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Game theory is the study of using mathematical models to assess interactive systems. Many experts describe it as the analysis of interplay between independent rational decision-makers or actors. Game theory is useful in many different kinds of research, such as projects that take into account elements of human psychology.
Although game theory can be applied to the types of digital systems and constructs that we think of as games, game theory goes far beyond the analysis of creative play. One popular application is in economics, which is, above all things, a study of interactions between decision-making entities. Game theory has been an extremely popular way of researching macroeconomics and has also been the basis for many other fields of study in human-related areas. Game theory can also be used to assess natural systems, for instance, for the purposes of evaluating processes of natural selection for one or more species.
While the majority of game theory to date has been applied to human players, with machine learning and deep learning taking hold, it's likely that future game theory will often include an analysis of artificial intelligence entities that are their own rational actors. As technologies become able to take a set of rules and extrapolate cognitive results, game theory can measure how they work together or compete within a given system. Since game theory is essentially analyzing logical decision-making, it can be applied to both humans and evolved artificial intelligence technologies.