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The Non-Zero Probability

  • Broadcast in Technology
The World Transformed

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Phil and Stephen discuss how vastly improbable events become reality, and what this tells us about the future.

The Odds Of Your Unlikely Existence Were Not Infinitely Small

But there's a fun, important, and underappreciated consequence of Bayes' theorem that can tell us something vital about any of these steps: the odds of any one of them happening, no matter how small, could not have been infinitesimal. If you want to create our Universe with our laws of physics, our local group, our Sun, our Earth, and every one of us, given all the conditions that existed before the Big Bang, that probability may be very, very small, but it can't be infinitely small. If it were, our model for the conditions that existed before the Big Bang could be ruled out immediately, with no need to gather data or make measurements.


How Likely Is Your Life?

Okay, so we’re trying to imagine a one followed by 2.685 million zeroes. The probability of you existing is one out of that huge number. Now that’s a long shot, folks. Binazir can be way, way, way off and we’re still talking about an unimaginably huge number. Think about it like this: if you were to sit down and write out your predictions for the winning PowerBall numbers week by week for the next fifty years, and dutifully play the assigned numbers every week, and actually win the jackpot every single time…that’s probably more likely than you ever having been born in the first place.

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WT 305-614