Improve decision-making skills through game theory analysis and technical sports

The integration of technical sports and the in-depth analysis of game theory into the school curriculum is imperative given the rapid pace of technical change in the world and the ever-increasing complexity of society.

We are all biologically determined to have specific characteristics and potential to work and be proficient in a number of areas. There are specific skills required to work in different fields (scientific or not): quick and precise decision-making in various situations, verbal skills, quantitative analysis and the ability to make mental calculations, proprioception and precise perception of external states which translate by motor actions, to name but a few.

Our world will become exponentially more technologically complex over time. The jobs that are needed and successful today will not necessarily be in market demand 20 to 30 years from now. In order to enable our society to have an adaptable workforce, it will be very important to have individuals capable of both making high-value decisions and at least understanding technology, if not preferably create.

I see game theory classes in school as a significant added value to empower future generations to make better decisions, and technical sports as a way to attract and select individuals into STEM.

Technical sports are hands-on activities that focus on improving abilities such as manual skills, hand-eye coordination in performing high-precision operations needed to build prototypes and control RC or autonomous systems . Encouraging sports activities is a
essential for any country that shows the slightest interest in really guiding young people in their career development.

Technical-application sport is an effective way to recruit young, high-potential individuals who will later become scientists or technologists.

If a nation shows even a modest interest in guiding young people to choose a career, the options must be presented at an early stage: it is not something new that the most successful scientists and technologists are in made those who have the talent to work in the
field.

In Europe and the United States, technical sports are not included in the common school curriculum. In the past, in Eastern Europe, they formed the basis for the recruitment and training of our specialists. By the way, such occupations were encouraged even before the communist regime, in Romania, for example, the monarchy financed clubs that practiced such sports (King Michael I of Romania was trained in such groups in his youth).

They were young people who passed through these groups to later become engineers and specialists capable of creating the best air superiority fighter aircraft in the world: the one that Romania used during the Second World War against the Russian aggressors and the regimes. fascists.

Prototyping skills (including technological know-how), distributed attention, and design capabilities are required to practice technical-application sports. The Chinese government has understood this and as such there are various competitions, clubs and other activities associated with these sports. In addition, technical know-how is acquired in many schools through the education system: for economists, it seems that the training of our workforce is too focused on theoretical knowledge (essentially memorization of facts ) and that practical skills are most often omitted.

In any society, there must be a balance between professional fields, and in a highly technological civilization, STEM specialists are in great demand: it is natural that we make efforts to recruit them and prepare them to enter the labor market. , taking into account the advantages
society benefits from their activities.

The other aspect that educational systems overlook is the coordinated use of simulators and games to improve individuals’ decision-making abilities. Combining game theory (a modern and productive area of ​​research in economics) with digital technologies will also allow us to assess high-value individuals and guide them further in their careers.

Not all games are actually helpful in this process. I believe that the vast majority of games developed are not useful at all: low levels of attention required, very low levels of complexity and repetitive activities are not what we want to see in education.

Games that I think would have great educational value are perfect information games such as Go and chess, real-time strategy games (with complex game state spaces), and non-current games that require pattern recognition (preferably abstract).

Games like chess force players to predict future game states with wide horizons (from 7-8 moves ahead for proficient amateurs to 15+ for great players like grandmasters).

Being a game of perfect information (all players having all available information relevant to the game), the essence of the game is to relatively quickly identify the near-optimal actions needed to transition to high-value states from which a player is likely to win. the game if it acts optimally.

True strategy games (RTS), some played on the esports arena, like StarCraft, are much more complex games of imperfect information that, beyond exact probabilistic strategic thinking, require knowledge of tactics and capabilities for identifying the best micro-actions (short command sequences) at any time from the set of available actions.

Competent RTS play requires a quick assessment of economic developments while using resource management skills, an accurate understanding (at fractions of the map length scale in some cases) of scouting enemy bases, of the composition of the forces and of the technological trees, of the probable states of the whole. game (including opponent economies, spatial distribution structures).

From a macroeconomic point of view, it is necessary to understand concepts such as the rates of collection of resources, the points of convergence of economic development for specific compositions, the optimal responses to the economic actions of opponents. From a microgame perspective, students need to find high-value regions in the game (resources, defense prospects, structure deployment), be creative tactically (exploit infrequent microgame states ).

It should be noted that there is also modern research on game theory and the use of reinforcement learning (a machine learning technique in which artificially intelligent agents are the ones who make decisions that are rewarded or punished) in order to improve the AI.
training systems for simulators or games.

In schools, students must analyze these games at different levels of complexity. Beginners (elementary and middle school students) need to learn the basics of the games and find optimal action sequences to actually win the games. Talent shows up early and assessment of students and their native abilities can be automated: metrics include effective actions per minute, average time spent delivering moves, accuracy (including hand-eye coordination in RTS ).

Ultimately, a variety of uncommon games is needed to not allow saturation between individual scores (on rankings): we also need to look for creativity and general recognition of abstract patterns in the individuals we assess.

The benefits of automatic student assessment in these areas are clear: they are as unbiased as possible, allowing students from all socio-economic backgrounds to demonstrate native and transferable skills. Those who support technical and application sports while teaching students how to become competent decision makers will be those who will have a high caliber workforce in the future.

Codrin Paul Oneci is a Romanian student studying Aerospace Engineering and Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Sharon D. Cole