Game theory and The Walking Dead
- July 22, 2015
- LPS prof uses mathematics to break down the post-zombie-apocalyptic world
If you've watched The Walking Dead, you probably already know that the real danger in a post-zombie-apocalyptic world isn't the zombies. It's the people.
This theme echoes through the show's later seasons, where most of the compelling drama comes from main characters meeting other potentially dangerous/potentially helpful groups of survivors. These plot lines are rich with strategic tension. Should Rick and his friends hunt down the people of Terminus, or let them go? Is there a way to live with the Governor after his crimes? Can Diana be trusted? Should Carole be forgiven for killing sick group members?
Game theory is a branch of mathematics that can be used to understand strategic interactions between humans. Game theorists break down strategic scenarios into simple models that provide insight into human behavior. Sometimes these models provide surprising answers. Here, O’Connor uses game theory to analyze three of the most strategically compelling scenes in The Walking Dead.
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