Resonant Thoughts: Nassim Taleb On Tinkering

“It is in complex systems, ones in which we have little visibility of the chains of cause-consequences, that tinkering, bricolage, or similar variations of trial and error have been shown to vastly outperform the teleological —it is nature’s modus operandi. (…)

Take the most opaque of all, cooking, which relies entirely on the heuristics of trial and error, as it has not been possible for us to design a dish directly from chemical equations or reverse-engineer a taste from nutritional labels. We take hummus, add an ingredient, say a spice, taste to see if there is an improvement from the complex interaction, and retain if we like the addition or discard the rest.”

– Nassim Taleb,
Understanding is a Poor Substitute for Convexity (Antifragility)

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