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# What is the Ludic Fallacy?

, April 21, 2016 updated on September 08, 2017
The ludic fallacy is the misuse of games to model real life situations. It is associated with use of overly simple statistics and the mistaken belief that technology can predict the future.
Games are far more constrained than real life and often have clearly defined probabilities. For example, artificial intelligence can examine all possible outcomes of a Chess game at any point by backwards induction to determine moves that are likely to win.
Real life has unclear possibilities and probabilities. It is also common for real life situations to have far more possible moves than a complex game such as Chess or Go. Things can happen that have never happened before that are unpredictable. The following are examples of the ludic fallacy:

## The Coin Toss

A coin is tossed 99 times with heads coming up each time. Two men are asked to predict the next toss: a mathematician and a gangster. The mathematician predicts that the next toss has approximately a 50% chance of being tails by pointing out that each toss in an independent random event. The gangster points out there is a 100% chance of heads coming up because the coin is obviously loaded.

## The Unlikely Interview

A new graduate is offered a job interview for a job that she doubts she will get. She performs a risk-benefit analysis to see if her investment in studying and preparing for the interview is likely to pay a reasonable return. She considers factors such as the probability of getting the job, the salary of the job and the hours spend preparing and decides not to attend. She fails to consider the thousands of possibilities that exist in real life situations. For example, she may not get the job but the interview may be challenging enough to tune her interviewing skills resulting in greater future successes.

Algorithms that trade stocks based on historical patterns and derived attempts to predict future outcomes may neglect the true complexity of markets. For example, novel patterns can suddenly emerge and render the algorithm extremely risky or the algorithm may be vulnerable to manipulation by other algorithms.

## A/B Testing

Over-optimization based on a simplistic factor such as Click Through Rate on a link by techniques such as A/B testing may not reflect the complex realities of a business. For example, a respected news organization begins A/B testing the titles of its articles. The result is a race to the bottom whereby titles become more and more sensational and less and less accurate. Click through rates improve but the organization suffers reputation declines that damage the business in greater ways.
 Overview: Ludic Fallacy Type Fallacy Definition Misuse of games to model real life situations. Origin The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, 2007 Related Concepts

## Thinking

This is the complete list of articles we have written about thinking.
Abductive Reasoning
Abstract Thinking
Abstraction
Aesthetics
Analogy
Analysis Paralysis
Analytical Thinking
Anomie
Argument From Silence
Arrow Of Time
Assertions
Automaticity
Backward Induction
Base Rate Fallacy
Benefit Of Doubt
Big Picture
Brainstorming
Call To Action
Catch 22
Causality
Choice Architecture
Circular Reasoning
Cognition
Cognitive Abilities
Cognitive Biases
Cold Logic
Collective Intelligence
Complexity Bias
Concept
Consciousness
Constructive Criticism
Convergent Thinking
Counterfactual Thinking
Creative Tension
Creeping Normality
Critical Thinking
Culture
Curse Of Knowledge
Decision Fatigue
Decision Framing
Decision Making
Design Thinking
Divergent Thinking
Educated Guess
Emotional Intelligence
Epic Meaning
Essential Complexity
Excluded Middle
Failure Of Imagination
Fallacies
Fallacy Fallacy
False Analogy
False Balance
False Dichotomy
False Equivalence
First Principles
Formal Logic
Four Causes
Fuzzy Logic
Generalization
Golden Hammer
Good Judgement
Grey Area
Groupthink
Heuristics
Hindsight Bias
Hope
Idealism
Ideas
If-By-Whiskey
Imagination
Independent Thinking
Inference
Influencing
Informal Logic
Information
Introspection
Intuition
Inventive Step
Learning
Lifestyle
Logic
Logical Argument
Logical Thinking
Ludic Fallacy
Magical Thinking
Meaning
Mental Experiences
Mental State
Mindset
Misuse of Statistics
Natural Language
Nirvana Fallacy
Norms
Objective Reason
Objectivity
Opinion
Overthinking
Perception
Personal Values
Perspective
Positive Thinking
Practical Thinking
Pragmatism
Problem Solving
Proof By Example
Propositional Logic
Prosecutor's Fallacy
Rational Thought
Realism
Reality
Reason
Reasoning
Red Herring
Reflective Thinking
Relativism
Salience
Scarcity Mindset
Scientism
Selective Attention
Serendipity
Situational Awareness
Sour Grapes
State Of Mind
Storytelling
Subjectivity
Systems Thinking
Thinking
Thought Experiment
Unknown Unknowns
Visual Thinking
Want To Believe
Win-Win Thinking
Wishful Thinking
Worldview

## Fallacies

A list of logical fallacies.

## Fallacy Fallacy

The fallacy of being too worried about fallacy.

## Cognitive Biases

A list of common cognitive biases explained.

## Broken Window Fallacy

An overview of the broken window fallacy.

## Overwhelming Exception

A common logical fallacy.

## Prosecutor's Fallacy

An overview of the Prosecutor's Fallacy.

The definition of whataboutism with examples.

## Double Bind

The definition of a double bind with examples.

## False Equivalence

The definition of false equivalence with examples.

## Logic

A few logic terms explained.

## Law Of Excluded Middle

A classical law of logic first established by Aristotle.

## Fuzzy Logic

Logic that allows for partial truths.

## Logic vs Intelligence

The difference between logic and intelligence.

## Causality

The definition of causality with examples.

## Magical Thinking

The definition of magical thinking with examples.

## Scientism

The definition of scientism with examples.

## Mutually Exclusive

The definition of mutually exclusive with examples.

## False Balance

The definition of false balance with examples.
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