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tsuomela : uncertainty   9

Byers, W.: The Blind Spot: Science and the Crisis of Uncertainty.
"In today's unpredictable and chaotic world, we look to science to provide certainty and answers--and often blame it when things go wrong. The Blind Spot reveals why our faith in scientific certainty is a dangerous illusion, and how only by embracing science's inherent ambiguities and paradoxes can we truly appreciate its beauty and harness its potential."
book  publisher  sts  science  history  philosophy  uncertainty 
november 2012 by tsuomela
Can Hydras Eat Unknown-Unknowns for Lunch?
"The general idea behind the Hydra narrative in a broad sense (not just what Taleb has said/will say in October) is that hydras eat all unknown unknowns (not just Taleb’s famous black swans) for lunch. I have heard at least three different versions of this proposition in the last year. The narrative inspires social system designs that feed on uncertainty rather than being destroyed by it. Geoffrey West’s ideas about superlinearity are the empirical part of an attempt to construct an existence proof showing that such systems are actually possible." Annotated link
uncertainty  risk  trends  history  technology  innovation  narrative  terrorism 
april 2012 by tsuomela
Uncertainty and climate change — Crooked Timber
it’s a straightforward implication of standard economic analysis that the more uncertainty is the rate of climate change the stronger is the optimal policy response. That’s because, in the economic jargon, the damage function is convex. To explain this, think about the central IPCC projection of a 3.5 degrees increase in global mean temperature, which would imply significant but moderate economic damage (maybe a long-run loss of 5-10 per cent of GDP, depending on how you value ecosystem effects). In the most optimistic case, that might be totally wrong – there might be no warming and no damage. But precisely because this is a central projection it implies an equal probability that the warming will be 7 degrees, which would be utterly catastrophic. So, a calculation that takes account of uncertainty implies greater expected losses from inaction and therefore a stronger case for action.
climate  global-warming  economics  policy  environment  trade  politics  uncertainty  optimum  action 
september 2009 by tsuomela

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