Someone asks you a question and you have an intuitive understanding of precisely what is being asked. If you are not a game theorist you stop there and answer.

If you are a game theorist you start to analyze the question and discover that, as with all language there is some ambiguity. There’s more than one way to answer the question, the answer could be very detailed or just straightforward, the question might actually be rhetorical, there may be some implicit message to you in the question.

You begin to analyze how else she might have posed the same question. The fact that she chose this particular wording over another gives you clues about what precisely she is getting at. By a process of elimination this leads you to refine your interpretation of the question.

But if you are just a mediocre game theorist its pretty likely your analysis is totally wrong and you are worse off than if you hadn’t ever thought to analyze it. Indeed there is a good reason that your intuitive interpretation was the right one. Because the language evolved that way. And the evolution was probably so complex that there is no way a mediocre game theorist could have traced through the path of evolution to deduce that interpretation.

This is like how drugs can be found from compounds that have evolved in the plant and animal kingdom despite the fact that science has no way of knowing how to synthesize those.

And of course pretty much all of us are mediocre game theorists at best.

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