Series G, Episode 3 - Games
- Alan is asked to imagine the following situation: He, Phill and Sean are taking part in love with Liza and the three are going to fight a truel, which is a three-way duel. Sean is a really good shot with a 90% chance of hitting his target. Phill is an OK shot with a 60% change, and Alan is a poor shot with only a 10% chance. Alan is given first shot, and they only have one shot each. After Alan fires, Phill and Sean get their turns. Alan is then asked what the best course of action is. The answer is to fire his gun in the air. If Alan where to shoot at either Phill or Sean, chances are he would miss, but if he did hit, the chances are that the one left standing would shoot Alan. So, by deliberately missing, it is in the interests of Sean and Phill to kill each other because they are better shots. Also, because each person only has one shot, Alan would survive. This is an example of what is known as "Game theory", invented by John von Neumann, Oskar Morgenstern and John Forbes Nash, the later of whom won a Nobel Prize and was portrayed in the film A Beautiful Mind by Russell Crowe. Game theory is used in economics. (Forfeit: Shoot myself; Shoot Liza)
- Tangent: Stephen gives some examples of game theory. For example, if two companies both advertised then they are spending a large amount of money to cancel each other out. If neither advertised then the market would still be the same but less money would be spent. This meant that the banning of tobacco advertising was of benefit to tobacco firms because it meant that they spent less money.
- Tangent: Another example of game theory was an episode of Big Brother in which the two final contestants where given the chance of taking a share in the final prize money or keeping the money. If both said they would share, the money was split. If one decided to take the money and the other share, the one who decides to keep the money gets the lot. If both decide to take the money, no-one wins. The best strategy is to share, which the contestants both did and probably regretted because they ended with smaller winnings.
- XL Tangent: Many people believe that altruism between humans is genetic proof of game theory. It is better for someone to share than to keep something themselves.
- XL Tangent: A rocker climber once had to cut his own arm off because it was trapped between two rocks. He knew that no-one would come to save him and he had limited food so there was no other option. To cut off his arm he broke the bone (because he could not saw through it) and cut through the flesh and the gap in the broken bone.
- XL Tangent: Children who are taught to share at an early age will make new connections in the brain.
- XL Tangent: Phill once died on stage at the Royal Albert Hall. He was comic support for The Who.
- The popular game which ends with the players being thrown into a lake of fiery sulphur is Ouija. In the Book of Revelations, people who try to contact the dead and practice witchcraft go to Hell. Ouija however was not invented as a method of contacting the dead. It was a game, still owned by Parker Brothers, in which you automatically wrote to yourself. Only one third of those who still use Ouija boards use it as a way of contacting the dead and in World War One it was used to contact troops abroad. Ouija fell dramatically out of fashion in 1972 after it appeared in the film The Exorcist. Before that, in early 1972, it was more popular than Monopoly. The word "Ouija" may be a combination of the French and German words for "Yes".
- Tangent: In Britain during the 1990s, a judge dismissed a jury in a murder case who tried to contact the murder victim via an Ouija board in their hotel room. The victim told the jury that the accused was guilty. Interestingly, if the Ouija board had been used in the jury room, the judge would have had no power to dismiss the jury as a judge has no right in law to know what takes place in a jury room. The man on trial was put before a different jury and was found guilty of the crime, which means the original jury were right in their prediction.
- Tangent: There is an Elvis Presley s
- Thursday 10th December 2009
- BBC One
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew