You’re looking at footage at a somewhat infamous scam lecture an actor gave to a group of psychiatrists, about game theory. The actor was trained the day before — trained so that he wouldn’t say much that made sense. But he had such a convincing presence that toward the end, even after the fraud was exposed, some audience members asked where they could read more about the research. (Possibly that’s actually a good thing; I’m still trying to decide. It’s all rather confusing.) Reto Schneider wrote this up a while back, but thought the footage was lost. It’s great that he found it and posted it at his Weird Experiments — for the real heart of the scam, evident only on viewing, is the power of presence, eloquence, and humor to convince.
Fox was trained to give this talk only the day before. He was given an article from Scientific American on game theory and worked up a lecture from it that was intentionally full of imprecise waffle, invented words and contradictory assertions.
Fox was convinced he’d be rumbled during the lecture. But the audience hung on his every word and, when the 20-minutes-long talk was over, bombarded him with questions, which he displayed such virtuosity in not answering that nobody noticed.
On the feedback form that was handed round, all ten people who attended the lecture said that it had given them food for thought, while nine of them also reckoned that Fox had presented the material in a clear manner, put it across in an interesting way and incorporated plenty of good illustrative examples into his talk.
Best uber-trivia from the post: Michael J Fox added the J to his name because this Michael Fox was already listed in the Screen Actors Guild roster, and you can’t share names there.
Get the full story from Reto.