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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fragility and Convexity

nassim_nicholas_taleb's pictureLong on my reading list, this essay by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.   Some fascinating thoughts:   " ... The point we will be making here is that logically, neither trial and error nor "chance" and serendipity can be behind the gains in technology and empirical science attributed to them. By definition chance cannot lead to long term gains (it would no longer be chance); trial and error cannot be unconditionally effective: errors cause planes to crash, buildings to collapse, and knowledge to regress. ... " 

" ... It took at least five millennia between the invention of the wheel and the innovation of putting wheels under suitcases. It is sometimes the simplest technologies that are ignored. In practice there is no premium for complexification; in academia there is. Looking for rationalizations, narratives and theories invites for complexity. In an opaque operation to figure out ex ante what knowledge is required to navigate is impossible. ... "

NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB, essayist and former mathematical trader, is Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at NYU’s Polytechnic Institute. He is the author the international bestseller The Black Swan and the recently published Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder ... 

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