Home > Uncategorized > Did Captain Obvious visit the Blue Eye island?

Did Captain Obvious visit the Blue Eye island?

Was he there?

You have probably heard about the blue-eyed islanders puzzle. If not, take a look at Terry Tao’s blog post here. Just like people often tell the Monty Hall problem to a class or a group of non-mathematician friends and add the story about Marilyn vos Savant receiving 10,000 letters after revealing the solution in her column, I like to show the blue-eyed islanders puzzle to people I know and wait for their answers. Knowing how subtle differences in wording of the problem can lead to different answers (if you browse the web, you might find people proving all possible outcomes – death of all blue-eyed people, death of all people, or the ‘nothing happens’ outcome) I always enjoy the way their logic works.

They always start with the same question: what’s the purpose of the visitor? They already knew that there are blue-eyed people on the island! Well, the concept of common knowledge sheds some light on that.

P.S. Does anyone know the origin of the puzzle? It would be nice to know who formulated it first.

Categories: Uncategorized

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