(via https://readmill.com/zzkt/reads/antifragile-things-that-gain-from-disorder )

Highlights

intellectual society rewards “difficult” derivations, compared to practice in which there is no penalty for simplicity.

15 days ago

Even political systems follow a form of rational tinkering, when people are rational hence take the better option: the Romans got their political system by tinkering, not by “reason.” Polybius in his Histories compares the Greek legislator Lycurgus, who constructed his political system while “untaught by adversity,” to the more experiential Romans, who, a few centuries later, “have not reached it by any process of reasoning [emphasis mine], but by the discipline of many struggles and troubles, and always choosing the best by the light of the experience gained in disaster.”

15 days ago

If you “have optionality,” you don’t have much need for what is commonly called intelligence, knowledge, insight, skills, and these complicated things that take place in our brain cells. For you don’t have to be right that often. All you need is the wisdom to not do unintelligent things to hurt yourself (some acts of omission) and recognize favorable outcomes when they occur. (The key is that your assessment doesn’t need to be made beforehand, only after the outcome.)

15 days ago

antifragility equals more to gain than to lose equals more upside than downside equals asymmetry (unfavorable) equals likes volatility. And if you make more when you are right than you are hurt when you are wrong, then you will benefit, in the long run, from volatility (and the reverse)

15 days ago

The rational flâneur is someone who, unlike a tourist, makes a decision at every step to revise his schedule, so he can imbibe things based on new information

15 days ago

if something is fragile, its risk of breaking makes anything you do to improve it or make it “efficient” inconsequential unless you first reduce that risk of breaking.

15 days ago

erudition, aesthetics, and risk taking

18 days ago

the cat and the washing machine

20 days ago

the illusion of local causal chains—that is, confusing catalysts for causes and assuming that one can know which catalyst will produce which effect.

20 days ago

The Origin of Financial Crises

2 months ago nik gaffney

George Cooper 2 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

The story of the nation-state is that of the concentration and magnification of human errors. Modernity starts with the state monopoly on violence, and ends with the state’s monopoly on fiscal irresponsibility.

2 months ago

Modernity starts with the state monopoly on violence, and ends with the state’s monopoly on fiscal irresponsibility.

2 months ago

Fragile-Robust-Antifragile as Damocles-Phoenix-Hydra

2 months ago

Makridakis, forecasting, and less is more: Makridakis et al. (1982, 1993), Makridakis and Hibon (2000), Makridakis and Taleb (2009).

2 months ago

Heuristics as powerful—and necessary—shortcuts:

9 months ago

Debt in ancient history: Babylonian jubilees, Hudson et al. (2002). Athens, Harrison (1998), Finley (1953). History of debt, Barty-King (1997), Muldrew (1993), Glaeser (2001). The latter has an anarchist view. He actually believes that debt precedes barter exchange.

9 months ago

Mercier and Sperber have debunked the notion that we use reasoning in order to search for the truth. They showed in a remarkable study that the purpose of arguments is not to make decisions but to convince others—since decisions we arrive at by reasoning are fraught with massive distortions. They showed it experimentally, producing evidence that individuals are better at forging arguments in a social setting (when there are others to convince) than when they are alone.

9 months ago nik gaffney

Mercier, H., and D. Sperber, 2011, “Why Do Humans Reason? Arguments for an Argumentative Theory.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34(2) 57–74. 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

Tacit-Explicit knowledge: Colins (2010), Polanyi (1958), Mitchell (2006)

9 months ago

INCERTO’S TECHNICAL COMPANION (freely available electronic volume) consisting of academic-style papers, miscellaneous notes, and (very) technical remarks.

9 months ago nik gaffney

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B_31K_MP92hUNjljYjIyMzgtZTBmNS00MGMwLWIxNmQtYjMyNDFiYjY0MTJl&hl=en_GB 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

Zerubavel, Eviatar, 2006, The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

9 months ago

Radiation hormesis is the idea that low-level radiation causes hormetic overreaction with protective effects.

9 months ago nik gaffney

Neumaier, T., J. Swenson, et al., 2012, “Evidence for Formation of DNA Repair Centers and Dose-Response Nonlinearity in Human Cells.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109(2): 443–448. 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

Fasting and hormesis: Martin, Mattson et al. (2006). Cancer treatment and fasting, Longo et al. (2008), Safdie et al. (2009), Raffaghelo et al. (2010)); on yeast and longevity under restriction, Fabrizio et al. (2001); SIRT1, Longo et al. (2006), Michan et al. (2010); review work in Blagosklonny et al. (2010).

9 months ago

Abrahamson, Eric, and David H. Freedman, 2007, A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder: How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place. Little, Brown.

9 months ago

nobody considers a plane crash as “anecdotal.”

9 months ago

Sometimes researchers call a result “anecdotal” as a knee-jerk reaction when the result is exactly the reverse. Steven Pinker called John Gray’s pointing out the two world wars as counterevidence to his story of great moderation “anecdotal.”

9 months ago

The obsession with measurement started with the right places, and progressively invaded the wrong ones.

9 months ago

Randomizing politicians: Pluchino et al. (2011).

9 months ago nik gaffney

Pluchino, A., C. Garofalo, et al., 2011, “Accidental Politicians: How Randomly Selected Legislators Can Improve Parliament Efficiency.” Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and Its Applications 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

Benjamin Barber, Long Now Foundation Lecture (2012), Khanna (2010), Glaeser (2011). Mayors are better than presidents at dealing with trash collection—and less likely to drag us into war.

9 months ago

Michael Shermer, “The Unlikeliest Cult in History,” Skeptic vol. 2, no. 2, 1993, pp. 74–81.

9 months ago nik gaffney

o 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

Yaneer Bar-Yam, generously in his comments: “If we take a step back and more generally consider the issue of partitioned versus connected systems, partitioned systems are more stable, and connected systems are both more vulnerable and have more opportunities for collective action. Vulnerability (fragility) is connectivity without responsiveness. Responsiveness enables connectivity to lead to opportunity. If collective action can be employed to address threats, or to take advantage of opportunities, then the vulnerability can be mitigated and outweighed by the benefits. This is the basic relationship between the idea of sensitivity as we described it and your concept of antifragility.”

9 months ago

fat tails are both severe and intractable—hence all methods with “squares” don’t work with socioeconomic variables: regression, standard deviation, correlation, etc. (technically 80% of the Kurtosis in 10,000 pieces of data can come from one single observation, meaning all measures of fat tails are just sampling errors).

9 months ago

The more parameter uncertainty there is in a model designed to compute probabilities, the more small probabilities tend to be underestimated.

9 months ago nik gaffney

. 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

having the right model (which is a very generous assumption), but being uncertain about the parameters will invariably lead to an increase in fragility in the presence of convexity and nonlinearities.

9 months ago

Portfolio fallacies:

9 months ago

The reader should not interpret what I am saying to mean that specialization is not a good thing—only that one should establish such specialization after addressing fragility and second-order effects.

9 months ago

the critical and dangerous mistake of confusing function of average and average of function. (Traditional Ricardian analysis assumes the variables are endogenous, but does not add a layer of stochasticity.)

9 months ago

Something estimated needs to have an estimation error. So probability cannot be zero if it is estimated, its lower bound is linked to the estimation error; the higher the estimation error, the higher the probability, up to a point.

9 months ago nik gaffney

Markowitz incoherence 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

We can detect what likes volatility thanks to convexity or acceleration and higher orders, since convexity is the response by a thing that likes disorder. We can build Black Swan–protected systems thanks to detection of concavity. We can take medical decisions by understanding the convexity of harm and the logic of Mother Nature’s tinkering, on which side we face opacity, which error we should risk. Ethics is largely about stolen convexities and optionality.

9 months ago

Shaiy’s extraction was: Everything gains or loses from volatility. Fragility is what loses from volatility and uncertainty.

9 months ago

Mistakes made collectively, not individually, are the hallmark of organized knowledge—and the best argument against it. The argument “because everyone is doing it” or “that’s how others do it” abounds. It is not trivial: people who on their own would not do something because they find it silly now engage in the same thing but in groups. And this is where academia in its institutional structure tends to violate science.

9 months ago

There is a certain property of data: in large data sets, large deviations are vastly more attributable to noise (or variance) than to information (or signal).

9 months ago

There exists an inverse Alan Blinder problem, called “evidence against one’s interest.” One should give more weight to witnesses and opinions when they present the opposite of a conflict of interest.

9 months ago

Second, the difference between the letter and the spirit of regulation is harder to detect in a complex system.

9 months ago

First, the more complicated the regulation, the more prone to arbitrages by insiders.

9 months ago

“Isn’t this unethical?” I was then told in response “It is perfectly legal,”

9 months ago

for Fat Tony, it was a very, very specific definition of a free person: someone who cannot be squeezed into doing something he would otherwise never do.

9 months ago

The definition of the free man, according to Aristotle, is one who is free with his opinions—as a side effect of being free with his time.

9 months ago

Ethics (and Beliefs) → Profession or Profession → Ethics (and Beliefs)

9 months ago

My suggestion to deter “too big to fail” and prevent employers from taking advantage of the public is as follows. A company that is classified as potentially bailable out should it fail should not be able to pay anyone more than a corresponding civil servant. Otherwise people should be free to pay each other what they want since it does not affect the taxpayer.

9 months ago

Only a sense of honor can lead to commerce. Any commerce.

9 months ago

I said about marketing by soft drink companies that it is meant to maximally confuse the drinker. Anything one needs to market heavily is necessarily either an inferior product or an evil one.

9 months ago

small companies and artisans tend to sell us healthy products, ones that seem naturally and spontaneously needed; larger ones—including pharmaceutical giants—are likely to be in the business of producing wholesale iatrogenics, taking our money, and then, to add insult to injury, hijacking the state thanks to their army of lobbyists. Further, anything that requires marketing appears to carry such side effects.

9 months ago

(wine seems to be the best argument in favor of the artisanal economy)

9 months ago

The problem of the commercial world is that it only works by addition (via positiva), not subtraction (via negativa)

9 months ago

The directors of such companies, however, being the managers rather of other people’s money than of their own, it cannot well be expected, that they should watch over it with the same anxious vigilance with which the partners in a private copartnery frequently watch over their own.

9 months ago nik gaffney

The Wealth of Nations, Smith 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

The tradition in Catalonia was to behead bankers in front of their own banks (bankers tended to skip town before failure was apparent, but that was the fate of at least one banker, Francesco Castello, in 1360)

9 months ago

Some people suggest enforcing a “clawback provision” as a remedy, which consists of making people repay past bonuses in cases of subsequent failure. It would be done as follows: managers cannot cash their bonuses immediately, they can only do so three or five years later if there are no losses. But this does not solve the problem: the managers still have a net upside, and no net downside. At no point is their own net worth endangered. So the system still contains a high degree of optionality and transfer of fragility.

9 months ago

Society pays for the losses of the bankers, but gets no bonuses from them. If you don’t see this transfer of antifragility as theft, you certainly have a problem.

9 months ago

The stock market: the greatest, industrial-sized, transfer of antifragility in history

9 months ago

I believe that forcing researchers to eat their own cooking whenever possible solves a serious problem in science. Take this simple heuristic—does the scientific researcher whose ideas are applicable to the real world apply his ideas to his daily life? If so, take him seriously.

9 months ago

André Malraux

9 months ago

Our mission is to make talk less cheap.

9 months ago

Decision making in the real world, that is, deeds, are Thalesian, while forecasting in words is Aristotelian.

9 months ago

The psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer has a simple heuristic. Never ask the doctor what you should do. Ask him what he would do if he were in your place. You would be surprised at the difference.

9 months ago

Never ask anyone for their opinion, forecast, or recommendation. Just ask them what they have—or don’t have—in their portfolio.

9 months ago

The Stiglitz Syndrome

9 months ago

The past is fluid, marred with selection biases and constantly revised memories

9 months ago

Because of the retrospective distortion, people who of course did not see an event coming will remember some thought to the effect that they did, and will manage to convince themselves that they predicted it, before proceeding to convince others. There will be after every event many more postdictors than true predictors, people who had an idea in the shower without taking it to its logical conclusion

9 months ago

Fat Tony has two heuristics. First, never get on a plane if the pilot is not on board. Second, make sure there is also a copilot.

9 months ago

Further, anyone producing a forecast or making an economic analysis needs to have something to lose from it, given that others rely on those forecasts (to repeat, forecasts induce risk taking; they are more toxic to us than any other form of human pollution).

9 months ago

Ralph Nader has a simple rule: people voting for war need to have at least one descendant (child or grandchild) exposed to combat.

9 months ago

If a builder builds a house and the house collapses and causes the death of the owner of the house—the builder shall be put to death. If it causes the death of the son of the owner of the house, a son of that builder shall be put to death. If it causes the death of a slave of the owner of the house—he shall give to the owner of the house a slave of equal value

9 months ago nik gaffney

Hammurabi’s code—now about 3,800 years old 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

A lesson I learned from this ancient culture is the notion of megalopsychon (a term expressed in Aristotle’s ethics), a sense of grandeur that was superseded by the Christian value of “humility.” There is no word for it in Romance languages; in Arabic it is called Shhm—best translated as nonsmall. If you take risks and face your fate with dignity, there is nothing you can do that makes you small; if you don’t take risks, there is nothing you can do that makes you grand, nothing.

9 months ago

A half-man (or, rather, half-person) is not someone who does not have an opinion, just someone who does not take risks for it.

9 months ago

The worst problem of modernity lies in the malignant transfer of fragility and antifragility from one party to the other, with one getting the benefits, the other one (unwittingly) getting the harm, with such transfer facilitated by the growing wedge between the ethical and the legal. This state of affairs has existed before, but is acute today—modernity hides it especially well.

9 months ago

Note that if I had to find the anti-me, the person with diametrically opposite ideas and lifestyle on the planet, it would be that Ray Kurzweil fellow. It is not just neomania. While I propose removing offensive elements from people’s diets (and lives), he works by adding, popping close to two hundred pills daily. Beyond that, these attempts at immortality leave me with deep moral revulsion.

9 months ago

So once again, religions with ritual fasts have more answers than assumed by those who look at them too literally. In fact what these ritual fasts do is try to bring nonlinearities in consumption to match biological properties.

9 months ago

Jensen’s inequality: irregularity has its benefits in some areas; regularity has its detriments.

9 months ago

And it seems to me that human nature does, deep down, know when to resort to the solace of religion, and when to switch to science.

9 months ago

So this idea of shedding possessions to go to the desert can be quite potent as a via negativa–style subtractive strategy

9 months ago

Note that medical iatrogenics is the result of wealth and sophistication rather than poverty and artlessness, and of course the product of partial knowledge rather than ignorance.

9 months ago

As to liquid, my rule is drink no liquid that is not at least a thousand years old—so its fitness has been tested. I drink just wine, water, and coffee.

9 months ago

the “pursuit of happiness” is not equivalent to the “avoidance of unhappiness.”

9 months ago

Ennius wrote, “The good is mostly in the absence of bad”; Nimium boni est, cui nihil est mali.

9 months ago

telling people not to smoke seems to be the greatest medical contribution of the last sixty years. Druin Burch, in Taking the Medicine, writes: “The harmful effects of smoking are roughly equivalent to the combined good ones of every medical intervention developed since the war.… Getting rid of smoking provides more benefit than being able to cure people of every possible type of cancer.”

9 months ago

Spyros Makridakis, a statistician and decision scientist who we introduced a few chapters ago as the first to find flaws in statistical forecasting methods.

9 months ago

While female mortality from breast cancer decreases for the cohort subjected to mammograms, the death from other causes increases markedly. We can spot here simple measurable iatrogenics.

9 months ago

Nor am I against the use of mathematics when it comes to gauging the importance of the unknown—this is the robust application of mathematics.

9 months ago

Let me repeat: I am not against rationalized learned discourse, provided it is not fragile to error; I am first and last a decision maker hybrid and will never separate the philosopher-probabilist from the decision maker, so I am that joint person all the time, in the morning when I drink the ancient liquid called coffee, at noon when I eat with my friends, and at night when I go to bed clutching a book.

9 months ago

In all cases they underestimate randomness and underestimate the uncertainty in the results. And we are talking about errors of interpretation made by the statisticians, not by the users of statistics such as social scientists and doctors.

9 months ago

Why is this serious? If you think that the statistician really understands “statistical significance” in the complicated texture of real life (the “large world,” as opposed to the “small world” of textbooks), some surprises.

9 months ago

Aenesidemus of Knossos, Antiochus of Laodicea, Menodotus of Nicomedia, Herodotus of Tarsus, and of course Sextus Empiricus.

9 months ago nik gaffney

empiricists 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

Traditionally, medicine used to be split into three traditions: rationalists (based on preset theories, the need of global understanding of what things were made for), skeptical empiricists (who refused theories and were skeptical of ideas making claims about the unseen), and methodists (who taught each other some simple medical heuristics stripped of theories and found an even more practical way to be empiricists). While differences can be overplayed by the categorization, one can look at the three traditions not as entirely dogmatic approaches, but rather ones varying in their starting point, the weight of the prior beliefs: some start with theories, others with evidence.

9 months ago

Let me phrase the last point a bit differently. If there is something in nature you don’t understand, odds are it makes sense in a deeper way that is beyond your understanding. So there is a logic to natural things that is much superior to our own. Just as there is a dichotomy in law: innocent until proven guilty as opposed to guilty until proven innocent, let me express my rule as follows: what Mother Nature does is rigorous until proven otherwise; what humans and science do is flawed until proven otherwise.

9 months ago

Our record of understanding risks in complex systems (biology, economics, climate) has been pitiful, marred with retrospective distortions (we only understand the risks after the damage takes place, yet we keep making the mistake), and there is nothing to convince me that we have gotten better at risk management. In this particular case, because of the scalability of the errors, you are exposed to the wildest possible form of randomness

9 months ago

The two professions of medical doctor and surgeon were kept professionally and socially separate, one was an ars, the other scientia, hence one was a craft built around experience-driven heuristics and the other reposed on theories, nay, a general theory of humans.

9 months ago

Metric-lowering drugs are particularly vicious because of a legal complexity.

9 months ago

Second principle of iatrogenics: it is not linear. We should not take risks with near-healthy people; but we should take a lot, a lot more risks with those deemed in danger.

9 months ago

The first principle of iatrogenics is as follows: we do not need evidence of harm to claim that a drug or an unnatural via positiva procedure is dangerous.

9 months ago

ultra-orthodox, ultra-rigorous, and ultra-scientific

9 months ago

The researchers Paul Meehl and Robin Dawes pioneered a tradition to catalog the tension between “clinical” and actuarial (that is, statistical) knowledge, and examine how many things believed to be true by professionals and clinicians aren’t so and don’t match empirical evidence.

9 months ago

The “do you have evidence” fallacy, mistaking evidence of no harm for no evidence of harm, is similar to the one of misinterpreting NED (no evidence of disease) for evidence of no disease. This is the same error as mistaking absence of evidence for evidence of absence

9 months ago

only resort to medical techniques when the health payoff is very large (say, saving a life) and visibly exceeds its potential harm, such as incontrovertibly needed surgery or lifesaving medicine (penicillin). It is the same as with government intervention. This is squarely Thalesian, not Aristotelian (that is, decision making based on payoffs, not knowledge).

9 months ago

The history of medicine is the story—largely documented—of the dialectic between doing and thinking—and how to make decisions under opacity.

9 months ago

There are secrets to our world that only practice can reveal, and no opinion or analysis will ever capture in full.

9 months ago

what to read. “As little as feasible from the last twenty years, except history books that are not about the last fifty years,”

9 months ago

In 2010, The Economist magazine asked me to partake in an exercise imagining the world in 2036.

9 months ago nik gaffney

http://www.economist.com/node/17509373 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

it took close to one hundred and forty years to validate the contribution of one Jules Regnault, who discovered optionality and mapped it mathematically

9 months ago

The problem in deciding whether a scientific result or a new “innovation” is a breakthrough, that is, the opposite of noise, is that one needs to see all aspects of the idea—and there is always some opacity that time, and only time, can dissipate.

9 months ago

Even after they are built, buildings keep incurring mutations as if they needed to slowly evolve and be taken over by the dynamical environment: they change colors, shapes, windows—and character. In his book How Buildings Learn, Stewart Brand shows in pictures how buildings change through time, as if they needed to metamorphose into unrecognizable shapes—strangely buildings, when erected, do not account for the optionality of future alterations.

9 months ago

So we confuse the necessary and the causal: because all surviving technologies have some obvious benefits, we are led to believe that all technologies offering obvious benefits will survive.

9 months ago

Information has a nasty property: it hides failures. Many people have been drawn to, say, financial markets after hearing success stories of someone getting rich in the stock market and building a large mansion across the street—but since failures are buried and we don’t hear about them, investors are led to overestimate their chances of success.

9 months ago

a technology, being informational rather than physical, does not age organically, like humans, at least not necessarily so. The wheel is not “old” in the sense of experiencing degeneracy.

9 months ago

The physicist Richard Gott applied what seems to be completely different reasoning to state that whatever we observe in a randomly selected way is likely to be neither in the beginning nor in the end of its life, most likely in its middle.

9 months ago

For the perishable, every additional day in its life translates into a shorter additional life expectancy. For the nonperishable, every additional day may imply a longer life expectancy. So the longer a technology lives, the longer it can be expected to live.

9 months ago

So it may be a natural property of technology to only want to be displaced by itself.

9 months ago

Technology is at its best when it is invisible. I am convinced that technology is of greatest benefit when it displaces the deleterious, unnatural, alienating, and, most of all, inherently fragile preceding technology.

9 months ago

This absence of literary culture is actually a marker of future blindness because it is usually accompanied by a denigration of history, a byproduct of unconditional neomania. Outside of the niche and isolated genre of science fiction, literature is about the past.

9 months ago

When asked to imagine the future, we have the tendency to take the present as a baseline, then produce a speculative destiny by adding new technologies and products to it and what sort of makes sense, given an interpolation of past developments. We also represent society according to our utopia of the moment, largely driven by our wishes

9 months ago

Tonight I will be meeting friends in a restaurant (tavernas have existed for at least twenty-five centuries)

9 months ago nik gaffney

I 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

There may be a selection bias: those people who engage in producing these accounts of the future will tend to have (incurable and untreatable) neomania, the love of the modern for its own sake.

9 months ago

from Ovid (tempus edax rerum—time devours everything) to the no less poetic twentieth-century Franco-Russian poetess Elsa Triolet (“time burns but leaves no ashes”)

9 months ago

Bergson’s razor: “A philosopher should be known for one single idea, not more”

9 months ago

que de choses il faut ignorer pour agir—how many things one should disregard in order to act.

9 months ago nik gaffney

Paul Valéry 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

The people involved were blind to the paradox that we have never had more data than we have now, yet have less predictability than ever.

9 months ago

The less-is-more idea in decision making can be traced to Spyros Makridakis, Robyn Dawes, Dan Goldstein, and Gerd Gigerenzer, who have all found in various contexts that simpler methods for forecasting and inference can work much, much better than complicated ones.

9 months ago

Steve Jobs: “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

9 months ago

In political systems, a good mechanism is one that helps remove the bad guy; it’s not about what to do or who to put in. For the bad guy can cause more harm than the collective actions of good ones. Jon Elster goes further; he recently wrote a book with the telling title Preventing Mischief in which he bases negative action on Bentham’s idea that “the art of the legislator is limited to the prevention of everything that might prevent the development of their [members of the assembly] liberty and their intelligence.”

9 months ago

The Poverty of Historicism, in which he presents the limits of forecasting, shows the impossibility of an acceptable representation of the future.

9 months ago nik gaffney

Karl Popper 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

The greatest—and most robust—contribution to knowledge consists in removing what we think is wrong—subtractive epistemology.

9 months ago

heuristic: charlatans are recognizable in that they will give you positive advice, and only positive advice,

9 months ago

But if we cannot express what something is exactly, we can say something about what it is not—the indirect rather than the direct expression. The “apophatic” focuses on what cannot be said directly in words, from the Greek apophasis (saying no, or mentioning without mentioning).

9 months ago

This hidden “convexity bias” comes from a mathematical property called Jensen’s inequality. This is what the common discourse on innovation is missing. If you ignore the convexity bias, you are missing a chunk of what makes the nonlinear world go round.

9 months ago

Someone with a linear payoff needs to be right more than 50 percent of the time. Someone with a convex payoff, much less. The hidden benefit of antifragility is that you can guess worse than random and still end up outperforming. Here lies the power of optionality—your function of something is very convex, so you can be wrong and still do fine—the more uncertainty, the better.

9 months ago

If the function is convex (antifragile), then the average of the function of something is going to be higher than the function of the average of something. And the reverse when the function is concave (fragile).

9 months ago

Do not cross a river if it is on average four feet deep.

9 months ago

Finally, this method can show us where the math in economic models is bogus—which models are fragile and which ones are not. Simply do a small change in the assumptions, and look at how large the effect, and if there is acceleration of such effect. Acceleration implies—as with Fannie Mae—that someone relying on the model blows up from Black Swan effects.

9 months ago

Remarkably—as has been shown—if you can say something straightforward in a complicated manner with complex theorems, even if there is no large gain in rigor from these complicated equations, people take the idea very seriously.

9 months ago

I invited my friend Raphael Douady to collaborate in expressing this simple idea using the most opaque mathematical derivations, with incomprehensible theorems that would take half a day (for a professional) to understand.

9 months ago

Now with the IMF we had a simple measure with a stamp. It looks simple, too simple, so the initial reaction from “experts” was that it was “trivial” (said by people who visibly never detected these risks before—academics and quantitative analysts scorn what they can understand too easily and get ticked off by what they did not think of themselves)

9 months ago

The technique, a simple heuristic called the fragility (and antifragility) detection heuristic, works as follows.

9 months ago

technique—detecting acceleration of harm—applies to anything that entails decision making under uncertainty, and risk management.

9 months ago

Even at an individual level, wealth means more headaches; we may need to work harder at mitigating the complications arising from wealth than we do at acquiring it.

9 months ago

Because of sticky contemporary habits, cultural contagion, and the rigidity of factories, we are led to the excessive use of specific products. This concentration is harmful. Extreme consumption of, say, tuna, can hurt other animals, mess with the ecosystem, and lead species to extinction. And not only does the harm scale nonlinearly, but the shortages lead to disproportional rises in prices.

9 months ago

From this we can generate a simple ecological policy. We know that fossil fuels are harmful in a nonlinear way. The harm is necessarily concave (if a little bit of it is devoid of harm, a lot can cause climatic disturbances). While on epistemological grounds, because of opacity, we do not need to believe in anthropogenic climate change (caused by humans) in order to be ecologically conservative, we can put these convexity effects to use in producing a risk management rule for pollution. Simply, just as with size, split your sources of pollution among many natural sources. The harm from polluting with ten different sources is smaller than the equivalent pollution from a single source.

9 months ago

Global disaster costs are today more than three times what they were in the 1980s, adjusting for inflation. The effect, noted a while ago by the visionary researcher on extreme events Daniel Zajdenweber, seems to be accelerating. The economy can get more and more “efficient,” but fragility is causing the costs of errors to be higher.

9 months ago

The obvious is usually missed here: the Crystal Palace project did not use computers, and the parts were built not far from the source, with a small number of businesses involved in the supply chain. Further, there were no business schools at the time to teach something called “project management” and increase overconfidence. There were no consulting firms. The agency problem (which we defined as the divergence between the interest of the agent and that of his client) was not significant. In other words, it was a much more linear economy—less complex—than today. And we have more nonlinearities—asymmetries, convexities—in today’s world.

9 months ago

But the puzzle was that such underestimation did not seem to exist in the past century or so, though we were dealing with the very same humans, endowed with the same biases. Many large-scale projects a century and a half ago were completed on time; many of the tall buildings and monuments we see today are not just more elegant than modernistic structures but were completed within, and often ahead of, schedule.

9 months ago

Just as when you add uncertainty to a flight, the planes tend to land later, not earlier (and these laws of physics are so universal that they even work in Russia), when you add uncertainty to projects, they tend to cost more and take longer to complete. This applies to many, in fact almost all, projects.

9 months ago

Someone unfamiliar with the business who naively optimizes the size of the place (Heathrow airport, for example) might miss the idea that smooth functioning at regular times is different from the rough functioning at times of stress.

9 months ago

This is the type of argument the British advisors Rohan Silva and Steve Hilton have used in favor of small merchants, along the poetic “small is beautiful.” It is completely wrong to use the calculus of benefits without including the probability of failure.

9 months ago

In project management, Bent Flyvbjerg has shown firm evidence that an increase in the size of projects maps to poor outcomes and higher and higher costs of delays as a proportion of the total budget. But there is a nuance: it is the size per segment of the project that matters, not the entire project—some projects can be divided into pieces, not others.

9 months ago

Monsieur Micro-Kerviel

9 months ago

1978, when Richard Roll voiced the “hubris hypothesis,” finding it irrational for companies to engage in mergers given their poor historical record.

9 months ago

In spite of what is studied in business schools concerning “economies of scale,” size hurts you at times of stress;

9 months ago

Another intuitive way to look at convexity effects: consider the scaling property. If you double the exposure to something, do you more than double the harm it will cause? If so, then this is a situation of fragility. Otherwise, you are robust.

9 months ago

An apt illustration of how convexity effects affect an overoptimized system, along with misforecasting large deviations, is this simple story of an underestimation made by New York City officials of the effect of a line closure on traffic congestion.

9 months ago

This is a hint to a central problem of the world today, that of the misunderstanding of nonlinear response by those involved in creating “efficiencies” and “optimization” of systems. For instance, European airports and railroads are stretched, seeming overly efficient. They operate at close to maximal capacity, with minimal redundancies and idle capacity, hence acceptable costs; but a small increase in congestion, say 5 percent more planes in the sky owing to a tiny backlog, can give rise to chaos

9 months ago

For the antifragile, shocks bring more benefits (equivalently, less harm) as their intensity increases (up to a point).

9 months ago

For the fragile, the cumulative effect of small shocks is smaller than the single effect of an equivalent single large shock.

9 months ago

when a collection of people write “There is nothing new here” and each one cites a different originator of the idea, one can safely say there is something effectively new.

9 months ago

If you sat with a pencil and jotted down all the decisions you’ve taken in the past week, or, if you could, over your lifetime, you would realize that almost all of them have had asymmetric payoff, with one side carrying a larger consequence than the other. You decide principally based on fragility, not probability.

9 months ago

The anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss showed that nonliterate peoples had their own “science of the concrete,” a holistic way of thinking about their environment in terms of objects and their “secondary,” sensuous qualities which was not necessarily less coherent than many of our scientific approaches and, in many respects, can be as rich as and even richer than ours.

9 months ago

In his attack on Averroes, he expressed the famous idea that logic excludes—by definition—nuances, and since truth resides exclusively in the nuances, it is “a useless instrument for finding Truth in the moral and political sciences.”

9 months ago nik gaffney

Ernest Renan 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

growth in knowledge—or in anything—cannot proceed without the Dionysian. It reveals matters that we can select at some point, given that we have optionality. In other words, it can be the source of stochastic tinkering, and the Apollonian can be part of the rationality in the selection process.

9 months ago

While many attribute (mistakenly) the notion of “creative destruction” to the economist Joseph Schumpeter (not wondering how something insightful and deep can come out of an economist),2 while, as we saw, the more erudite source it to Karl Marx, it is indeed Nietzsche who was first to coin the term with reference to Dionysus, whom he called “creatively destructive” and “destructively creative.”

9 months ago

“What is not intelligible to me is not necessarily unintelligent”

9 months ago nik gaffney

Nietzsche 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

What Socrates is seeking relentlessly are definitions of the essential nature of the thing concerned rather than descriptions of the properties by means of which we can recognize them.

9 months ago

You are destroying people’s illusions about themselves. You are taking the joy of ignorance out of the things we don’t understand. And you have no answer; you have no answer to offer them.

9 months ago nik gaffney

Fat Tony to Socrates 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

an answer is planted in every question; never respond with a straight answer to a question that makes no sense to you.

9 months ago

the most severe mistake made in life is to mistake the unintelligible for the unintelligent

9 months ago

applied mathematics: find a problem first, and figure out the math that works for it (just as one acquires language), rather than study in a vacuum through theorems and artificial examples, then change reality to make it look like these examples.

9 months ago

The trick is to be bored with a specific book, rather than with the act of reading.

9 months ago

Most of the tension in life will take place when the one who reduces and fragilizes (say the policy maker) invokes rationality.

9 months ago

Provided we have the right type of rigor, we need randomness, mess, adventures, uncertainty, self-discovery, near-traumatic episodes, all these things that make life worth living

9 months ago

Birgit Ulmer demonstrating that children’s ability to count degrades right after they are taught arithmetic.

9 months ago

Note the initial peaking of iatrogenics after the academization—and institutionalization—of medicine with the onset of modernity. It has only recently started to reverse.

9 months ago

The Romans were an anti-theoretical pragmatic bunch; the Arabs loved everything philosophical and “scientific” and put Aristotle, about whom nobody seemed to have cared much until then, on a pedestal. For instance we know very, very little of the skeptical empirical school of Menodotus of Nicomedia—we know a lot more about Galen, the rationalist. Medicine, for the Arabs, was a scholarly pursuit and founded on the logic of Aristotle and the methods of Galen; they abhorred experience.

9 months ago

It is not very well noticed that Arabic thought favors abstract thinking and science in the most theoretical sense of the word — violently rationalistic, away from empiricism

9 months ago

To Fail Seven Times, Plus or Minus Two

9 months ago

In the fragile case of negative asymmetries (turkey problems), the sample track record will tend to underestimate the long-term average; it will hide the defects and display the qualities.

9 months ago

In the antifragile case (of positive asymmetries, positive Black Swan businesses), such as trial and error, the sample track record will tend to underestimate the long-term average; it will hide the qualities, not the defects.

9 months ago

evidence of absence is not absence of evidence, a simple point that has the following implications: for the antifragile, good news tends to be absent from past data, and for the fragile it is the bad news that doesn’t show easily.

9 months ago

Oneida Silversmiths was a community religious cult but for regulatory reasons they needed to use as cover a joint stock company

9 months ago nik gaffney

“The company originated in a utopian community, the Oneida Community, established in the mid-nineteenth century. Oneida Limited's founder, John Humphrey Noyes, was the founder of the religious movement known as Perfectionism. Oneida was one of the earliest joint-stock companies in the United States in the late 1880s. Its religious philosophy helped inform the early development of the company, in which members of the Oneida Community received shares in the company. Its progressive nature also allowed for a woman, Harriet Joselyn, to sit on the board of directors — a departure from the norm for the time”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oneida_Limited#Origins 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

Abrahamson and Friedman, in their beautiful book A Perfect Mess, also debunk many of these neat, crisp, teleological approaches. It turns out, strategic planning is just superstitious babble.

9 months ago

Corporations are in love with the idea of the strategic plan. They need to pay to figure out where they are going. Yet there is no evidence that strategic planning works—we even seem to have evidence against it. A management scholar, William Starbuck, has published a few papers debunking the effectiveness of planning—it makes the corporation option-blind, as it gets locked into a non-opportunistic course of action.

9 months ago

It has been difficult for people to understand that, historically, skepticism has been mostly skepticism of expert knowledge rather than skepticism about abstract entities like God, and that all the great skeptics have been largely either religious or, at least, pro-religion (that is, in favor of others being religious).

9 months ago

Crucially, this is an argument for unpredictability and Black Swan effects: since you cannot forecast collaborations and cannot direct them, you cannot see where the world is going. All you can do is create an environment that facilitates these collaborations, and lay the foundation for prosperity.

9 months ago

Claude Bohuon and Claude Monneret, Fabuleux hasards, histoire de la découverte des médicaments, and Jie Jack Li’s Laughing Gas, Viagra and Lipitor.

9 months ago

An American ship carrying mustard gas off Bari in Italy was bombed by the Germans 1942. It helped develop chemotherapy owing to the effect of the gas on the condition of the soldiers who had liquid cancers (eradication of white blood cells). But mustard gas was banned by the Geneva Conventions, so the story was kept secret—Churchill purged all mention from U.K. records, and in the United States, the information was stifled, though not the research on the effect of nitrogen mustard.

9 months ago

Morton Meyers, a practicing doctor and researcher, writes in his wonderful Happy Accidents: Serendipity in Modern Medical Breakthroughs: “Over a twenty-year period of screening more than 144,000 plant extracts, representing about 15,000 species, not a single plant-based anticancer drug reached approved status. This failure stands in stark contrast to the discovery in the late 1950s of a major group of plant-derived cancer drugs, the Vinca Alcaloids—a discovery that came about by chance, not through directed research.”

9 months ago

Unlike technology, medicine has a long history of domestication of luck; it now has accepted randomness in its practice. But not quite.

9 months ago

Note that I do not believe that the argument set forth above should logically lead us to say that no money should be spent by government. This reasoning is more against teleology than research in general. There has to be a form of spending that works.

9 months ago

The Economic Laws of Scientific Research questions the conventional “linear model” (that is, the belief that academic science leads to technology)—for him, universities prospered as a consequence of national wealth, not the other way around.

9 months ago nik gaffney

Kealey, 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

An extraordinary proportion of work came out of the rector, the English parish priest with no worries, erudition, a large or at least comfortable house, domestic help, a reliable supply of tea and scones with clotted cream, and an abundance of free time. And, of course, optionality. The enlightened amateur, that is.

9 months ago

Knowledge formation, even when theoretical, takes time, some boredom, and the freedom that comes from having another occupation, therefore allowing one to escape the journalistic-style pressure of modern publish-and-perish academia to produce cosmetic knowledge

9 months ago

Joseph Needham, who debunked quite a bit of Western beliefs and figured out the powers of Chinese science. As China became a top-down mandarinate (that is, a state managed by Soviet-Harvard centralized scribes, as Egypt had been before), the players somehow lost the zest for bricolage, the hunger for trial and error.

9 months ago

Now use this idea of cooking as a platform to grasp other pursuits: do other activities resemble it? If we put technologies through scrutiny, we would see that most do in fact resemble cooking a lot more than physics, particularly those in the complex domain.

9 months ago

There is a body of know-how that was transmitted from master to apprentice, and transmitted only in such a manner—with degrees necessary as a selection process or to make the profession more respectable, or to help here and there, but not systematically. And the role of such formal knowledge will be overappreciated precisely because it is highly visible

9 months ago

The thirteenth-century French architect Villard de Honnecourt documents with his series of drawings and notebooks in Picard (the language of the Picardie region in France) how cathedrals were built: experimental heuristics, small tricks and rules, later tabulated by Philibert de l’Orme in his architectural treatises. For instance, a triangle was visualized as the head of a horse. Experimentation can make people much more careful than theories.

9 months ago

Wiener was articulating ideas about feedback control and digital computing that had long been in practice in the engineering world. Yet people—even today’s engineers—have the illusion that we owe the field to Wiener’s mathematical thinking

9 months ago nik gaffney

David Mindell 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

Scranton was polite and focused on situations in which innovation is messy, “distinguished from more familiar analytic and synthetic innovation approaches,”

9 months ago

Scranton showed that we have been building and using jet engines in a completely trial-and-error experiential manner, without anyone truly understanding the theory. Builders needed the original engineers who knew how to twist things to make the engine work. Theory came later

9 months ago nik gaffney

Phil Scranton 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

The halo effect is largely the opposite of domain dependence.

9 months ago

what Karl Popper has called evolutionary epistemology.

9 months ago

All this does not mean that tinkering and trial and error are devoid of narrative: they are just not overly dependent on the narrative being true—the narrative is not epistemological but instrumental.

9 months ago

opportunism and optionality.

9 months ago

Optionality is Promethean, narratives are Epimethean—one has reversible and benign mistakes, the other symbolizes the gravity and irreversibility of the consequences of opening Pandora’s box.

9 months ago

To him, economics is like a fable—a fable writer is there to stimulate ideas, indirectly inspire practice perhaps, but certainly not to direct or determine practice. Theory should stay independent from practice and vice versa—and we should not extract academic economists from their campuses and put them in positions of decision making. Economics is not a science and should not be there to advise policy.

9 months ago nik gaffney

Ariel Rubinstein 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

Someone who escaped the conflation problem is Jim Simons, the great mathematician who made a fortune building a huge machine to transact across markets.

9 months ago nik gaffney

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Harris_Simons 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

There is something (here, perception, ideas, theories) and a function of something (here, a price or reality, or something real). The conflation problem is to mistake one for the other, forgetting that there is a “function” and that such function has different properties. Now, the more asymmetries there are between the something and the function of something, then the more difference there is between the two. They may end up having nothing to do with each other

9 months ago

This lesson “not the same thing” is quite general. When you have optionality, or some antifragility, and can identify betting opportunities with big upside and small downside, what you do is only remotely connected to what Aristotle thinks you do.

9 months ago

Aside from the non-narrative view of things, another lesson. People with too much smoke and complicated tricks and methods in their brains start missing elementary, very elementary things.

9 months ago

“There are so few occasions in one’s life, you can’t miss them,” he later told Nero during one of their lunches as he was convincing his non–New Jersey friend to bet on a collapse of the financial system.

9 months ago

So that is how I learned the lesson that price and reality as seen by economists are not the same thing. One may be a function of the other but the function is too complex to map mathematically.

9 months ago

So let us call the green lumber fallacy the situation in which one mistakes a source of necessary knowledge—the greenness of lumber—for another, less visible from the outside, less tractable, less narratable.

9 months ago

Evolution does not rely on narratives, humans do. Evolution does not need a word for the color blue.

9 months ago

Education makes individuals more polished dinner partners, for instance, something non-negligible. But the idea of educating people to improve the economy is rather novel.

9 months ago

Further, let me remind the reader that scholarship and organized education are not the same.

9 months ago

Alison Wolf debunks the flaw in logic in going from the point that it is hard to imagine Microsoft or British Aerospace without advanced knowledge to the idea that more education means more wealth. “The simple one-way relationship which so entrances our politicians and commentators—education spending in, economic growth out—simply doesn’t exist. Moreover, the larger and more complex the education sector, the less obvious any links to productivity become.”

9 months ago

It can be obtained by looking at countries that are both wealthy and have some level of education and considering which condition preceded the other. Take the following potent and less-is-more-style argument by the rogue economist Ha-Joon Chang.

9 months ago

There is something that escapes the Abu Dhabi model. Where are the stressors?

9 months ago

The important difference between theory and practice lies precisely in the detection of the sequence of events and retaining the sequence in memory.

9 months ago

“Granger cause”

9 months ago

We can dig out epiphenomena in the cultural discourse and consciousness by looking at the sequence of events and checking whether one always precedes the other. This is a method refined by the late Clive Granger

9 months ago

Whenever an economic crisis occurs, greed is pointed to as the cause, which leaves us with the impression that if we could go to the root of greed and extract it from life, crises would be eliminated. Further, we tend to believe that greed is new, since these wild economic crises are new. This is an epiphenomenon: greed is much older than systemic fragility.

9 months ago

Random Tinkering (antifragile) → Heuristics (technology) → Practice and Apprenticeship → Random Tinkering (antifragile) → Heuristics (technology) → Practice and Apprenticeship …

9 months ago

Mathematics → Ornithological navigation and wing-flapping technologies → (ungrateful) birds fly

9 months ago

While this model may be valid in some very narrow (but highly advertised instances), such as building the atomic bomb, the exact reverse seems to be true in most of the domains I’ve examined. Or, at least, this model is not guaranteed to be true and, what is shocking, we have no rigorous evidence that it is true. It may be that academia helps science and technology, which in turn help practice, but in unintended, nonteleological ways, as we will see later (in other words, it is directed research that may well be an illusion).

9 months ago

Consider two types of knowledge. The first type is not exactly “knowledge”; its ambiguous character prevents us from associating it with the strict definitions of knowledge. It is a way of doing things that we cannot really express in clear and direct language—it is sometimes called apophatic—but that we do nevertheless, and do well. The second type is more like what we call “knowledge”; it is what you acquire in school, can get grades for, can codify, what is explainable, academizable, rationalizable, formalizable, theoretizable, codifiable, Sovietizable, bureaucratizable, Harvardifiable, provable, etc.

9 months ago

the modus operandi of Greg Stemm, who specializes in pulling long-lost shipwrecks from the bottom of the sea.

9 months ago

Trial and error has one overriding value people fail to understand: it is not really random, rather, thanks to optionality, it requires some rationality. One needs to be intelligent in recognizing the favorable outcome and knowing what to discard.

9 months ago

The historian David Wooton relates a gap of two centuries between the discovery of germs and the acceptance of germs as a cause of disease, a delay of thirty years between the germ theory of putrefaction and the development of antisepsis, and a delay of sixty years between antisepsis and drug therapy.

9 months ago

Medical researchers call such lag the “translational gap,” the time difference between formal discovery and first implementation, which, if anything, owing to excessive noise and academic interests, has been shown by Contopoulos-Ioannidis and her peers to be lengthening in modern times.

9 months ago

As we saw with the stories of Thales and the wheel, antifragility (thanks to the asymmetry effects of trial and error) supersedes intelligence. But some intelligence is needed. From our discussion on rationality, we see that all we need is the ability to accept that what we have on our hands is better than what we had before—in other words, to recognize the existence of the option

9 months ago

heuristic: the simpler and more obvious the discovery, the less equipped we are to figure it out by complicated methods.

9 months ago

The Half-Invented. For there is a category of things that we can call half-invented, and taking the half-invented into the invented is often the real breakthrough.

9 months ago

The history of medicine is littered with the strange sequence of discovery of a cure followed, much later, by the implementation—as if the two were completely separate ventures, the second harder, much harder, than the first.

9 months ago

For randomness plays a role at two levels: the invention and the implementation.

9 months ago

François Jacob introduced into science the notion of options (or option-like characteristics) in natural systems, thanks to trial and error, under a variant called bricolage

9 months ago

evolution can produce astonishingly sophisticated objects without intelligence, simply thanks to a combination of optionality and some type of a selection filter, plus some randomness

9 months ago

Authors, artists, and even philosophers are much better off having a very small number of fanatics behind them than a large number of people who appreciate their work.

9 months ago

The option is an agent of antifragility.

9 months ago

The story of Thales has many morals, all of them linked to asymmetry (and the construction of an antifragile payoff)

9 months ago nik gaffney

That was the very first option on record. 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

Never ask people what they want, or where they want to go, or where they think they should go, or, worse, what they think they will desire tomorrow.

9 months ago

So let us call here the teleological fallacy the illusion that you know exactly where you are going, and that you knew exactly where you were going in the past, and that others have succeeded in the past by knowing where they were going.

9 months ago

This entire heritage of thinking, grounded in the sentence “An agent does not move except out of intention for an end,” is where the most pervasive human error lies, compounded by two or more centuries of the illusion of unconditional scientific understanding. This error is also the most fragilizing one.

9 months ago

Summa Theologiae by Saint Thomas Aquinas is the kind of book that no longer exists, the book-as-monument, a summa being the comprehensive treatment of a given discipline, while freeing it from the structure the authorities had given it before—the antitextbook.

9 months ago

So just as Stoicism is the domestication, not the elimination, of emotions, so is the barbell a domestication, not the elimination, of uncertainty.

9 months ago

I find it preferable (and less painful) to work intensely for very short hours, then do nothing for the rest of the time (assuming doing nothing is really doing nothing), until I recover completely and look forward to a repetition

9 months ago

“Provide for the worst; the best can take care of itself.”

9 months ago nik gaffney

Yiddish proverb 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

Seneca’s asymmetry: more upside than downside can come simply from the reduction of extreme downside (emotional harm) rather than improving things in the middle.

9 months ago

I initially used the image of the barbell to describe a dual attitude of playing it safe in some areas (robust to negative Black Swans) and taking a lot of small risks in others (open to positive Black Swans), hence achieving antifragility. That is extreme risk aversion on one side and extreme risk loving on the other, rather than just the “medium” or the beastly “moderate” risk attitude

9 months ago nik gaffney

bimodal strategy 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

growth was very modest, less than 1 percent per head, throughout the golden years surrounding the Industrial Revolution, the period that propelled Europe into domination.

9 months ago

Under path dependence, one can no longer separate growth in the economy from risks of recession, financial returns from risks of terminal losses, and “efficiency” from danger of accident.

9 months ago

The first step toward antifragility consists in first decreasing downside, rather than increasing upside; that is, by lowering exposure to negative Black Swans and letting natural antifragility work by itself. Mitigating fragility is not an option but a requirement.

9 months ago

Antifragility implies more to gain than to lose, equals more upside than downside, equals (favorable) asymmetry

9 months ago

Fragility implies more to lose than to gain, equals more downside than upside, equals (unfavorable) asymmetry

9 months ago

Simple test: if I have “nothing to lose” then it is all gain and I am antifragile

9 months ago

For those readers who wonder about the difference between Buddhism and Stoicism, I have a simple answer. A Stoic is a Buddhist with attitude, one who says “f*** you” to fate.

9 months ago

Stoicism is about the domestication, not necessarily the elimination, of emotions. It is not about turning humans into vegetables. My idea of the modern Stoic sage is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into information, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.

9 months ago

Actually the method of mentally adjusting “to the worst” had advantages way beyond the therapeutic, as it made me take a certain class of risks for which the worst case is clear and unambiguous, with limited and known downside. It is hard to stick to a good discipline of mental write-off when things are going well, yet that’s when one needs the discipline the most.

9 months ago

Seneca fathomed that possessions make us worry about downside, thus acting as a punishment as we depend on them. All upside, no downside. Even more: dependence on circumstances—rather, the emotions that arise from circumstances—induces a form of slavery.

9 months ago

something grand and useless called “rational decision making,”

9 months ago

wisdom in decision making is vastly more important—not just practically, but philosophically—than knowledge

9 months ago

You can’t predict in general, but you can predict that those who rely on predictions are taking more risks, will have some trouble, perhaps even go bust. Why? Someone who predicts will be fragile to prediction errors. An overconfident pilot will eventually crash the plane. And numerical prediction leads people to take more risks.

9 months ago

A man is honorable in proportion to the personal risks he takes for his opinion—in other words, the amount of downside he is exposed to.

9 months ago

The ethics of betting against suckers will be discussed in Book VII, but there are two schools of thought. To Nero one should first warn people that they are suckers, while Tony was against the very notion of warning. “You will be ridiculed,” he said; “words are for sissies.” A system based on verbal warnings will be dominated by non-risk-taking-babblers. These people won’t give you and your ideas respect unless you take their money.

9 months ago

Curiosity is antifragile, like an addiction, and is magnified by attempts to satisfy it—books have a secret mission and ability to multiply, as everyone who has wall-to-wall bookshelves knows well.

9 months ago

And, as he discovered, the worst thing one can do to feel one knows things a bit deeper is to try to go into them a bit deeper. The sea gets deeper as you go further into it, according to a Venetian proverb.

9 months ago

A Nonpredictive View of the World

9 months ago

It is obvious to anyone before drinking time that we can put a man, a family, a village with a mini town hall on the moon, and predict the trajectory of planets or the most minute effect in quantum physics, yet governments with equally sophisticated models cannot forecast revolutions, crises, budget deficits, climate change. Or even the closing prices of the stock market a few hours from now.

9 months ago

the Swedish government’s focus on total fiscal responsibility after their budget troubles in 1991—it makes them much less dependent on economic forecasts. This allowed them to shrug off later crises.

9 months ago

What are the Quadrants? Combining exposures and types of randomness we get four combinations: Mediocristan randomness, low exposure to extreme events (First Quadrant); Mediocristan randomness, high exposure to extreme events (Second Quadrant); Extremistan randomness, low exposure to extreme events (Third Quadrant); Extremistan randomness, high exposure to extreme events (Fourth Quadrant). The first three quadrants are ones in which knowledge or lack of it bring inconsequential errors. “Robustification” is the modification of exposures to make a switch from the fourth to the third quadrant.

9 months ago

Also, as to the naive type of utopianism, that is, blindness to history, we cannot afford to rely on the rationalistic elimination of greed and other human defects that fragilize society. Humanity has been trying to do so for thousands of years and humans remain the same, plus or minus bad teeth, so the last thing we need is even more dangerous moralizers (those who look in a permanent state of gastrointestinal distress). Rather, the more intelligent (and practical) action is to make the world greed-proof, or even hopefully make society benefit from the greed and other perceived defects of the human race.

9 months ago

What makes life simple is that the robust and antifragile don’t have to have as accurate a comprehension of the world as the fragile—and they do not need forecasting.

9 months ago

Fragility-Robustness-Antifragility as a replacement for predictive methods.

9 months ago

Political and economic “tail events” are unpredictable, and their probabilities are not scientifically measurable. No matter how many dollars are spent on research, predicting revolutions is not the same as counting cards; humans will never be able to turn politics and economics into the tractable randomness of blackjack.

9 months ago

catalysts-as-causes confusion.

9 months ago

The state exists as a tax collector, but the money is spent in the communes themselves, directed by the communes—for, say, skills training locally determined as deemed necessary by the community themselves, to respond to private demand for workers. The economic elites have more freedom than in most other democracies—this is far from the statism one can assume from the outside.

9 months ago nik gaffney

Denmark 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

But often it is the state’s incompetence that can help save us from the grip of statism and modernity—inverse iatrogenics. The insightful author Dmitri Orlov showed how calamities were avoided after the breakdown of the Soviet state because food production was inefficient and full of unintentional redundancies, which ended up working in favor of stability.

9 months ago

In business and economic decision making, reliance on data causes severe side effects—data is now plentiful thanks to connectivity, and the proportion of spuriousness in the data increases as one gets more immersed in it. A very rarely discussed property of data: it is toxic in large quantities—even in moderate quantities.

9 months ago

Few can grasp the logical consequence that, instead, one should lead a life in which procrastination is good, as a naturalistic-risk-based form of decision making.

9 months ago

Using my ecological reasoning, someone who procrastinates is not irrational; it is his environment that is irrational. And the psychologist or economist calling him irrational is the one who is beyond irrational.

9 months ago

Psychologists and economists who study “irrationality” do not realize that humans may have an instinct to procrastinate only when no life is in danger. I do not procrastinate when I see a lion entering my bedroom or fire in my neighbor’s library. I do not procrastinate after a severe injury. I do so with unnatural duties and procedures.

9 months ago

the Fabian Society, named after the Cunctator

9 months ago

Let me simplify my take on intervention. To me it is mostly about having a systematic protocol to determine when to intervene and when to leave systems alone. And we may need to intervene to control the iatrogenics of modernity—particularly the large-scale harm to the environment and the concentration of potential (though not yet manifested) damage, the kind of thing we only notice when it is too late. The ideas advanced here are not political, but risk-management based. I do not have a political affiliation or allegiance to a specific party; rather, I am introducing the idea of harm and fragility into the vocabulary so we can formulate appropriate policies to ensure we don’t end up blowing up the planet and ourselves.

9 months ago

But one needs to be careful not to overgeneralize the Drachten effect, as it does not imply the effectiveness of removing all rules from society.

9 months ago

Some libertarians use the example of Drachten, a town in the Netherlands, in which a dream experiment was conducted. All street signs were removed. The deregulation led to an increase in safety, confirming the antifragility of attention at work, how it is whetted by a sense of danger and responsibility. As a result, many German and Dutch towns have reduced the number of street signs.

9 months ago nik gaffney

But one needs to be careful not to overgeneralize the Drachten effect, as it does not imply the effectiveness of removing all rules from society. 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

What should we control? As a rule, intervening to limit size (of companies, airports, or sources of pollution), concentration, and speed are beneficial in reducing Black Swan risks.

9 months ago

As we saw with the overzealous editor, over-intervention comes with under-intervention. Indeed, as in medicine, we tend to over-intervene in areas with minimal benefits (and large risks) while under-intervening in areas in which intervention is necessary, like emergencies.

9 months ago

In social science we should call these constructs “chimeras” rather than theories.

9 months ago

Physics is privileged; it is the exception, which makes its imitation by other disciplines similar to attempts to make a whale fly like an eagle.

9 months ago

Theories are superfragile; they come and go, then come and go, then come and go again; phenomenologies stay, and I can’t believe people don’t realize that phenomenology is “robust” and usable, and theories, while overhyped, are unreliable for decision making—outside physics.

9 months ago

For a theory is a very dangerous thing to have

9 months ago

People with an engineering-oriented mind will tend to look at everything around as an engineering problem. This is a very good thing in engineering, but when dealing with cats, it is a much better idea to hire veterinarians than circuits engineers

9 months ago

Perhaps the idea behind capitalism is an inverse-iatrogenic effect, the unintended-but-not-so-unintended consequences: the system facilitates the conversion of selfish aims (or, to be correct, not necessarily benevolent ones) at the individual level into beneficial results for the collective.

9 months ago

Medicine has known about iatrogenics since at least the fourth century before our era—primum non nocere (“first do no harm”) is a first principle attributed to Hippocrates and integrated in the so-called Hippocratic Oath taken by every medical doctor on his commencement day. It just took medicine about twenty-four centuries to properly execute the brilliant idea. In spite of the recitations of non nocere through the ages, the term “iatrogenics” only appeared in frequent use very, very late, a few decades ago—after so much damage had been done.

9 months ago

Medicine is comparatively the good news, perhaps the only good news, in the field of iatrogenics. We see the problem there because things are starting to be brought under control today; it is now just what we call the cost of doing business, although medical error still currently kills between three times (as accepted by doctors) and ten times as many people as car accidents in the United States. It is generally accepted that harm from doctors—not including risks from hospital germs—accounts for more deaths than any single cancer. The methodology used by the medical establishment for decision making is still innocent of proper risk-management principles, but medicine is getting better.

9 months ago

The name for such net loss, the (usually hidden or delayed) damage from treatment in excess of the benefits, is iatrogenics, literally, “caused by the healer,” iatros being a healer in Greek.

9 months ago

There is a dependence on narratives, an intellectualization of actions and ventures. Public enterprises and functionaries—even employees of large corporations—can only do things that seem to fit some narrative, unlike businesses that can just follow profits, with or without a good-sounding story.

9 months ago

Violence is transferred from individuals to states. So is financial indiscipline. At the center of all this is the denial of antifragility.

9 months ago

We need to learn to think in second steps, chains of consequences, and side effects.

9 months ago

THAT TIME BOMB CALLED STABILITY

9 months ago

One of the methods, called sortes virgilianae (fate as decided by the epic poet Virgil), involved opening Virgil’s Aeneid at random and interpreting the line that presented itself as direction for the course of action.

9 months ago

the members of the Athenian assemblies were chosen by lot, a method meant to protect the system from degeneracy. Luckily, this effect has been investigated with modern political systems. In a computer simulation, Alessandro Pluchino and his colleagues showed how adding a certain number of randomly selected politicians to the process can improve the functioning of the parliamentary system.

9 months ago

The idea of injecting random noise into a system to improve its functioning has been applied across fields.

9 months ago

Buridan’s Donkey

9 months ago

This adverse effect of stability is straightforward to model scientifically, but when I became a trader, I was told of a heuristic used by veterans, and only old seasoned veterans: when a market reaches a “new low,” that is, drops to a level not seen in a long time, there is “a lot of blood” to come, with people rushing to the exit. Some people unused to losing shekels will be experiencing a large loss and will incur distress. If such a low market level has not been seen in years, say two years, it will be called “a two-year low” and will cause more damage than a one-year low. Tellingly, they call it a “cleanup,” getting the “weak hands” out of the way. A “weak hand” is clearly someone who is fragile but doesn’t know it and is lulled by a false sense of security. When many such weak hands rush to the door, they collectively cause crashes.

9 months ago

Injecting some confusion stabilizes the system. Indeed, confusing people a little bit is beneficial—it is good for you and good for them.

9 months ago

Light control works; close control leads to overreaction, sometimes causing the machinery to break into pieces. In a famous paper “On Governors,” published in 1867, Maxwell modeled the behavior and showed mathematically that tightly controlling the speed of engines leads to instability.

9 months ago

Note that people invoke an expression, “Balkanization,” about the mess created by fragmented states, as if fragmentation was a bad thing, and as if there was an alternative in the Balkans—but nobody uses “Helvetization” to describe its successes.

9 months ago

a fissiparous and amorphous mass of small statelings and city-states in constant tension—but shifting alliances.

9 months ago

Nation-states rely on centralized bureaucracy, whereas empires, such as the Roman empire and Ottoman dynasties, have relied on local elites, in fact allowing the city-states to prosper and conserve some effective autonomy—and, what was great for peace, such autonomy was commercial, not military. In reality, the Ottomans did these vassals and suzerains a favor by preventing them from involvement in warfare—this took away militaristic temptations and helped them thrive; regardless of how iniquitous the system seemed to be on the surface, it allowed locals to focus on commerce rather than war. It protected them from themselves. This is the argument brought by David Hume in his History of England in favor of small states, as large states get tempted by warfare.

9 months ago

The northern Levant, roughly today’s northern part of Syria and Lebanon, stayed perhaps the most prosperous province in the history of mankind, over the long, very long stretch of time from the pre-pottery Neolithic until very modern history, the middle of the twentieth century. That’s twelve thousand years—compared to, say, England, which has been prosperous for about five hundred years, or Scandinavia, now only prosperous for less than three hundred years.

9 months ago

The same bottom-up effect applies to law. The Italian political and legal philosopher Bruno Leoni has argued in favor of the robustness of judge-based law (owing to its diversity) as compared to explicit and rigid codifications. True, the choice of a court could be a lottery—but it helps prevent large-scale mistakes.

9 months ago

The way people handle local affairs is vastly different from the way they handle large, abstract public expenditures: we have traditionally lived in small units and tribes and managed rather well in small units.

9 months ago

It is not scalable (or what is called invariant under scale transformation): in other words, if you increase the size, say, multiply the number of people in a community by a hundred, you will have markedly different dynamics. A large state does not behave at all like a gigantic municipality, much as a baby human does not resemble a smaller adult.

9 months ago

Note for now that this is the last major country that is not a nation-state, but rather a collection of small municipalities left to their own devices

9 months ago

The friend, a writer, pointed out to me that Lenin, who lived in town, used to play chess in the café with the Dadaist poet Tristan Tzara. Yes, the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, later known as Lenin, spent some time in Switzerland concocting his project of the great top-down modernist state and largest human experiment in centralized state control.

9 months ago

This is the central illusion in life: that randomness is risky, that it is a bad thing—and that eliminating randomness is done by eliminating randomness

9 months ago

Procrustes was an inn-keeper in Greek mythology who, in order to make the travelers fit in his bed, cut the limbs of those who were too tall and stretched those who were too short. But he had the bed fitting the visitor with total perfection.

9 months ago

Clearly the system needs to be there for the individual to survive. So one needs to be careful in glorifying one interest against others in the presence of interdependence and complexity.

9 months ago

I detest the ruthlessness of selection, the inexorable disloyalty of Mother Nature. I detest the notion of improvement thanks to harm to others. As a humanist, I stand against the antifragility of systems at the expense of individuals, for if you follow the reasoning, this makes us humans individually irrelevant.

9 months ago

as the anthropologist Scott Atran has pointed out, the first suicide bombers in the Levant were revolutionaries of Greek Orthodox background

9 months ago

This visible tension between individual and collective interests is new in history: in the past it was dealt with by the near irrelevance of individuals. Sacrifice for the sake of the group is behind the notion of heroism: it is good for the tribe, bad for those who perish under the fever of war.

9 months ago

We can mistake the antifragility of the system for that of the individual, when in fact it takes place at the expense of the individual (the difference between hormesis and selection).

9 months ago

some class of rash, even suicidal, risk taking is healthy for the economy—under the condition that not all people take the same risks and that these risks remain small and localized.

9 months ago

You may never know what type of person someone is unless they are given opportunities to violate moral or ethical codes.

9 months ago

Variability causes mistakes and adaptations; it also allows you to know who your friends are. Both your failures and your successes will give you information.

9 months ago

Every plane crash brings us closer to safety, improves the system, and makes the next flight safer—those who perish contribute to the overall safety of others. Swiss flight 111, TWA flight 800, and Air France flight 447 allowed the improvement of the system. But these systems learn because they are antifragile and set up to exploit small errors; the same cannot be said of economic crashes, since the economic system is not antifragile the way it is presently built.

9 months ago

Antoine Danchin.

9 months ago

Black Swan Management 101: nature (and nature-like systems) likes diversity between organisms rather than diversity within an immortal organism, unless you consider nature itself the immortal organism, as in the pantheism of Spinoza or that present in Asian religions, or the Stoicism of Chrisippus or Epictetus.

9 months ago

So some parts on the inside of a system may be required to be fragile in order to make the system antifragile as a result. Or the organism itself might be fragile, but the information encoded in the genes reproducing it will be antifragile.

9 months ago

What a tourist is in relation to an adventurer, or a flâneur, touristification is to life; it consists in converting activities, and not just travel, into the equivalent of a script like those followed by actors. We will see how touristification castrates systems and organisms that like uncertainty by sucking randomness out of them to the last drop—while providing them with the illusion of benefit.

9 months ago

Yet the best way to learn a language may be an episode of jail in a foreign country.

9 months ago

Our antifragilities have conditions. The frequency of stressors matters a bit. Humans tend to do better with acute than with chronic stressors, particularly when the former are followed by ample time for recovery, which allows the stressors to do their jobs as messengers.

9 months ago

Let us consider bones again.

9 months ago

In the complex world, the notion of “cause” itself is suspect; it is either nearly impossible to detect or not really defined—another reason to ignore newspapers, with their constant supply of causes for things.

9 months ago

They are closer to the cat than to the washing machine but tend to be mistaken for washing machines.

9 months ago

Inanimate—that is, nonliving—material, typically, when subjected to stress, either undergoes material fatigue or breaks

9 months ago

Typically, the natural—the biological—is both antifragile and fragile, depending on the source (and the range) of variation. A human body can benefit from stressors (to get stronger), but only to a point.

9 months ago

The bold conjecture made here is that everything that has life in it is to some extent antifragile (but not the reverse).

9 months ago nik gaffney

Another way to see it: machines are harmed by low-level stressors (material fatigue), organisms are harmed by the absence of low-level stressors (hormesis) 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

(a heuristic): to estimate the quality of research, take the caliber of the highest detractor, or the caliber of the lowest detractor whom the author answers in print—whichever is lower.

9 months ago nik gaffney

Bowersock Metric 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

Information is antifragile; it feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it. For instance, many wreck their reputations merely by trying to defend it.

9 months ago

If antifragility is what wakes up and overreacts and overcompensates to stressors and damage, then one of the most antifragile things you will find outside economic life is a certain brand of refractory love (or hate), one that seems to overreact and overcompensate for impediments such as distance, family incompatibilities, and every conscious attempt to kill it.

9 months ago

This method consisted of short episodes in the gym in which one focused solely on improving one’s past maximum in a single lift, the heaviest weight one could haul, sort of the high-water mark. The workout was limited to trying to exceed that mark once or twice, rather than spending time on un-entertaining time-consuming repetitions. The exercise got me into a naturalistic form of weightlifting, and one that accords with the evidence-based literature: work on the maximum, spend the rest of the time resting and splurging on mafia-sized steaks.

9 months ago

the following inconsistency: this so-called worst-case event, when it happened, exceeded the worst case at the time.

9 months ago

A system that overcompensates is necessarily in overshooting mode, building extra capacity and strength in anticipation of a worse outcome and in response to information about the possibility of a hazard. And of course such extra capacity or strength may become useful by itself, opportunistically. We saw that redundancy is opportunistic, so such extra strength can be used to some benefit even in the absence of the hazard

9 months ago

Redundancy is ambiguous because it seems like a waste if nothing unusual happens. Except that something unusual happens—usually.

9 months ago

Layers of redundancy are the central risk management property of natural systems. We humans have two kidneys (this may even include accountants), extra spare parts, and extra capacity in many, many things (say, lungs, neural system, arterial apparatus), while human design tends to be spare and inversely redundant,

9 months ago

This paradox of attention has been a little bit investigated: there is empirical evidence of the effect of “disfluency.” Mental effort moves us into higher gear, activating more vigorous and more analytical brain machinery.

9 months ago

It is said that the best horses lose when they compete with slower ones, and win against better rivals. Undercompensation from the absence of a stressor, inverse hormesis, absence of challenge, degrades the best of the best. In Baudelaire’s poem, “The albatross’s giant wings prevent him from walking”—many do better in Calculus 103 than Calculus 101.

9 months ago

The world as a whole has never been richer, and it has never been more heavily in debt, living off borrowed money. The record shows that, for society, the richer we become, the harder it gets to live within our means. Abundance is harder for us to handle than scarcity.

9 months ago

How do you innovate? First, try to get in trouble. I mean serious, but not terminal, trouble.

9 months ago

post-traumatic growth, the opposite of post-traumatic stress syndrome, by which people harmed by past events surpass themselves.

9 months ago nik gaffney

popular culture has an awareness of its equivalent, revealed in the expression “it builds character.” 9 months ago Avatar for nik gaffney

It is not part of the accepted way of thinking about success, economic growth, or innovation that these may result only from overcompensation against stressors. Nor do we see this overcompensation at work elsewhere.

9 months ago

Hormesis, a word coined by pharmacologists, is when a small dose of a harmful substance is actually beneficial for the organism, acting as medicine. A little bit of an otherwise offending substance, not too much, acts to benefit the organism and make it better overall as it triggers some overreaction.

9 months ago

Let us call Mithridatization the result of an exposure to a small dose of a substance that, over time, makes one immune to additional, larger quantities of it.

9 months ago

Through the Language Glass, the linguist Guy Deutscher reports that many primitive populations, without being color-blind, have verbal designations for only two or three colors. But when given a simple test, they can successfully match strings to their corresponding colors.

9 months ago

as Cato the Elder, Nietzsche, Thales of Miletus, the potency of the system of city-states, the sustainability of artisans, the process of discovery, the onesidedness of opacity, financial derivatives, antibiotic resistance, bottom-up systems, Socrates’ invitation to overrationalize, how to lecture birds, obsessive love, Darwinian evolution, the mathematical concept of Jensen’s inequality, optionality and option theory, the idea of ancestral heuristics, the works of Joseph de Maistre and Edmund Burke, Wittgenstein’s antirationalism, the fraudulent theories of the economics establishment, tinkering and bricolage, terrorism exacerbated by death of its members, an apologia for artisanal societies, the ethical flaws of the middle class, Paleo-style workouts (and nutrition), the idea of medical iatrogenics, the glorious notion of the magnificent (megalopsychon), my obsession with the idea of convexity (and my phobia of concavity), the late-2000s banking and economic crisis, the misunderstanding of redundancy, the difference between tourist and flâneur, etc.

10 months ago

the robust or resilient is neither harmed nor helped by volatility and disorder, while the antifragile benefits from them. But it takes some effort for the concept to sink in. A lot of things people call robust or resilient are just robust or resilient, the other half are antifragile

10 months ago

My experience is that money and transactions purify relations; ideas and abstract matters like “recognition” and “credit” warp them, creating an atmosphere of perpetual rivalry.

10 months ago

It is time to revive the not well-known philosophical notion of doxastic commitment, a class of beliefs that go beyond talk, and to which we are committed enough to take personal risks.

10 months ago

The Extended Disorder Family (or Cluster): (i) uncertainty, (ii) variability, (iii) imperfect, incomplete knowledge, (iv) chance, (v) chaos, (vi) volatility, (vii) disorder, (viii) entropy, (ix) time, (x) the unknown, (xi) randomness, (xii) turmoil, (xiii) stressor, (xiv) error, (xv) dispersion of outcomes, (xvi) unknowledge.

10 months ago

Fragility is quite measurable, risk not so at all, particularly risk associated with rare events.

10 months ago

Sensitivity to harm from volatility is tractable, more so than forecasting the event that would cause the harm.

10 months ago

By grasping the mechanisms of antifragility we can build a systematic and broad guide to nonpredictive decision making under uncertainty in business, politics, medicine, and life in general—anywhere the unknown preponderates, any situation in which there is randomness, unpredictability, opacity, or incomplete understanding of things.

10 months ago

Sensitivity to harm from volatility is tractable, more so than forecasting the event that would cause the harm.

10 months ago

By grasping the mechanisms of antifragility we can build a systematic and broad guide to nonpredictive decision making under uncertainty in business, politics, medicine, and life in general—anywhere the unknown preponderates, any situation in which there is randomness, unpredictability, opacity, or incomplete understanding of things.

10 months ago