Our illusion of the world

Nassim taleb and his new book Antifragile let me look at the world from a different perspective after reading a few pages.


"The process of discovery (or innovation, or technological progress) itself depends on antifragile tinkering, aggressive risk bearing rather than formal education.

 I have made the claim that most of our history comes from Black Swan events, while we worry about fine-tuning our understanding of the ordinary, and hence develop models, theories or representations that cannot possible track them or measure the possibility of these shocks. 

Black Swans hijack our brains, making us feel we “sort of” or “almost” predicted them, because they are retrospectively explainable. We don’t realize the the role of these Black Swans because of this illusion of predictably. Life is more, a lot more, labyrinthine than shown in our memory. Our mind are in the business of turning history into something smooth and linear, which makes us underestimate the randomness.

An annoying aspect of the Black Swan problem- in fact the central, and largely missed point- is that odds of rare events are simply not computable. We know a lot less about hundert-year floods than five year floods-model erros swells when it comes to small probabilities. The rarer the event the, the less tractable, and the less we know about how frequent it occurrence- yet the rarer the event, the more confident these "scientists" involved in predicting, modeling, and using PowerPoint in confrencens in multicolor background have become. 


It is of great help that mother nature- thanks to its antifragility- is the best expert of rare events, and the best manager of Black Swans; in its billions of years it succeeded in getting here withouth much command-and-control instruction from Ivy League-educated director nominated by a search committee. Antifragility is not just the antidote to the Black Swan; understanding it makes us less intellectually fearful in accepting the role of these events as necessary for history, technology, knowledge, everything."

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