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« Two greats take their leave | Main | Circus Maximus vs Sequester Minimus (Addended) »

01 March 2013


Russ Steele


You wrote: "Readers may recognize versions of antifragility that have been practiced and taught everywhere from athletics to AIs that today can learn from their environment and experience." Is this complete, or is there something missing? If there is nothing missing I will continue to decode your sentence.

George Rebane

RussS 758pm - Athletes train at the edge of their performance envelopes to increase their normative abilities. So do intelligent machines to increase theirs. Machines that learn are taken into or exposed to environments that require the solution of problems whose difficulty is such that their probabilistic mis-solution can literally destroy their learned paradigm for solving problems. However, a successful solution solidifies their knowledge base and expands the power of their solution paradigm. Hope this helps.

Russ Steele

Yes, but the real problem is that I was reading AIs as als. Now that I know it was A "eye", it makes sense. For some reason my computer uses the same symbol for upper case I and lower case el. Machine problem! I can fix he problem by creating style sheet that uses a different font.

Thanks for the extra effort to explain.

Russ Steele

Nassim Taleb and Daniel Kahneman discuss Taleb’s Antifragile book at The New York Public Library in this video:

It is an 1 hour and 18 minutes, with some interesting audience questions at the end, so reserved a major block of viewing time.

One of the best questions was how do we get "tinkering" back in our schools and foster entrepreneurship? Not sure we got a great answer.

[The video is also prominently displayed on Taleb's home page available from the link in my report. gjr]

Steve Frisch

Thanks for this insight into Mr. Taleb's new book George. Having read Randomness and Black Swan, Anti-fragile had escaped my attention. It's now in the growing line of soon to be read volumes on my I-Pad.


George, glad to finally see your review of AntiFragile. "Antifragile" is now a part of the McD family lexicon (as is "Black Swan"). I share Danny's (as Taleb refers to him) comment: “changed my view of how the world works.”

It was a fun and educational read and more importantly has impacted how I live my daily life. I think about 'stressers' differently. I look for risks to capitalize on, not just survive. I am even more skeptical of economists/economic predictions (especially by governments and folks with no skin in the game). I am more averse to college for anyone not planning on a science/math career. My belief that breaking Federal power down in favor of local power was solidified.
I could go on and on. Ironically, the last book I read of similar impact was Thinking, Fast, Slow by Kahneman.

Thank you George.

Russ Steele

In watching the video, Taleb made reference to humans who are not made to accept a constant room temperature and the need for variation. He stressed the need for stressors on our lives. It is the stressors that prepare us to cope with the big event that is sure to come in our chaotic world.

It seems to me the wide variation in the global temperatures, the volcanos, the droughts, the tornados, the hurricanes and cyclones are all stressors that are preparing man kind for the big one yet to come. The next Ice age will soon return and mankind will have to survive the encroaching ice. The climate stressors that we are experiencing today are all preparing humans and animals for the tougher times ahead.

Climate history tells us that we are on the cusp of the next major cooling period, another little ice age, or it could be the cooling that signals the end of our current interglacial. If you look at the time scales, the cooling took place over multiple generations, giving humans ample time to adjust to the stressors of a colder climate, less food and a much dimer sun.

But first we have to recognize that chaos is good and that warming and cooling are good for us as inhabitants of the planet. There is no right global temperature as claimed by Al Gore and his AGW cult followers. The planet has warmed and cooled for centuries as we transit this current interglacial period. Now it is time to recognize that we are on the cusp of the next big event -- global cooling. We need to stop this global warming foolishness and prepare for a major cooling event. Is it the final one before the next ice age. Only time will tell, we may yet have another warming period, before the ice comes, but it will come.

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