Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Christmas dinner

“The same past data can confirm a theory and also its exact opposite[.] If you survive until tomorrow, it could mean that either a) you are more likely to be immortal or b) you are closer to death.”

source: The Black Swan: the impact of the highly improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Taleb notes the quite-reasonable assumptions of a turkey being fattened for Christmas dinner. Every day presents another tasty handout. Things are going great. Turkey’s got shelter from predators, plenty of food, company of other turkeys - what a deal! The optimist would say tomorrow will be just like today, just as yesterday was and the day before that. Let’s say the pessimistic turkey has a rather darker view of tomorrow. What should his strategy be? Escape to hunger and the chase?

Be that as it may, who knows whose future includes Christmas dinner?

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