Sunday, October 18, 2009

Finding the Interesting Question

Here is the trailer for The Box:

The interwebs seems to think that the movie's premise is an interesting question:
Your family is in a financial crisis. You receive a box with a button inside and you have a choice. If you push the button your family will get 1million dollars BUT someone you don't know gets killed. would you do it?
Actually, I think the interesting variants of the question would be:
What is the minimum amount of money that would convince you to push the button? What are the determinants of this amount (e.g. financial status, etc)?

Suppose you knew someone was offered the opportunity to push the button, what would you be willing to pay them to not push the button? How does this change in the presence of free-riders?

Suppose you could pay to be removed from the population eligible to be killed by the button-pushing. What would you be willing to pay? Note that each person who does pay increases the probability for others of being selected for death. Therefore, a cheaper alternative may be to pay others to stay on the list.
FYI #1: if no amount of money would convince you to push the button, then your answer is infinite.

FYI #2: I expect the movie itself to be boring.