[Link] Game Theory YouTube Videos

post by James_Miller · 2015-08-06T16:17:44.998Z · score: 16 (17 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 10 comments

I made a series of game theory videos that carefully go through the mechanics of solving many different types of games.  I optimized the videos for my future Smith College game theory students who will either miss a class, or get lost in class and want more examples.   I emphasize clarity over excitement.   I would be grateful for any feedback.


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comment by Viliam · 2015-08-07T19:46:28.868Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Seen the first three videos, here is my feedback:

You should make a longer pause where the audience is supposed to pause the video. (If you don't want to bother with video editing, just stay silent for 5 seconds.)

In the video about promises and threats, I think you have kinda spoiled the whole exercise by calling the choices "Promise" and "Threat" immediately. Would be better if you would just give them neutral names (like you said "if 'Promise' distracts you, just imagine there is 'P'"; well, you could have just written "P"), let audience solve it the usual way, and only then ask "wouldn't it be better for Player 2 if they could in advance make a promise/threat to follow this choice?".

Otherwise, the videos are great! I approve of your choice to make imperfect videos right now, as opposed to something hypothetically better in unspecified future.

comment by James_Miller · 2015-08-07T20:01:21.837Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by Viliam · 2015-08-07T20:24:20.693Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In video 5, why is it important to define "dominant strategy" as "this line always gives the greatest value" as opposed to "greater or equal value"?

Would it be somehow wrong for Player One here to say "I don't care what happens, I pick B, because there is never a reason not to"? If not, then why treat this case differently?

EDIT: Okay, I got it. There is no difference for Player One, but may be a difference for Player Two in that they might be unable in some situations to predict Player One's move (which doesn't influence the Player One's payoff in such situation, but may influence Player Two's payoff).

If this is also your reason, it might be useful to mention the bit "...and Player Two can predict that a rational Player One will choose their dominant strategy" in the video.

EDIT2: Or maybe you should introduce the term "weakly dominant strategy" immediately after explaining that "greater or equal value" is not a "dominant strategy". Just to make it clear that this type of situation will not be ignored later.

comment by WhyAsk · 2015-08-14T17:15:53.945Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have a feeling that I won't be on this forum much longer because of my difficulties with navigating this site and because of the "high burden of proof". It kind of reminds me of the government agency I tried to blow the whistle on; I had to have documentation for almost everything I said or wrote.
In that case, the problem wasn't that they didn't believe me. The problem was they did. They knew I was on to them.

But I do thank you for your videos, especially the ones on evolution. Now I should find a way to summarize the payoff matrices in a text document, if I can, and practice.

comment by adamzerner · 2015-08-06T22:59:19.594Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Awesome! Oddly enough, I'm actually listening to your podcast as I read this. I'm excited to check out the videos!

Edit: I'll be leaving specific comments in the videos themselves rather than here. If I have any general feedback, I'll leave it here.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-08T21:33:20.545Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hey James,

In the Game Theory book I'm currently going through, Introduction to Game Theory, it says that the assumptions behind game theory are that the numbers are ordinal - That is, the numbers used to represent utility don't say that you value "1,000,000" a million times as much as you value "1", only that you'd rather have the "1,000,000" over the 1. However, many of the examples you use for numbers seem to contradict this.

Did I misread Introduction to Game Theory, or are there two different version of game theory, or am I misunderstanding something else?

comment by James_Miller · 2015-08-09T00:14:18.615Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You are right that the usual assumption in game theory is that payoffs are ordinal. When I teach game theory I find it useful to mostly ignore this fact because some of my students (those who took Intermediate micro) have spent a lot of time on ordinal utility while most of the class has never encounter the concept before. In my video lectures I ignore the ordinal assumption except for assuming that players seek to maximize their expected payoff. (This follows from ordinal utility.) But all of the solutions I give would still be correct if you interpret the payoffs as ordinal.

comment by Viliam · 2015-08-09T12:25:12.933Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Maybe you could just mention this briefly, as a sidenote, without theory. Something like: "Note that if we'd replace the numbers 1, 2, 3 with 1001, 1002, 1003, or 1000, 2000, 3000, nothing changes. (Show three versions of the same simple decision tree.)"

comment by [deleted] · 2015-08-07T05:07:55.264Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Good luck competing with the existing Game Theory Youtube video series. Just make sure you don't tell anybody to try searching for it on Youtube.

comment by satt · 2015-08-08T16:33:47.317Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it's good to have multiple (correct!) explanations of concepts, even if some explanations remain more popular than others.