was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/ For Nassim Nicholas. Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world . The Roots of Unfairness: the Black. Swan in Arts and Literature. Nassim Nicholas Taleb1. 2nd. Draft, November Literary Reseach/Recherche Litteraire. PDF | On Feb 1, , Gene Callahan and others published Nassim Nicholas Taleb: The black swan: The impact of the highly improbable.
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The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable is a philosophy literary book by the epistemologist Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The core theme of the book is . NOTICES OF THE AMS. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly. Improbable. Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Random House, US$ kind.” The same could be said for philosopher, essayist and trader Nassim Nicholas. Taleb, who finds something rotten in misguided yet supremely confident.
Explanations tie the facts and make them easier to remember, but our brains always seek to tell a story where events are correlated and meaningful.
However, by condensing facts into a single narrative, we end up generating a loss of information and have a great tendency to oversimplify things. We discard the data that makes no sense in our history, and that leaves us at the mercy of the swans.
Two Ways to Think… According to cognitive psychologists, we have two kinds of thoughts. Type 1 thinking is instinctive, fast, immediate, and based on your experience with the world. This system is advantageous for having high speed and helps you react quickly to external stimuli but is also very prone to errors. System 2, on the other hand, is slow, rational and self-aware, much more useful in the classroom not at a time of quick thinking between life and death.
The problem is that we often confuse thoughts from system 1 with system 2 because at level 1 we have no control over them. Often, we believe that the thoughts that come from system 1 are based on analysis rather than reflexes, and this harms our cognition.
System 1 leaves us blind to Black Swans and often misinterprets them as well. System 1 considers primarily anecdotal data and based on our experience rather than using statistics or empirical data.
Know your brain. Have you ever dreamt of being a great author or creating a great company in an innovative market? If this is what you seek, Taleb has an interesting point of view. The human being needs constant, tangible results and rewards to continue to pursue something. A number of small, constant rewards usually bring more happiness and fulfillment than a substantial reward.
There are two types of progress. The uniform and linear, and the nonlinear, which tend to occur in large jumps, alternating with stagnation. But while we prefer to believe that the world works in a linear perspective, this is not the right way to approach the problem.
Nonlinear situations are the most constant in life, and linear conditions tend to be the real exception. His learning comes from things so diverse and in many cases random that to believe that the linear model is the best model ends up becoming a fallacy. The linear model is adopted in classrooms and books just because they are easier to understand.
Besides, the humans have the limitation that in viewing the past, they select the parts of a process that fit his impressions and ignores the parts that do not conform to his preconceptions.
Our mind creates a record that ignores the facts which do not fit our mental model, and Taleb calls this the silent evidence. For example, humans tend to see authors of famous books as extremely talented and attribute the reason for their success to their talents. Many writers with various works never get to have a book published by a major publisher and become a bestseller. Therefore, they end up not getting known by the public. As we do not have access to the works of hundreds of thousands of authors who have never had their books published by the major publishers, we tend not to take into account their importance and relevance.
We, as human beings, tend to consider only the Black Swans who have had the right combination of talent and luck to secure their place in the hall of fame. The presence or absence of talent cannot be proven as a cause of success in the publishing world. Silent evidence did not create a black swan and therefore did not receive public attention. Therefore, it is important to be open to the possibility of having unplanned results for our activities.
That can help us advantageously benefit the Black Swans when they appear. There is a law in statistics, called the law of iterated expectations. It states that the expectation of attaining knowledge by itself is equivalent to the knowledge itself. In practice, Taleb explains that this law acts as follows in our expectations: If I expect something to happen by a certain date in the future, I expect this something in the present.
If you know what the discovery will do in the future, you have almost discovered it. To understand the future to the point of predicting it, you need to incorporate elements of the future into your present, that is, to add uncertainty components in your experiments.
Swans in Practice… If you are ready to embrace your ignorance, here are some practical tips from Taleb to learn how to capture more value from the Black Swans. The first step is to focus on the potential consequences of the unexpected instead of focusing on the likelihood that the improbable will occur. The effects of making a mistake in weather forecasting, for example, are often trivial, while the consequences of making mistakes in stock market forecasts can be devastating.
For this, the idea is to prioritize their beliefs according to the damage they can cause rather than the chance of them happening. What do you believe could have the most significant impact on your life today? That is the point that should take your sleep, not the one which you believe to be most likely with a minor impact. For example, if you invest in stocks, it is better to consider extreme scenarios than usual perceived risk scenarios.
Instead of putting your money in medium-risk investments how do you know the risk is medium? So you do not have to worry about risk management and place yourself partially at the mercy of Black Swans.
The goal is to be very exposed to the positive Black Swans and remain paranoid about the negatives.
The events with the most significant impacts on your life will be unexpected, the black swans, because of our cognitive biases and our inability to predict these events. So learning through trial and error matters a lot and our brains have a hard time accepting this.
Embracing this process can help you accomplish more. Avoid making predictions about the great complex issues that may deceive you in the future. Be mistaken about simple concerns, not complex ones.
If the subject is future, you must always be skeptical and open-minded for positive and negative events. This incident is described as a Black Swan event. The book goes on to admit that the so-called author is a work of fiction. Yevgenia rejects the distinction between fiction and nonfiction. She also hates the very idea of forcing things into well defined "categories", holding that the world generally is complex and not easy to define.
Though female, the character is based, in part, autobiographically on the author according to Taleb , who has many of the same traits. The third chapter introduces the concepts of Extremistan and Mediocristan. He uses them as guides to define how predictable the environment one's studying is. Mediocristan environments safely can use Gaussian distribution. In Extremistan environments, a Gaussian distribution should be used at one's own peril. Chapter four brings together the topics discussed earlier, into a narrative about a turkey.
Taleb uses it to illustrate the philosophical problem of induction and how past performance is no indicator of future performance. He then takes the reader into the history of skepticism. In chapter nine, Taleb outlines the multiple topics he previously has described and connects them as a single basic idea. In chapter thirteen, the book discusses what can be done regarding epistemic arrogance.
However, extreme events usually occur and have significant impacts. Our tendency to ignore them comes from the fact that people tend to underestimate their ignorance. There is much that we do not know, but since feeling ignorant is something that does not make us feel good about ourselves, we tend to downplay this characteristic of ours.
We create stories where they do not exist.
Human knowledge is constantly growing and evolving, and the dogmatic approach we tend to take makes no sense. We cannot be sure of our beliefs, for they make us blind to concepts that are outside what we believe to be true.
Black swans are the events that cause vast cognitive transformations, whether minor or enormous, such as the destruction of a sector in the stock market or a political crisis. The only way to be aware of these impacts is information. The more ignorant you are, the more likely you are to be surprised by a swan. The more informed you are, the less likely you will be hit. A Black Swan can transform the whole modern understanding of science, impacting philosophy, theology, and physics.
In the 15th century, when Nicolaus Copernicus proposed that the earth was not the center of the universe, the consequences were immense, at all levels.
He challenged religion yes, the Catholic church suffered major impacts , but also paved the way for a cultural change in society and science. To better understand the impact of the unlikely, Nassim Taleb divides human knowledge into two main areas of randomness, separating the two major groups of unlikely effects in our lives.
By dividing the improbable into two large groups, it becomes easier to understand how it deceives us and thus proves our inability to make predictions. The first of them is called by Taleb of Mediochristian, describing a land where averages are the rule. In Mediochristian our sampling of information and data available is very large, and no single fact will change the way the model works.
The data in this context is not scalable, as it has defined a minimum and a maximum limit. Examples of Mediochristian information are, for example, physical characteristics such as height and body weight, and even IQ.
Since the properties of such non-scalable information are certainly limited, it is possible to make relatively accurate predictions about the means. In Extremistan, the information is so disproportionate that a single observation can dramatically impact our observations and mislead our ability to make predictions. Examples of data and information emerging from the Far East are far more diverse.
Examples include: Deaths in terrorist attacks, book sales by an author, inflation rates. Other than data such as height and weight, wealth distribution and album sales are scalable items. For example, you can sell your book in digital format through Kindle infinitely, because the digital format does not require you to print a book with each copy sold.
Another example is wealth, which is highly scalable: And if you analyze the data looking at the average, you can be deceived with a representation of the income distribution that does not accurately reflect the reality of people. Be careful not to be turkey on Thanksgiving Day… Imagine the following scenario.
You are a turkey, which is fed daily, well taken care of every day, for years and your life is going ok. But on Thanksgiving, a surprise occurs. You are not fed, you are murdered and eaten by the people who feed you.
That is the metaphor that Taleb uses to illustrate how to observe the past to predict the future. It also proves that the Black Swans are relative.
For you the turkey , the Thanksgiving dinner is definitely a Black Swan, but for the Thanksgiving dinner cook, there is no surprise in this event. We often look at our lives as if things were happening in the Mediochristian, when, in fact, life occurs much more in the kingdom of Extremistan. To learn to deal with this, one must accept, embrace and understand the unpredictable nature of the world, rather than ignore it. That will not make you not be the turkey, but at least it will allow you not to get accustomed to the status quo.
Our brains play tricks on us. We tend to conclude that similar sounding phrases have absurdly different meanings.
The lack of proof that something exists does not mean that it does not exist. It is not because there has never been an earthquake in your city, that it will never occur, will it? But given our ignorance, to seek evidence that what we believe is real can greatly limit our line of thought and make us ignore information that does not support our beliefs. It is often more valuable to search for facts that go against our beliefs than those which support it. That leads to much more powerful discoveries and allows us not to be blinded.
Another flaw in our operating system is that we are in the habit of creating stories based on collections of events that occur in our lives. The author calls this failure a narrative fallacy.
It is characterized by exploiting our limited ability to analyze sequences of events without adding an explanation to them. Explanations tie the facts and make them easier to remember, but our brains always seek to tell a story where events are correlated and meaningful. However, by condensing facts into a single narrative, we end up generating a loss of information and have a great tendency to oversimplify things.
We discard the data that makes no sense in our history, and that leaves us at the mercy of the swans.