Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Curious Coincidence of the Black Swan

Black Swans
This must be pure coincidence ... but more of that later.

In his book, The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb discusses the reasons for our being blind to Black Swans (defined as events that we unable to predict due to our tendency to extrapolate historical data or past events.) I am still reading the book and have reached a very interesting point (from this posts point of views, that is; actually the whole book is extremely interesting) where the author discusses human tendency to simplify data and facts. Humans, rather quickly, simplify a set of facts as per their convenience / upbringing and come to a conclusion. We weave for ourselves a story and assign a cause to an event post-facto. For obvious (or not so obvious) reasons, we cannot assimilate all the data that is available. But worse we do not know that we do not assimilate all the data and pick ad choose as per convenience. This tendency is obviously not limited just to the humans. Even machines would do so (or do so more than humans as machines are built to supply closed form answers.

That got me thinking. What if there were people who take in all information that is made available. Or at least take more information than normal humans do. Then BAM. I realized that I know what would happen. Pure coincidence. I did not realize this when I listed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time as a gift in my previous post. The protagonist, a child with 'special needs' takes in all information he gets (has a photographic memory) and does not take a judgment call (takes every information at face value) and is brilliant at Mathematics (perhaps, that's why). He is obviously a social misfit (his character is more complicated that can be described in two lines).

So, is it impossible for a normal human being to predict Black Swan?


I haven't finished reading. Will update after I complete reading The Black Swan.

And then need to re-read The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time after I finish reading The Black Swan. I am glad I buy books.

Note: The picture used here belongs to Claudia Meyer. To see more such pictures, please visit her gallery.

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