The Simple Questions That Almost Everyone Gets Wrong

11 April 2018, 15:09

This guest asked James O'Brien questions about our world that seem simple - yet chimpanzees get the answers right more often than humans.

Ola Rosling asked James O'Brien two questions asking for factual answers:

1) In all low income countries across the world today, how many girls finish primary school?

a) 20%

b) 40%

c) 60%

2) What percent of humanity live in low-income countries?

James had a fascinating conversation with Ola Rosling
James had a fascinating conversation with Ola Rosling. Picture: LBC

James responded 20% to the first, and 50% to the second and Ola said: "This book is all about humility and curiosity. How can you be so damned wrong? You're not special.

"Actually 9% of humanity live in low-income countries. You said 50%. In the first question, 60% of girls finish primary school.

"You answered exactly like the majority of the people in all countries that we asked.

"Let me compare it with chimpanzees. It's multiple choice, so the chimp gets every third right.

"With 12 questions, the chimp gets four points. Humans on average get two.

"When 90% of people are wrong - worse than random - it means you shouldn't be ashamed, you should ask the curious question. How is this possible? How do we feed ourselves with a false world view on such a systematic basis?"