Ascent

04-25-2012, 05:35 PM

As I am reading the posts on the various events we had these past few weeks, I keep seeing the same complaints and same explanations given. So I will give you my two cents as I think it will help with soothing the frustration if we understand the reasons behind it.

When some of you guys say "I think something stinks" and others simply reply "it is random", you are bth RIGHT and WRONG at the same time :)

Yes, it is set to random, but... and here comes the BIG BUT:

Our mind is basically a future predicting machine. It observes the present, compares it with past experiences and automatically creates a theory, or a probability calculation as to what is the most likely future that will happen.

Now, when we use the word random, we are not only saying that you cannot know the rules governing the events, we also (by default) imply even distribution of the odds (because this is the most common experience in both nature and in our culture).

So, the first day we get one or two boxes, and our mind automatically does the math: "I have 5 more days to go, so with this trend I can make it to ten". The next day we are up to 5-6 boxes and the mind is saying: "with this trend we will get to ten by tomorrow and we still have 4 days to go... hooray!"

Now comes the tricky part...

Something I was thinking about as part of my job (I work for the state lottery as a game designer)

The problem with lottery is that the chances are small, even for the small prizes. So people buy a few tickets and not win for weeks or months and give up, because their mind will say, the chances are bad. And we lose these people forever. On the other hand, those who will win one or two tickets instantly at the beginning, will play for 20 years afterwards and still believe in the good odds, because it was their first experience.

If we, as a state lottery could ensure that every person's first few tickets are a winner, we could catch them for life as a customer.

The reason we do not do this is twofold:

1.) It is messing with the odds and thus unfair towards the other players.

2.) It is the same trick the drug dealers use: "the firts one is free" alas creating addiction. And naturally the more addicted you are the more the price goes up later.

Both are unethical.

Now, Funzio is using exactly this strategy.

Every event the very first box I opened contained the goal item (alas "the first one is free" so you get hooked on "Hey, I am lucky!"

Then, the odds are getting worse and worse, which is totally unintuitive for our minds which are accustomed to even distribution randomness in both nature, over millions if not billions of years of evolution and in society via the chance and gambling games.

Our mind sees this scenario as random:

"I opened ten boxes, and found 2 items. So if I open another 10 boxes I may expect to find about 2 other items... so to find 10 items in total I will have to open about 50 boxes in total."

But this is not how Funzio programmed the events. After each successfull find, the next find is much harder to find :D I am not sure how these odds change, but they change and this throws off your mind's natural ability to calculate the odds correctly... thus it leads to frustration.

Imagine if a casino was changing the odds against you after every win, making it less likely that you win at the next draw?! You would walk right out the door... wouldn't you?

Now, Funzio is not peddling drugs, nor is it taking your money for gambling.

It is more like the hooker in vegas stripping in front of you enciting to hand over more and more money to get her to the next base.

Illegal? No.

Unethical? I would not think so.

Dastardly? Very cunningly so :D

When some of you guys say "I think something stinks" and others simply reply "it is random", you are bth RIGHT and WRONG at the same time :)

Yes, it is set to random, but... and here comes the BIG BUT:

Our mind is basically a future predicting machine. It observes the present, compares it with past experiences and automatically creates a theory, or a probability calculation as to what is the most likely future that will happen.

Now, when we use the word random, we are not only saying that you cannot know the rules governing the events, we also (by default) imply even distribution of the odds (because this is the most common experience in both nature and in our culture).

So, the first day we get one or two boxes, and our mind automatically does the math: "I have 5 more days to go, so with this trend I can make it to ten". The next day we are up to 5-6 boxes and the mind is saying: "with this trend we will get to ten by tomorrow and we still have 4 days to go... hooray!"

Now comes the tricky part...

Something I was thinking about as part of my job (I work for the state lottery as a game designer)

The problem with lottery is that the chances are small, even for the small prizes. So people buy a few tickets and not win for weeks or months and give up, because their mind will say, the chances are bad. And we lose these people forever. On the other hand, those who will win one or two tickets instantly at the beginning, will play for 20 years afterwards and still believe in the good odds, because it was their first experience.

If we, as a state lottery could ensure that every person's first few tickets are a winner, we could catch them for life as a customer.

The reason we do not do this is twofold:

1.) It is messing with the odds and thus unfair towards the other players.

2.) It is the same trick the drug dealers use: "the firts one is free" alas creating addiction. And naturally the more addicted you are the more the price goes up later.

Both are unethical.

Now, Funzio is using exactly this strategy.

Every event the very first box I opened contained the goal item (alas "the first one is free" so you get hooked on "Hey, I am lucky!"

Then, the odds are getting worse and worse, which is totally unintuitive for our minds which are accustomed to even distribution randomness in both nature, over millions if not billions of years of evolution and in society via the chance and gambling games.

Our mind sees this scenario as random:

"I opened ten boxes, and found 2 items. So if I open another 10 boxes I may expect to find about 2 other items... so to find 10 items in total I will have to open about 50 boxes in total."

But this is not how Funzio programmed the events. After each successfull find, the next find is much harder to find :D I am not sure how these odds change, but they change and this throws off your mind's natural ability to calculate the odds correctly... thus it leads to frustration.

Imagine if a casino was changing the odds against you after every win, making it less likely that you win at the next draw?! You would walk right out the door... wouldn't you?

Now, Funzio is not peddling drugs, nor is it taking your money for gambling.

It is more like the hooker in vegas stripping in front of you enciting to hand over more and more money to get her to the next base.

Illegal? No.

Unethical? I would not think so.

Dastardly? Very cunningly so :D