Everyone in the world should watch this:

It echoes the messages of The Black Swan a bit, but makes more of a point that you can find solutions without having to completely understand them with trial and error. (Which is how genetic algorithms work!) Really great stuff. Hope to read his book at some point!


2 Comments

LanthonyS · July 17, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Very true and incredibly useful.

Minor objections: Trial and error is only possible if you have the resources to keep trying. (The baby didn’t ultimately evolve through trial and error, but through trial and success!)

He isn’t helping when he mentions “schools teaching us that all questions have a correct answer”. His thesis includes there BEING a correct answer! Perhaps he means that all questions don’t have a correct METHOD.

S P Hannifin · July 17, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Yes, good point, the trial and error method is only useful for certain problems. Not only do you need the resources to keep trying, but you need the ability to try at all. If you want to write a Shakespearean play by having a computer generate random words, there are just too many possibilities; you don’t have the resource of time to keep trying. And if you want to create a human brain from scratch, you have no resources to even start in the first place. But I don’t think he meant to imply that trial and error is the blanket method to finding solutions to all problems; merely that it’s the only real method to use when finding complex solutions in non-understandable complex systems.

For schools teaching correct answers, I thought he simply meant schools tend to portray the world as being simple and understandable, when it’s not; answers aren’t always knowable because some systems are just way too complex.

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