Wednesday 10 January 2018

Answer to the Moneyball problem

Listen here!

During Moneyball Ben asked:

What is the probability that the next person you meet will have an above average number of ears? 

Although most people have two ears, there are those with only one. Thus, the average number of ears is just below two.

However, since people with only one ear are quite rare this means you are most likely to meet a person with two ears next, meaning that the probability is nearly 1! We can't say it is exactly 1, because the next person you meet, although unlikely, may have a damaged ear.

Of course, if you live with a person with only one ear then your probability is significantly lower, because you'll likely bump into that person next.

It's all about the assumptions!

Listen to our Flatland podcast to hear more about this problem and learn why clarifying the averages we talk about have important consequences regarding the interpretation of the question.

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