Nassim Nicholas Taleb
has posted an interview that the New Scientist
did with him in July: Life is unpredictable - get used to it
(Michael Bond, July 1, 2006). In the article, Taleb discussed what he calls "type two" randomness -- which he has also referred to, in the past, as "wild randomness" -- or "black swans." "Type two" randomness (or "wild randomness" or "black swans") are those unpredictable and extreme events that have 'catastrophic' -- either for good or for ill -- impacts on society and nature. Unlike "type one" randomness -- that which we encounter in such textbook favorites like the bell curve (or the so-called 'normal' distribution) or flipping of coins -- "black swans" are not well-behaved enough for us to 'manage' in the conventional ways with which we try to analyze and manage uncertainty.
Nassim Taleb will outline his views in greater detail in his forthcoming book, The Black Swan
. If it is anything remotely as mind-blowing as his previous book, Fooled by Randomness
, I'm definitely looking forward to reading it.