Anti-fragility – the ability to withstand shocks – benefits not only the economy but life itself, writes Antoine Danchin.
Biology and economics face similar challenges: both seek to explain survival and innovation in an unpredictable world. Nassim Taleb, famous for his prescient identification of rare ‘black swan’ events that are correlated with economic catastrophes, recently proposed the notion of ‘anti-fragility’ as a way to conceptualise the reproduction of markets and output in the face of such events.
In fact, anti-fragile structures and processes are all around us — suffusing life itself.
To define anti-fragility, Taleb asks what would be the true opposite of ‘fragile’. Starting with the Sword of Damocles, he chooses as its opposite, not the robustness of the Phoenix rising from the ashes, but the inventiveness of the Hydra, who sprouts two heads whenever one is cut off. Read the full article »»»»
Preface to a Forethought: 2007 John-Dylan Haynes discovers pre-forethought; Each and every minute of every day our brains are seemingly forced to plan thousands of mundane actions that allow our lives to seamlessly flow. How and where the brain stores these Intentions has been apparently been revealed by John-Dylan Haynes. For the first time researchers were able to read participants’ intentions from their brain activity. Concluding that the brain makes a decision approximately 1-7 seconds before consciousness is aware of the decision! This was made possible by a new combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging – MRI - and a set of sophisticated computer algorithms. Haynes and similar thinking scientists believe that what Philosophy calls Free Will, are in fact pre-mapped – Intentions - critical decisions made prior to all conscious and non conscious decisions. Free Will: Science has always had a problem with Free Will , it implies no cause and effect, science relies entirely on empirical data. Free Will, defies any quantification, it flies in the face of an organised, rational, systemic view on thought processing and creation. The work of Haynes and his colleagues went far beyond simply confirming previous theories of the lack of Free Will. The study revealed fundamental principles about the way the brain stores Intentions.
“The experiments show that intentions are not encoded in single neurons but in a whole spatial pattern of brain activity” says Haynes.
They furthermore reveal that different regions of the prefrontal cortex perform different operations. Regions towards the front of the brain store the intention until it is executed, whereas regions further back take over when subjects become active and start doing the calculation. Read the full article »»»»