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Can you solve the false positive riddle? - Alex Gendler

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TEDEd Animation

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Mining unobtainium is hard work – the rare mineral appears in only 1% of rocks in the mine. But your friend Tricky Joe has something up his sleeve. The unobtainium detector he’s been perfecting for months is finally ready, and it returns accurate readings 90% of the time. But can it really be trusted? Alex Gendler explains the false positive paradox.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Want to find out how to win Monopoly using probability? Read this article to learn how to sharpen your board game skills with probability.

Why do we fall for false positives even though they’re common? This piece breaks down the mathematical paradox.

To learn more about the base rate fallacy, click here.

This scientific article describes the real-world influence of posterior probability.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Alex Gendler
  • Director Outis
  • Associate Producer Elizabeth Cox, Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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