Let’s start with the notion of fat tails. A fat tail is a situation in which a small number of observations create the largest effect. When you have a lot of data, and the event is explained by the smallest number of observations. In finance, almost everything is
Nassim just posted this one-page refutation to Stephen Pinker’s claim that violence has dropped since 1945. On his facebook page he says that “journalist-passing-for-scientist” Pinker cites “political science bloggers innocent of fat tails, who seem clueless about the difference between data and information. How to separate anecdote from evidence, sampling error from truth, journalism from science? Well there is something called a “test statistic.” This also illustrates how to do rigorous statistics in the absence of a textbook recipe for a fat-tailed process, by means of Monte Carlo analyses. I will be teaching
… in a fashion that seems equally indebted to Montaigne’s On Experience and Taleb’s The Black Swan, Catmull contemplates the challenges of managing in a world where, inevitably, there will be so much that’s hidden, and
In this video, Nassim provides a general presentation of his research, in which he debunks Pinker’s faulty statistics in his book on violence (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined).
The following article by Mark Buchanan was recently published on Medium. It discusses recent analysis by Nassim, along with Pasquale Cirillo, of historical warfare statistics. This analysis contradicts the popular idea that future violent wars are unlikely:
Violent warfare is on the wane, right?
Many optimists think so. But a close look at the statistics suggests that the idea just doesn’t add up.
A spate of recent and not so recent books have suggested that “everything is