iPod Shuffle: Don’t Play It Again Sam!!!!!!!

March 31, 2009

Here is another example of Gambler’s Fallacy, but for non gamblers. 

We see – in this case – hear a pattern and then attribute meaning to this pattern  – It’s a conspiracy!!!! – when there is no pattern and no meaning!!!!! So Apple found when designing their iPod shuffle feature. 

“When Apple first introduced the shuffle feature on its iPods, the shuffle was truly random; each song was equally likely to be picked than any other. However, the randomness didn’t appear random, since some songs were occasionally repeated, and customers concluded that the feature contained some secret patterns and preferences. As a result, Apple was forced to revise the algorithm. ‘We made it less random to make it feel more random,’said Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple’   p68 The Decisive Moment How the Brain Makes Up Its Mind Jonah Lehrer (Text Publishing 2009)



Try it. Pick 12 songs maybe off your playlist  – Your MP3 player, perhaps or a Top 20 Chart or Top 20 Downloads Chart – assign each song a number: 1, 2, 3….up to 12. Take two dice (Diehards Note:  It’s 1 die, 2 dice) and roll. How many throws until you get 2 songs played in a row?



  1. This is interesting! =)

    What I notice about my iPod nano when it is on shuffle mode is that it often plays two or three songs from the same artist consecutively. Talk about randomness right? But I guess it’s just part of the algorith..

  2. […] Fun Class Exercise to check RANDOM PLAY […]

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