted.com] ... and wikipedia of course...

As for politicians (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523986)

the game theory is simple. Follow profit.

relevant: wargames (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37523988)

how about a nice game of chess?

Micromotives and Macrobehavior by Tom Schelling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524028)

This is a good book.

There is a free Stanford University AI-Class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524032)

There is a free Stanfrod University AI-Class this fall. In this fall's edition of it, the two legendary teachers are letting the whole world participate.
It's been a featured story on Slashdot a couple of months ago.

You still have time to sign up and join the class which starts in October

http://www.ai-class.com/

You might try Economics instead. (3, Insightful)

meburke (736645) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524088)

Not to belittle your choices, but this is a VERY complicated subject. My favorite introductions to game theory are, "The Compleat Strategyst" by Williams, and, "Strategy in Poker, Business and War" by McDonald. These are not trivial books, but they are easy reads into the uses of Game Theory.

After that, you get into some Math. Read anything you can on Probability and Risk; know your Statistics and Calculus. Much of what you are looking for will be found under the subject "Decision Theory."

I say study Economics because this is where political and economic scientific thought is making the greatest gains at this time. Game theory has a lot to do with "payoff" and Economics is a fertile field for studying payoffs. (So is Political Science, and there some good laboratories in, say, Afghanistan, Mexico and Chicago. But that's a slightly different, pragmatic, field of study.)

My favorite definition of "politics" is: "The behavior of vying for scarce rewards." This is almost exactly a definition for Economics. At one time Economics was thought to be a sub-level of politics; it now seems the opposite is true.

Hayak pretty much proved that economic behavior cannot be quantified because of the complexity. What is useful is deriving principles of actions under a variety of conditions to provide maximum payoffs, for the most people, under the widest variety of conditions. (An alternative course is to try to derive the largest payoffs for the fewest people under specific conditions.) AutoDesk used to have an Artificial Life laboratory that you could manipulate to learn about Genetic Algorithms and other AI behavior. Context-dependent AI can be learned through developing Neural Nets. Some of the guys I've talked to at Carnegie Mellon in the Quantitative Economics studies have warring economic artificial hybrid GA/Neural Nets, and the observations are pretty interesting.

If it was simply a matter of rational decision making, optimum economic strategies could probably be described and tested in a much smaller AI field. However, politics and economics are burdened with mis-perceptions, human values, and stubborn beliefs. This is a big field, and you should be able to enjoy it as a hobby for the rest of your life without running into a limit of learning.

Re:You might try Economics instead. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524436)

Economics creates artificial scarcity, while science and technology decrease scarcity. Economics falsely sells unemployment as the result of industrial breakdown, when in fact it represents progress. Economics is non-predictive and based on flawed axioms such as the origin of money [nakedcapitalism.com] :

a. Just in way of emphasis: economists thus predicted that all (100%) non-monetary economies would be barter economies. Empirical observation has revealed that the actual number of observable cases—out of thousands studied—is 0%.

b. Similarly, the number of documented marketplaces where people regularly appear to swap goods directly without any reference to a money of account is also zero. If any sociological prediction has ever been empirically refuted, this is it.

Braitenburg and Dawkins (2)

DanDD (1857066) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524130)

First, read up on Braitenburg Vehicles [wikipedia.org] and The Selfish Gene [wikipedia.org] , by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins is something of a deity in the annals of evolutionary biology and is worthy of worship :-p

Then read up on Neural Networks [wikipedia.org] , start simple with a feed-forward with error backprop.

Then try your hand at some Temporal Difference Learning [wikipedia.org] .

Then take a look at genetic algorithms [wikipedia.org] , but it might help you to first understand the classic A* heuristic search algorithm [wikipedia.org] . Genetic algorithms tend to be interesting search algorithms that are inspired by a genetic process, but they have little connection to the actual biological process for which they are named, so I am biased against them. This perception could just be a local cognitive minima that might be avoided with better training.

Re:Braitenburg and Dawkins (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#37525508)

Genetic algorithms tend to be interesting search algorithms that are inspired by a genetic process, but they have little connection to the actual biological process for which they are named, so I am biased against them. This perception could just be a local cognitive minima that might be avoided with better training.

Just stop using the name 'genetic algorithm' when thinking about them.

Begin with a straightforward randomized state-space search method, simply remember the candidate solution with the best score. How can that be improved upon? We could keep a record of many of these randomized candidate solutions and their scores and derive new candidates using various methodologies, such as combining parts of two different candidates into a new candidate and then randomizing only minor parts of these new candidates. We can call this the 'directed randomized search method' where the performance of past candidate solutions influence the generation of new candidate solutions.

And there you go.. the 'Directed Randomized Search Method' AKA 'Genetic Algorithm'

What isnt so obvious is that once you start thinking about it like this, you have a greater understanding of the roles of population size, mutation rate, elitism, and so on, as well as the effects of population convergence and other observations about the population, and that the enforcement of 'generations' has no beneficial qualities (ie: it is much better to generate one new candidate at a time and moving that new information into the population immediately so that it can be leveraged immediately)

Best way to learn about games (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524138)

Suck another man's dick, become a faggot.

GAMES ARE FOR FAGGOTS.

Will Chris Crawford's Tomes Help? (1)

cmholm (69081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524166)

Not knowing exactly what level of knowledge you're starting from... One of my first game purchases was Patton Versus Rommel, which included some artificial smarts. The liner notes included a reference to his second book The Art of Computer Design [wikipedia.org] , [PDF [google.com] ] and based on the context, I hoped it might include at least introductory pointers to game AI. Nope. There's also Chris Crawford on Game Design [wikipedia.org] , [Google Books [google.com] ]. It does include some high level designs, which may or may not be what you're looking for.

you FAIL 1t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524184)

liitle-kNown

Psychology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524192)

Hey xmojox, if you want to understand human decisions, you might be better off looking into psychology. Dan Gilbert had a great talk on TED on happiness and human decision making: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTO_dZUvbJA

The Bounds of Reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524194)

Currently doing my PhD in Compuer Science on game theory related topics. I recently ordered this book to learn something on behavioural studies: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8901.html I really enjoyed reading the pages you can find online.

Book (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524202)

May I suggest the following book:

Multiagent Systems
Algorithmic, Game-Theoretic, and Logical Foundations
Yoav Shoham
Stanford University
Kevin Leyton-Brown
University of British Columbia

http://www.masfoundations.org/index.html

Game Theory: A Critical Introduction (3)

mrogers (85392) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524264)

The best technical introduction to game theory I've come across is Game Theory: A Critical Introduction by Shaun P. Hargreaves-Heap and Yanis Varoufakis, which introduces the most important concepts while placing them within their philosophical context (for example, to what extent is it reasonable to regard humans as the kind of agents assumed by game theory?). I've been studying game theory for years and wish I'd read this book a long time ago.

If you really have no patience for philosophy, try Game Theory for Applied Economists by Robert Gibbons instead. ;-)

John Maynard Smith's Evolution and the Theory of Games is accessible and indispensable.

Less technical works that explore the implications of the theory in fascinating ways include The Evolution of Cooperation (the book that first got me interested in the subject) and The Complexity of Cooperation by Robert Axelrod, and anything by Brian Skyrms.

Re:Game Theory: A Critical Introduction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524350)

Speaking as a mathematician, the book GTfAE is horrible. It is so imprecise that it might give you the feeling of having learned something, but this approach completely breaks down the more the book advances. It's like the author decided to not use definitions "because they are too complicated" and then still goes on to state theorems because that's what math is about ... except theorems work only when you have laid out your definitions.

The book is okay as an introduction, though. I suppose, you probably become bored or annoyed before the advanced stuff anyway.

Yale course "Game Theory" on Youtube (2)

tsvk (624784) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524278)

Here is the complete Youtube playlist for the Yale course "Game Theory", lectured by Ben Polak. 24 lectures in total, about 1 h 15 min each.

Course description: This course is an introduction to game theory and strategic thinking. Ideas such as dominance, backward induction, Nash equilibrium, evolutionary stability, commitment, credibility, asymmetric information, adverse selection, and signaling are discussed and applied to games played in class and to examples drawn from economics, politics, the movies, and elsewhere.

I have had the intention of watching through this, but haven't had the time after the first few lectures. The material is recommended, though.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6EF60E1027E1A10B [youtube.com]

Good game theory books I keep on my shelf: (3, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524284)

Good game theory books I keep on my shelf:

Nonlinear Dynamics, Mathematical Biology, and Social Science (Santa Fe Institute Studies in the Sciences of Complexity Lecture Notes)
by Joshua Epstein
Westview Press
ISBN: 9780201419887
(if you know enough math for partial differential equations, this book is a must-have, since it's directly applicable to mathematically modelling open source software projects)

The Evolution of Cooperation
by Robert Axelrod and William D. Hamilton
Paper: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.147.9644&rep=rep1&type=pdf [psu.edu]
Book: ISBN 0-465-02122-2
Perspectives on Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems
Basic Books
ISBN: 9780195162929

The Complexity of Cooperation: Agent-Based Models of Competition and Collaboration
by Robert Axelrod
Princeton University Press
ISBN 978-0691015675

Game Theory and the Social Contract, Vol. 1: Playing Fair
by Ken Binmore
MIT Press
ISBN 978-0262023634

Game Theory and the Social Contract, Vol. 2: Just Playing (Economic Learning and Social Evolution)
by Ken Binmore
MIT Press
ISBN 978-0262024440

Analyzing Policy: Choices, Conflicts, and Practice
by Michael C. Munger
W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN 978-0393973990

Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up (Complex Adaptive Systems
by Joshua M. Epstein, Robert L. Axtell
MIT Press
ISBN 978-0262550253

See also:

http://www.santafe.edu/ [santafe.edu]
http://www.youtube.com/user/santafeinst [youtube.com]

The Brookings Institute is also active in this area (it was their math that led most of the U.S. Cold War policy and kept everyone out of a nuclear exchange with the Soviets).

-- Terry

juicy couture wallet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524322)

We continue http://www.handbagssale-online.com/Burberry--scarf.html reviewing fashion collections for next autumn / winter. Bloss fashion brand, the young designer Sandra Espi?eira (whom we interviewed last year), will
http://www.handbagssale-online.com/coach--wallet.html premiere outlet in Madrid, in the multispace Enfant Terrible. It will be during the next month when Bloss opens its first outlet in the capital, where you can purchase designs Blosser, among which include long dresses. Elegant, simple, http://www.handbagssale-online.com/Chanel-Tote-Bags.html functional and very feminine, dresses (and skirts and blouses) from the collection of autumn / winter line continue this new designer, who is
http://www.handbagssale-online.com/Prada-Wallets.html already making a hole in the emerging Spanish fashion.

try yale's version! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524400)

Why don't you try Yale's version... download it and look it when you want \o/
Yale Game theory [yale.edu]

ust in time!!! Stanford's AI-class and ML-class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524456)

It is surprising that nobody suggested ai-class.com and ml-class.com - a large scale e-learning experiment which is gonna be conducted starting October by some of the best professors in that field (Peter Norvig, Thrun, etc.)

You are just in time !!

Algorithmic Game Theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524528)

I would suggest the book "Algorithmic Game Theory" (by Nisan, Trados, Roughgarden and Vazirani (Cambridge University Press)) to be found on Nisan's home page from a simple google search.

On AI, I would suggest the Russel and Norvig "AI: A modern approach"

Best Way to Learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524530)

Hi, I would like to learn everything about [insert topic]. Do you have any suggestions about how I can do this? I don't really want anything that involves reading, listening to lectures, or in fact any kind of extra work. I've tried sleeping with the textbooks under my pillow but this doesn't really work for me.

Your suggestions are appreciated.

You're doing it wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524596)

I'll get shot down in flames for this, but it's a geek fallacy to think that you can understand "politicians, business people, and general society" through "Artificial Intelligence and Game Theory".

To understand politicians, study politics.

To understand business people, study business.

To understand society, study sociology.

Of course, to understand Artificial Intelligence and Game Theory, then study Artificial Intelligence and Game Theory.

The first rule of international manipulation is.. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 2 years ago | (#37524634)

"I would like to learn more about Artificial Intelligence and Game Theory. I know these are both large areas of study; however, my main interest is in how these affect decisions in the world. This would include politicians, business people, and general society. I'm not looking for a career or anything; this is just a personal interest of mine. Where are good places to start in these areas for somebody new to them? I'm aware of the Stanford on-line classes, but those don't work with my current schedule."

Do you really understand how unwise it is to put those words together [wikipedia.org] in that manner? Don't interfere [bbc.co.uk] .

Yale - Free undergraduate video lectures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37524836)

I found this an enjoyable - if not especially in-depth - undergraduate-level introduction. I recommend it if you're new to game theory.

http://oyc.yale.edu/economics/game-theory/

Bible of Game Theory: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37525026)

If you're serious, the bible of game theory is:

MasCollel, Winston, and Greene's text on Microeconomic theory, or MCGW,

You will need to be advanced in mathematics and comfortable reading it.
I'm a PhD, student in economics, and completed game theory last semester, finished the prelim with the highest score in the class.

Consciousness (3, Insightful)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37525284)

I haven't seen anyone post it yet, but if your interest is in human-like intelligence, read an AI critic like Searle.

Idiot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37525572)

What you ask will involve years of study... you can't learn this reading some "A.I. book" from Barnes and Nobles....

It's like asking, I don't want to go to law school, but I would like to become a lawyer....

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