Sunday, 30 April 2017

Nassim Taleb

I've already talked about black swans, a concept that largely came from Nassim Taleb's book, “Black Swan”. So let's talk about another concept from another book of his: Antifragile.

Antifragility is the idea that some systems thrive on the chaos, problems and shocks in their environment. Life itself is antifragile, in that, in a universe hostile to life, it thrives if there are enough resources for it to take off; and, there is just enough stability to do so.

Consider the following comparison: You take a plant or animal and move it to another kind of environment, perhaps on a different continent to where it naturally came from.

The life form will often just die in a short period of time. It can't find the resources it needs to survive. It's the wrong temperature. There are a thousand reasons why it's likely going to die off.

But then you have the case of the invasive species. In this situation, the new form rapidly takes over the new environment because it literally has no opposition to its thriving. This second case is what I see as the strongest example of antifragility, in that the invasive species is literally thriving against previously unknown opposition.

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