Bill Gasarch is on vacation and he had given me (Lance) a collection
of posts for me to post in his absence. But then I got email from Tal
Rabin who wants to get the word out about the Women
workshop to be held in Princeton in June. Done. Now back to
your regularly scheduled post from Bill.
I don't usually watch
I like some of the interesting math or dilemmas it brings up,
but the show itself is monotonous.
As Host Howie Mandel himself says "we don't ask you a bunch of trivia
questions, we just ask you one question: DEAL or NO DEAL!"
Here is a scenario I saw recently where I thought
the contestant made the obviously wrong
There are two numbers left on the board:
$1000 and $200,000.
She is offered a $110,000 deal.
She has mentioned that $110,000 is
about 5 times her salary
(so this amount of money would make a huge
difference in her life).
Usually in this show you have the audience
yelling `NO DEAL! NO DEAL!' This time
the audience, including her mother, her sister,
and some friends, were yelling `TAKE THE DEAL! TAKE THE DEAL!'.
While this is not a reason to take the deal, note that
the decision to say NO DEAL is NOT a `caught up in the
moment' sort of thing.
She DID NOT take the deal.
We should judge if this was a good or bad decision NOT
based on the final outcome (which I won't tell you).
Here is why I think it was the wrong choice.
Consider the following scenarios:
If she takes the deal, the worst case is that she
gets $110,00 instead of $200,000.
If she rejects the deal, the worst case is that she
gets $1000 instead of $110,000.
The first one is not-so-bad.
The second is really really bad.
Is there a rational argument for her decision?
I could not come up with one, but maybe I'm just risk-averse.
Posted By Lance to Computational Complexity
at 12/21/2007 02:06:00 PM