November 8, 2006

catch out

Posted in Idioms at 5:44 pm by Feng

catch out — trap; especially in an error or in a reprehensible act [dict]

Today, Michael Lynch, the founder and CEO of Autonomy, gave us an entertaining seminar. Near the end of the talk, he asked this question: there are three doors, with a Ferrari behind one and goats the other two. He asked one of the audience to pick up a door. Then he revealed that one of the other two doors had no Ferrari behind, and asked the same guy: “Do you want to stick to the original choice or change?”

To have a higher probability of winning the car, you should change. This problem, as a friend later told me, is called “The Monty Hall problem“. The essence of the problem is teaching people to adapt when there is new information. It took me a while to convince myself this was true; the usual intuition may tell you otherwise. “This is the kind of question you use to catch out people,” someone heard this problem before and said to me with a grin.


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