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Stop ISIS With Game Theory?

Nearly everyday I hear people talking about ISIS or read a news article about recent developments with them. The acts of these violent extremists have wakened the world to the presence of terrorism and united multiple countries in an effort to end ISIS and their acts of terrorism. In the past the dominant military strategy was to target high ranking individuals in a terrorist organization and “cut off the head of the snake” as we did with al Qaeda. With ISIS however this strategy was proving to be relatively ineffective. The link below goes to an article that explains how U.S. officials have been using Game Theory to analyze how ISIS recruits members, operates, and how to take them down. Game Theory is being used to look at how ISIS has been so effective at recruiting members across language and national barriers. Data analysts are working steadily to study how social media recruitment messages are used and what about them makes them effective. Based on this data anti-recruiment messages are developed and sent out via social media to attempt to prevent more extremist from becoming violent extremists. Instead of just targeting the leaders of the organization game theory lead them to adapt their strategy to also target influencers, adapting the way U.S. counterterrorism operates. Game theory has given hope to our ability to deconstruct the radical framework that ISIS is built on.

This article directly relates to our class discussion on game theory. Specifically this article explores how individuals are able to make the same decisions as other individuals, without ever having talked to them. In class we also discussed dominant and mixed strategies based on what decisions we believe others will make, which is directly discussed in this article. Game theory is a very interesting concept and it’s application to a plethora of things could help solve problems in new ways that haven’t yet been tried.


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October 2016