The Monty Hall Problem

While I was trolling around reading about the whole "omg 0.999.. = 1", I ran into the mentioning of the Monty Hall Problem.

If you have not heard of it before, let me fill you in. Imagine three doors. Behind two of the doors are…goats and behind the other door is a … car. Your goal is to guess where the car is. So you make you guess and chose a door. Then I, knowing which doors lead to what result, open one of the doors with a goat and I ask you, if you would like to change your choice now that only two doors remain. Intuitively you should not take me up on my offer because why does it matter? Since there are two doors left, the chances are 50-50 right? Wrong! It turns out the chances of winning the car if you switch your choice when prompted rises from 1/3 to 2/3 chance. For a detailed explanation check out this page.

So what does this all mean? Originally our chances of winning the car were 1/3. Yet the chances double once what is behind one of the doors is revealed. Do you get my drift? The greater the number of uninformed choices we make, the less our chances are of getting it right. No brainer I know.
Ever feel like the problem with our North American society is that we have too much choice? I certainly do. My god, why can't there be like 3 types of car brands to chose from, instead of like 10. Why do we need a zillion different brands of mp3 players, cameras, printers, computers, tvs, etc. If you're anything like me, you won't just go out and buy something because you like it. I spend time trying to decide if its worth my money. That means reading reviews (hard to find anyone?), talking to customer service whom I don't trust, and pretty much just sitting frustrated not knowing what to decide.

Don't get me wrong, choice is good, but too much choice is baaaad. I can't take it, it wreaks havoc with me. So what do I do to cope with it? I just ignore it, meaning I save the money and spend it on something that I'm sure of…like food! el oh el I know.

There is rarely anybody who will be able to "open up a door with a goat" for you, to make your choices easier. That being said, remember to either go with your gut or to change your choice if Monty Hall situation take you by surprise.

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