Author and philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb delivered a talk at Microsoft Research about how to gain from disorder and chaos, while being protected from fragilities and adverse events.
Taleb argues that many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What he calls the antifragile is actually beyond the robust, because it benefits from shocks, uncertainty, and stressors, just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension. The antifragile needs disorder in order to survive and flourish.
While COVID is not directly referenced, it’s clear that the current pandemic counts as an extreme event.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb spent 21 years as a risk taker before becoming a researcher in philosophical, mathematical and (mostly) practical problems with probability. Taleb is the author of a multivolume essay, the Incerto (The Black Swan, Fooled by Randomness, and Antifragile) covering broad facets of uncertainty. It has been translated into 36 languages. In addition to his trader life, Taleb has also published, as a backup of the Incerto, more than 45 scholarly papers in statistical physics, statistics, philosophy, ethics, economics, international affairs, and quantitative finance, all around the notion of risk and probability. He spent time as a professional researcher (Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at NYU ’s School of Engineering and Dean’s Professor at U. Mass Amherst). His current focus is on the properties of systems that can handle disorder (“antifragile”). Taleb refuses all honors and anything that “turns knowledge into a spectator sport”.