Friday, September 27, 2019

Friday Figures: Holey Moley Caddysmack

ABC's summer fill-in show Holey Moley has a game called Caddysmack in which mini-golfers have a preliminary stage, and then winner chooses between a robot and Stephen Curry to make a 55-yard pitch shot into a turf-covered empty swimming pool, and then the contestants finish by shooting for the final hole in that playing area.

The weird thing is that the player with the choice almost inevitably picks Curry for the pitch shot, but his shots rather clearly bounce all around the pool area, while the robot's is predictably on-line every single time. (I suspect given some dialogue that Curry gets multiple attempts on each show, but if so they're off-camera.) The contestant playing off Curry's shot won 40% of the time in Season 1, so I'm pretty confused why every single person save one picked him.


Don't forget: Tune in to Wandering DMs this Sunday 1 PM ET for more live chat! This week, a discussion on mind-affecting magic spells and effects; okay to subvert player agency, or not?

7 comments:

  1. I think this may be due to human psychology. The robot won't get its feelings hurt if it gets passed over. The contestants don't want to slight a person, and would rather put themselves into a slightly harder situation to avoid it.

    Or maybe they just don't have full information and assume that Curry will be at least as good as the robot.

    As a completely off-topic comment, these two factors illustrate some of the big weak points in classical economics.

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    1. Yeah, and I'm also wondering if there's a producer nearby hyping up Steph to the players (to give him respect on camera). I predict that this particular game may not be on a Season 2.

      The last comment is killer! 100% agreed.

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    2. Have not seen the show but based on your observation about Steph getting multiple shots at it, I wonder if the contestants are told 1 shot for the robot vs, say, 3 shots for Steph. It seems like that would be all it takes to sway a lot of people.

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  2. Ten times is a very small sample, but Steph has won 4 times out of 10 - pending additional data, I'd provisionally say that it appears to be approximately even odds. So it seems like a crapshoot, and with such a degree of doubt I agree with subhuman that human empathy probably comes into play in encouraging people to side with the human being rather than the robot. Also, the filming schedule could be a factor - the contestants might not even be aware of what the results of previous episodes were at the time of filming.

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    1. You're right about the small sample, I bet, not knowing about the prior results. That's a good point.

      On the other hand, I think the results might be biased in Steph's favor in the sense that in every case but one he's shooting for the demonstrably stronger player (based on their winning the preliminary putt-off), and yet they usually lose after his pitch shot anyway.

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    2. On the other hand, the contestants aren't professional golfers, so there's likely to be a lot of variation between their best putts and their worst putts. So if there's a large random factor, then the skill of the player might not be strongly correlated with which one wins the preliminary putt-off.

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