Can you solve the prisoner hat riddle? – Alex Gendler



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You and nine other individuals have been captured by super-intelligent alien overlords. The aliens think humans look quite tasty, but their civilization forbids eating highly logical and cooperative beings. Unfortunately, they’re not sure whether you qualify, so they decide to give you all a test. Can you solve this hat riddle? Alex Gendler shows how.

Lesson by Alex Gendler, animation by Artrake Studio.

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32 thoughts on “Can you solve the prisoner hat riddle? – Alex Gendler

  1. Everyone takes their hat off their head and throws it to the first person in line so they can all see the hats easy

  2. I'm thinking since you cant look behind or get out of line. Everyone pulls out a phone and looks at their hat. Or they all ask for glasses and look at their hat. Or the person second farthest in the back, crouches down so the last guy can get his guess correct and the chain continues

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  4. I have a much simpler solution as long as the person is allowed to pause before answering or not. The person behind says the color of the person in front of them. Of course the first person will simply say the color of the one ahead of them. Then the rule begins. No pause means you're saying your hat color plus the color of the person ahead of you. Your hat color after a 5 second pause means the person in front of you has the opposite color.

  5. Could this technique be used to save memory and clock cycles in a computer algorithm that checks if transmitted bits were received correctly? I mean, a parity system where you want to make sure no bits get corrupted because they were misunderstood by the receiver. For instance, I say the number five, and then I ask you to repeat what I said, to confirm that you Heard me correctly. If you don’t say the number five, Then I know you misunderstood me, and I should try retransmitting the five. That’s computer parity checking

  6. Just tell the colour of your immediate next person as the colour of your hat. In that case, also at least 9 of them will guess correctly. No need for having such a difficult plan.

  7. No one:

    Not even Leah Ashe:

    Not even the world:

    Ted ed: oH yea uhhh 😬 OH yea aliens have phones that have translate-r apps 😬

  8. good point next time I’m abducted by aliens I will hope every other single person will somehow know this secret code that none of us are allowed to discuss

  9. Course, this is assuming you all have a height that allows all of you to see the everyone in front of you. Though, admittedly there is nothing that states that you can’t just lean left or right, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that counts as getting out of line.

  10. The riddle setup is a complete fail. The person in the first position cannot see down the line if the people further away are getting shorter because the person directly in front is blocking the angle of sight. Only way for the first guy to see everyone down the line is if everyone progressively gets taller with the tallest guy at the other end. SMH

  11. we should probably all remember the strategy so when the aliens take over the earth next month we all know what to do

  12. I have a different solution that is also correct, adhering to every rule and restriction provided:
    They all agree that the first dude will take 5 seconds from the moment the test beggings, for every say white hat he sees. So he sees 4 hats, and takes 20 seconds to answer "white". In that very moment, everyone else knows what their hat color is.
    This does not violate any rule at all as no one is forced to answer immediately when it's their turn.

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