black swans and punctuation
I was able to get my Future of Web Design Slides posted over at the Adaptive Path blog. You can download them if you’d like to see my ideas about how radical reinvention can be tackled from a user-centered design perspective. Additionally, there’ll be a podcast of the talk made available shortly from the kind folks at Carson Systems.
Having been rabbiting on non-stop about biological punctuation and unexpected divergences for the past few weeks, I shouldn’t be surprised that a few of my friends have sent along links to Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s latest book, “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable“. As a fan of Taleb’s “Fooled By Randomness,” I’m certainly interested in his perspective on the upredictable and its casualties. An excerpt from the introduction:
The central idea of this book concerns our blindness with respect to randomness, particularly the large deviations: Why do we, scientists or nonscientists, hotshots or regular Joes, tend to see the pennies instead of the dollars? Why do we keep focusing on the minutiae, not the possible significant large events, in spite of the obvious evidence of their huge influence? And, if you follow my argument, why does reading the newspaper actually decrease your knowledge of the world?
An intriguing idea, to say the least. But is Taleb actually encouraging us to make baseline assumptions that the improbable will occur in order to improve our predictive capabilities? I’m dubious, as is the New York Times in their review.
Have a read of the first chapter, and judge for yourself.