Think of a number. Was that number random? No, of course not. The number holds some association with you whether it’s your favorite number, the number you find most obscure, or the number of hours till work finishes.

So then, if the number isn’t random, is the number you pick already determined. In other words, if all the particles were examined in as much detail as possible, could your guess have been predicted? I want to say no.

With quantum mechanics you can only predict probabilities, not deterministic outcomes. So even if you examined all the particles of a human brain and even the whole surrounding universe, you could not predict the quantum state it evolves into next.

However, the human brain operates on a much larger scale than that of the quantum world, so you could take a super detailed image of it’s quantum state and then input it into a computer to be simulated, and see what number the brain would choose with 99.999% certainty. Not with our technology, but hypothetically.

But besides using future technology, are people drawn to certain numbers? Common wisdom says that, when asked “pick a number from 1 to 10”, people tend to pick certain numbers more than others, in particular 7 and 4. This is indeed the case as shown by some studies (that I can conveniently no longer find online) where users asked to pick a number between 1-10 (to avoid questionnaire bias, the question had a couple different formats which were “randomly” distributed).

Recently, I’ve been doing this trick (based off a magician I read about) where you ask someone to “pick any number between 1 and 10.” I then ask them to run through all the numbers out loud starting at 1 and going up to 10. While they do this, I look for little things to tip me off: usually just twitches or breaks in their normal patterns as they run through the numbers ie if they blink on every number except one you know where it is.

You’d think it’s just a 10 to 1 chance, but you actually said between one and ten so if they pick either of they two you have an excuse. I also over accentuate the 10 so as to nudge them towards a high number. Top it off by telling them to keep a poker face, making them very self conscious and aware of all their little movements thus magnifying them. You

Try it, if it’s wrong then nobody will remember it but if you get it right, the person will be in awe.

Random is in the mind of the beholder. We give computers a complex equation so that they generate numbers which to humans appear random. The computer certainly doesn’t considers the numbers random. Randomness is not random to the computer or to the universe; it must be random to a human to be considered random.

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