Application of Game Theory based on John Nash's Nobel Prize winning work: I could use this, couldn't I?

I recently attended a college presentation, “Knowledge and Games,” hoping to dip my toe in my Gen-X son’s world. I wanted to be Finally Cool Mom. Unfortunately, I left Still Clueless Mom. This computer scientist was so smitten with logic and game theory that he didn’t seem to notice that I was the only one who attended his lecture—a bad sign on so many levels.

He meticulously outlined intricate logistical concepts, unaware that my brain was melting like ice cream in a hot car. Then one question formed in my melting brain: what difference does any of this stuff make for real people? Scientists can think beyond three dimensions and through multiple  layers of abstractions. They have magical, beautiful minds, capable of superhuman intellectual acrobatics. But science doesn’t stay in laboratories or in books; it yields real life consequences. How many scientists think about the implications of their research to the world we live in? I do!

Back to Dr. Mystification …Following a not-brief-enough history of epistemology—“the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope” (Oxford Dictionary), he discussed the difference between two  statements fundamental to blending logic and game theory: “I believe that α is true” versus “I knowthat α is true,” where α is some condition, hypothetical or real, which covers just about everything. He spent a lot of time convincing me that these two statements are very different—something I actually understood. But there’s trouble in philosophical

Something doesn't quite add up here.

and scientific  paradise about agreement on the difference between thinking and believing. This is why so many geniuses have been thinking so hard about knowledge for so long. I believe they are putting way too much thoughtinto this.

Dr. Mystification finally linked epistemology with game theory. He moved from the realm of thinking about thinking to the realm of thinking about acting. I was thinking about leaving.

“Game theory is based on the assumption of rationality,” he said. The people who came up with this breakthrough were two German mathematicians in the mid-1940s and John Nash, also known as  Russell Crowe (who portrayed Nash in the movie, but not the book, “A Beautiful Mind”). Nash was a real genius, an economist at Harvard University, a Nobel Prize winner, and a schizophrenic. The link between schizophrenia, being a genius and studying economics at Harvard is still being explored. I made that up while Dr. Mystification was presenting a complex formula meant to simplify game theory.

The lecture ended with a demonstration of something. I think it was a theoretical war assuming that each war-lord thinks and behaves rationally. He was giddy. I was incredulous. All this time, effort,
pain, and grant money had come to this: rational war-lords fighting hypothetical battles?

“What are the social implications of this body of work?” I asked.

He paused, his face blank. “Sorry, we’re out of time.”

A beautiful mind is a terrible thing to waste, I thought as I left. I’ll have to figure out another way to be Finally Cool Mom, or maybe Just Mom is just fine. Forget World of Warcraft; I’m sticking with Mahjong and Spider Solitaire.