Derren Brown

I'm a Derren Brown fanboy.

So I found myself more than slightly giddy tonight when he...

Predicted the UK lottery numbers.  All six.

This changes things.


r_b_bergstrom said...

Can you post a summary, or link me to one? I've only got the vaguest notion who Derren Brown is. I thought he was a hypnotist?

r_b_bergstrom said...

Okay, so I found and read an article about this event, and read the wikipedia page about him.

You said "this changes things". How so? What am I not getting?

Jeremy Rice said...

Well, honestly, I was just being dramatic and gushing a bit. He's clearly pulled off a pretty amazing stunt. But here's my thinking on it.

It was either an illusion, which is entirely possible, or he actually found some maths to predict what numbers would come up with remarkable certainty.

If it was an illusion, it changes things in the world of magic in more subtle ways... he's certainly raised the bar. However, I suspect this wasn't the case, based on two things: 1) his promise to reveal the secret, and 2) his personal lead-up to the stunt. ...Rather, if it /was/ simply illusion, he's done a really wonderful job of "lying" about the effort he's put into to preparing, which also changes things in the respect that he's made magic more personal and long-term by blogging and twittering and what-not as a lead up to build tension.

If it was statistical, which I actually believe at the moment (perhaps unreasonably, but I do), then he's very likely changed the nature of lotteries, period. Meaning: he may have spoiled them entirely.

Either way, since he's promised to reveal how he did it on Friday night... that certainly changes things, too... we'll just have a better idea of how, at that point. :)

This is the guy, recall, who convinced three of four relatively "normal" people to commit armed robbery; predicting lottery numbers may top that, if it was in fact "genuine", in the sense of mathematical or perhaps behavioral induction.

Perhaps what I really meant by "this changes things" was the effect of the stunt (which he is calling an "Event"): rather than being "wowed" by some joker walking through a wall or making the statue of liberty disappear, I'm *still* on the edge of my seat, even after the event. He's changed what it means to be a magician from one of "a person who performs tricks" to "a person to watch".

Honestly, I feel like Derren Brown has a better understanding of humanity than any one other person who has ever lived. He's a walking "event".


Victor said...

I would bet dollars to donuts it's an illusion. A superlatively good one, but an illusion.

If he could have really predicted the numbers, he could have proven it easily: for example, encrypt the string containing the numbers with a strong encryption, publicize the crypt-text an hour in advance, and then publicize the decryption key once the numbers are announced.

Actually proving that he predicted it would be easy; but instead he went for a setting which gives him a chance, however subtle, for manipulation.

r_b_bergstrom said...

So, it's past Friday. What turned out to be the secret?