The following is an extract from our textbook
Ethical issues can arise when any statements related to probability are presented to the public, particularly when these statements are part of an advertising campaign for a product or service. Unfortunately, many people are not comfortable with the numerical concepts (see reference 4) and tend to misinterpret the meaning of the probability. IN some instances, the misinterpretation is not intentional, but in other cases, advertisements may unethically try to mislead potential customers.
One example of a potentially unethical application of probability relates to advertisements for state lotteries. When purchasing a lottery ticket, the customer selects a set of numbers (such as) from a larger list of numbers (such as drawing 6 numbers from a set ranging from 1 through 49). Hence, 649, meaning choose any 6 numbers from a set of 49 numbers of any order. Although virtually all participants know that they are unlikely to win the lottery, they also have a very little idea of how unlikely it is for them to select all 6 winning numbers from the list of 49 numbers.
They have even less idea of the probability of winning a consolation prize by selecting either 4 or 5 winning numbers.
Given this background, you might consider a recent commercial for a state lottery that stated, “We won’t stop until we have made everyone a millionaire” to be deceptive and possibly unethical.
Question 1. Essay Type
Do you think the state has any intention of ever stopping the lottery, given the fact that the state relies on it to bring millions of dollars into its treasury? Is it possible that lottery can make everyone a millionaire? Is it ethical to suggest that the purpose of the lottery is to make everyone a millionaire?
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