Imagine that the United States is preparing for the outbreak of an unusual disease which has already claimed many victims in Asia, which is expected to kill 600 people. Two alternative programs to combat the disease have been proposed. Assume the the exact scientific estimates of the consequences of the programs are as follows:
If program A is adopted, 200 people will be saved. If program B is adopted, there is a one-third probability that 600 people will be saved and a two-thirds probability that no people will be saved.
You are the surgeon general, and the decision is yours. Do you choose program A or program B?
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Daniel Kahneman presented this thought experiment in his book "Thinking, Fast and Slow" http://smile.amazon.com/dp/0374533555
Photo: San Francisco Department of Public Health http://www.sfcdcp.org