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A Problem You'll Never Solve

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Channel: Vsauce2
Categories: Brain Teasers   |   Statistics & Probability   |   Math  
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Watch my newest video, "The Game You Win By Losing (Parrondo's Paradox)": https://youtu.be/PpvboBJEozM
Curiosity Box: https://www.curiositybox.com

MrBeasts $1,000,000 Dilemma: https://youtu.be/NkYCWqzBc7M

Newcombs Paradox has confounded philosophers, mathematicians, and game players for over 50 years. The problem is simple: You can take Box A, which contains $1,000, *and* Box B, which contains either $0 or $1,000,000, or you can just take Box B. The right choice seems obvious -- but theres a catch.

Before you play, an omniscient being has predicted whether youd take both Box A and Box B or *only* Box B. If hes predicted that youll take both, hes put $0 in Box B. If he predicts that youll only take Box B, hes put $1,000,000 inside. So what do you do?

I explore the two approaches to this problem, one based on the math of expected utility and the other based on a logical dominance principle. Newcombs Paradox raises questions about free will and determinism as it explores whether a problem with no solution might be easier than a problem with two perfectly valid contradictory solutions.

*** SOURCES ***

Newcomb's Problem And Two Principles Of Choice, by Robert Nozick
http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/rjohns/nozick_newcomb.pdf

Newcombs Paradox poll results from The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/alexs-adventures-in-numberland/2016/nov/30/newcombs-problem-which-side-won-the-guardians-philosophy-poll

*** LINKS ***

Grandayy Links
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/grandayy
Twitter: https://twitter.com/grandayy

Vsauce2 Links
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VsauceTwo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VsauceTwo

Hosted, Produced, And Edited by Kevin Lieber
Instagram: http://instagram.com/kevlieber
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kevleeb

Research And Writing by Matthew Tabor
https://twitter.com/matthewktabor

Huge Thanks To Paula Lieber
https://www.etsy.com/shop/Craftality

Get Vsauce's favorite science and math toys delivered to your door!
https://www.curiositybox.com/

Select Music By Jake Chudnow: http://www.youtube.com/user/JakeChudnow

MY PODCAST -- THE CREATE UNKNOWN
https://www.youtube.com/thecreateunknown

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