Monday, August 23, 2010

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

"I cannot accept a pretence of science

I much prefer a sophisticated craft focused on tricks to a failed science looking for certainties

Could it be that they are doing something worse

Could it be that they are involved in manufacturing certainties

It means for me the caring about the premises more than the theories

I want to reduce my reliance on theories

Stay light on my feet and reduce my surprises

I want to be broadly right rather than precisely wrong

A theory is like medicine or government, often useless, sometimes necessary, always self serving and on occasion lethal

So it needs to be used with care moderation and close adult supervision"

N Taleb

His major point is that the unexpected is so much more important than the expected

The unexpected will also do immeasurably more damage than the expected

And if it only hits us once in a lifetime then being able to handle this is often the measure of our lives

His other point is that so much of what we pretend to know we do not in fact know at all

That we try to pretend that we know what is coming by producing explanations after the event 

Worthy experts called up to explain what they did not know or have a clue about before the event

To make us feel secure that they know

When they do not

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