Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Using game theory to predict the future and make strategic decisions

Neil Raden's Tweet¹ caught my attention about the book of Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, called The Predictioneer’s Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future.

Bruce is a research in game theory, and Professor at New York University and Stanford University. He is also a partner in Mesquita & Roundell, a consulting firm that uses game theory models he developed to assist corporations and the U.S. intelligence (CIA and the Department of Defense) and policymaking community in complex negotiations involving mergers and acquisitions, litigation, regulation, and national security matters.

Bruce wrote in his website: "Decision making is one of the last frontiers barely touched by science in day-to-day use. The Predictioneer’s Game was written to help change that. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for wisdom and “street smarts.” But it is awfully hard to know who is wise and who has great intuition before decisions have to be made. It is much more helpful to have a proven method to connect the dots correctly beforehand. That is true whether addressing everyday life, business choices, or the biggest national security questions. The Predictioneer’s Game is about learning to come up with reliable predictions to foresee and even engineer the future."

I have not read his book yet, but I intend to read it soon. Based in the book's excerpts published in his site, I think it is very interesting.

Last year Bruce gave a good lecture at TED: Bruce Bueno de Mesquita predicts Iran's future. According TED: "Bruce Bueno de Mesquita uses mathematical analysis to predict (very often correctly) such messy human events as war, political power shifts, Intifada ... After a crisp explanation of how he does it, he offers three predictions on the future of Iran."

Other interesting links with articles about Bruce Bueno de Mesquita:

- Good Magazine article, “The New Nostradamus”
- New York Times Sunday Magazine Profile

1 - Tweet is a message in Twitter.

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