Wonderful Engineering

The Newcomb’s Paradox Is A Problem You Will Never Solve

If you were given the option of selecting two boxes or just a single box from the two boxes given that one box contains $1,000 and the other box contains $0 or $1,000,000; which option will you choose? Welcome to today’s featured video from Vsauce 2 that deals with the famous Newcomb’s Paradox.

The YouTube user Vsauce 2 makes use of a box full of candy to explain the confusing yet wonderful concept of the Newcomb’s Paradox. The video’s description says, ‘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 $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.’

It goes on to say, ‘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.’

Yes, we know that the famous Newcomb’s Paradox has been explained quite well in this aptly written description. However, we can assure you that the YouTube user has done even a better job in the video. So, what are you waiting for? Stop ready and check out the video below and do let us know what you think of it!