# Twitter users brawl over simple equation

8÷2(2+2)=X

What is X? People are fighting about it online. Some insist X equals 1. Others say X equals 16.

@corynhendrix says, "Took 3 calc classes, it's 16 bro."

@lauram williams says, "I have 2 math degrees it's 1"

I asked ChatGPT-4, expecting it to give me a clearly wrong answer. But it surprised me:

The equation you wrote is 8 ÷ 2 * (2 + 2) = X, which is an example of an expression where some ambiguity can arise depending on how it is interpreted, because of the lack of explicit grouping symbols around "2*(2+2)".

If it is interpreted as 8 ÷ (2 * (2 + 2)), using the rule that multiplication and division should be performed from left to right (the so-called "operator precedence" rule), the solution would be:

8 ÷ (2 * (2 + 2)) = 8 ÷ (2 * 4) = 8 ÷ 8 = 1

However, if it is interpreted as (8 ÷ 2) * (2 + 2), again using the rule that multiplication and division should be performed from left to right, the solution would be:

(8 ÷ 2) * (2 + 2) = 4 * 4 = 16

So you can see that the answer depends on how the original expression is interpreted. The use of parentheses to clearly indicate the intended order of operations can eliminate this ambiguity. As it stands, the expression could reasonably be interpreted either way.

For better clarity and to avoid such ambiguities, it's usually best to include parentheses in expressions like this one. Without them, different people might interpret the expression in different ways, leading to different results.