A Puzzle

From: Kory Heath <kory.heath.domain.name.hidden>
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2004 21:51:45 -0400

One day, without warning, you suddenly find yourself in a featureless white
room. In front of you are your old friends Blue Genie and Yellow Genie.

The Blue Genie says, "I'm about to make two identical copies of you (I'll
destroy the original), and place one copy in a red room and one in a green
room. A minute later, I'm going to make two identical copies of one of
those copies, and put one in a red room, and one in a green room. Ditto for
the other copy. The next minute, I'm going to make copies of all those
copies and distribute them the same way, and so on. I'll do this indefinitely."

Then the Yellow Genie says, "The Blue Genie's lying. He's not going to make
any copies of you at all. He's going to teleport you to a red room, and
then a minute later he's going to teleport you to an identical red room,
and so on, indefinitely."

You've had many past experiences with these two characters, and you know
that they are powerful enough to make copies of you or teleport you if they
want to. You also know that they are never mistaken, but that they do
sometimes lie. You believe that they each tell the truth about 99% of the
time, and you trust them equally.

Suddenly, you find yourself in a featureless red room. After about a
minute, the air around you shimmers slightly, and you find yourself in
another red room. (Or is it the same red room?) After another minute, the
air shimmers again, and you're in another red room. After an hour of this,
you're still in a red room. Do you now have any new information which will
help you determine which Genie was telling the truth?

-- Kory
Received on Sun Apr 25 2004 - 21:57:26 PDT

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