A Problem You'll Never Solve

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  • Published on:  Monday, February 25, 2019
  • Watch my newest video, "The Dot Game That Breaks Your Brain": https://cnclips.net/video/XKsTGdN-4_M/video.html

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    MrBeast’s $1,000,000 Dilemma: https://cnclips.net/video/NkYCWqzBc7M/video.html

    Newcomb’s 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 there’s a catch.

    Before you play, an omniscient being has predicted whether you’d take both Box A and Box B or *only* Box B. If he’s predicted that you’ll take both, he’s put $0 in Box B. If he predicts that you’ll only take Box B, he’s 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. Newcomb’s 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

    Newcomb’s 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

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    Hosted, Produced, And Edited by Kevin Lieber
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    Research And Writing by Matthew Tabor
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  • Vsauce2
    Vsauce2  6 months ago +778

    Here's Robert Nozick's paper if you'd like to read more about this problem. http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/rjohns/nozick_newcomb.pdf

  • maurycy zalewski
    maurycy zalewski  5 hours ago

    just box B.

  • Tim Polcyn
    Tim Polcyn  yesterday

    Me whenever I'm doing a test,
    Right
    Maybe
    Wrong

  • Ze Master
    Ze Master  yesterday

    There's only ONE right answer because he either chose box B's value in advance or he hasn't!

  • Magyar GabeN
    Magyar GabeN  yesterday

    EA: Interesting...

  • Liam Tennyson
    Liam Tennyson  3 days ago

    All I know is this video is a very large grandayy endorsement

  • Levi Minton
    Levi Minton  3 days ago

    Seems sort of like Schrödinger’s cat

  • FluffyPancakes
    FluffyPancakes  3 days ago

    both seems right to me

  • Levi Stepanian
    Levi Stepanian  3 days ago

    If the genie is 50% of the time right then always chose both boxes, theoretically if the genie is right more 50% of the time then one should chose the mystery box but in reality the (either choice sweet spot) is between 50% and 50.1%

  • Jesse James
    Jesse James  3 days ago +1

    Dog, y'all all clowns, the genie is tricking us, box a only has 999 candies, and box b has 1

  • fungibot
    fungibot  4 days ago

    It's so obvious. Take both, because if the genie already determined whether box B has 0 or 1,000,000, he can't change it. If you take both you are guaranteed to get 1,000 and possibly 1,001,000.
    Even if you "know" that there is nothing in the mystery box, you should still take it as well just in case you are wrong. Who cares what the genie decided. If he did or didn't put 1 mil in the box, you still might get 1 mil. You should take it. It's hard to explain in words. It is a paradox, but you are better off choosing both, even if the paradox suggests that the genie won't put anything in it.
    If you take only box B, you could either get nothing, or 1 mil. If you also take box A, you get 1000 added on to whatever you got from box B, so unless you want ONLY 1,000,000, you should pick both.
    Let me say that again.
    If the genie assumes you will be greedy, which you probably will, he will put nothing in the box.
    Then why should you still take the box? Because there is no loss in gaining nothing from box B, but 1,000 from box A. It's likely you won't get 1 million but you should do it anyways, because you won't lose anything if you're wrong, but you will still gain 1,000 at least.

    In case you're confused or didn't listen well to the rules of the game by any chance, if you choose box B and it has nothing, you get nothing. If you choose box B and box A, you will get 1,000 + what is in Box B, because box A rewards 1,000 not being changed by or changing box B. so if you choose both, you will either earn 1,000 or 1,001,000. If you choose box B only, you will either earn 0 or 1,000,000. Therefor, your chances of earning anything at all are higher with choosing both, but your chances of box B having 1,000,000 in it doesn't change if you choose only box B or both, it only changes whether you get the box or not. If you choose both boxes, you do NOT have a greater chance of getting 1 million more, same goes for choosing only box B.
    Therefor, choosing both boxes is the obvious answer. If you don't understand, please re-read. I repeated myself a lot to try to make sure you understand. If you still believe that you should choose only box B, leave your opinion in a reply to my comment. Ty.


    In my opinion, choosing both boxes is the correct choice.

  • Liam Eggleston
    Liam Eggleston  4 days ago

    when you look at box b and then see how full box A is with 1000 candies,


    hmm, I'm not sure 1,000,000 gonna fit in there ill take only A

  • The kEvChO
    The kEvChO  5 days ago

    How do you like that silver?

  • PenguinJP MC
    PenguinJP MC  5 days ago

    so get diabetes or get diabetes but more?

  • Tanler Shine
    Tanler Shine  7 days ago

    Just A

  • Dr Numbnuts
    Dr Numbnuts  7 days ago

    My solution: Only take the 1000 so as not to be disappointed in the 50% chance of the mystery box containing nothing. Besides. If I get a million candies me and everybody I know will get type 2 diabetes.

  • Wooosh me if you're gay

    I'm over here in the HPMOR corner trying to find a way to exploit this mystery box into omnipotence.

  • Malfoy the Unanxious

    Team both anyone??

  • David Trambusti
    David Trambusti  7 days ago

    What is the title of the ending soundtrack? :D
    Where can i download it?

  • Kiara Blitz
    Kiara Blitz  7 days ago +1

    Utility and Dominance are my two last brain cells arguing.