Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Taleb on Antifragility | EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty

I like what Nassim Taleb usually writes. Here he is talking on Anti Fragility talking with Russ Roberts who produces an incredible podcast at EconTalk. I am a regular listener. Taleb on Antifragility | EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty.

The critical question he thinks about is how to design antifragile systems. Particularly relevant is the discussion on definition of Antifragility: (worth reproducing)

What is the opposite of fragile? And of course we think we know what that is. The opposite of fragile is robust, you say; it may be unbreakable. But you argue that's not right way to think about it. It doesn't capture the essence of fragility. So, why do we need another term? Because if you send a package by mail to your cousin in Australia and it has champagne glasses, you write "Fragile" on it. If it is something that is robust, you don't write something on the package. You don't say you don't care, you can do whatever you want. So the fragile, the upper bound comes back unharmed or [?] and of course the worst is completely destroyed. So, that's the fragile. The robust has an upper bound of unharmed and a lower bound of unharmed. The empty fragile would be a package on which you'd write: Please mishandle. Because a lower bound would be unharmed. And the upper bound would be improved--you'd get, instead of sending 6 champagne glasses, 8 would arrive. Exactly. Like in mythology. Or they'd be better glasses, stronger somehow. Like the Hydra--you cut one head, two heads grow back.
Must listen.