The Nassim Taleb thread

Paracelsus

Crow
Gold Member
Shinebox said:
Para,

Is this your argument?

Astrophysicists make twice garbage collectors, but since it's under 100,000 it doesn't really matter. Therefore, IQ is useless?

Your metric was to generally equate $ with success. By that measure, then, given neither the garbage collector or the astrophysicist can comfortably crack 100,000 in income per year, IQ meant precisely dick. Or are you saying success is achievable below earning 100,000 in any mainstream Western country?

Shinebox said:
Garbage collectors could be replaced with robots... Next week. Double salary is double. Cut your salary in half tomorrow. No big difference in the inflation wracked west?

Show me a Western country where they've managed to do so in a major metropolitan area at more than a test scale and you might have an argument. As it is, fully self-driving cars or trucks used en masse in the real world are about as close as fusion reactors and always will be. Too much opacity, I'm afraid.


Shinebox said:
IQ will only become more and more important as robots and automation progresses. Taleb's argument held water when everyone was a farmer and even then a little smarts probably did not hurt.

Quite the contrary: if robots, automation and AI supposedly become more prevalent and progress, IQ will become less relevant as time goes on, because human beings will wind up being locked further and further out of the process; machines will do the thinking for themselves. If AI reaches the levels of intelligence a lot of futurists wank themselves to sleep to, human IQ would be utterly irrelevant in the process, because Skynet would be able to brute-force outcalculate any human, no matter how high his IQ.

You can see a highly stylised version of this in the fact computers can now regularly defeat Grand Masters in chess. If the Grand Master's IQ is irrelevant in whether or not he can beat Deep ThoughtBlueSixFuckStack, then so is the local retard's as well. Whether it's because the computer is basically brute-force cracking the result or apeing some elements of human reasoning, IQ again is shortly going to mean precisely nothing in this context.

Of course, the real IQ is in the creativity necessary to manipulate, use, and harness "educated", "intellectual" men for your own purposes. As men like Henry Ford knew full well.

redpillage said:
My question to him would be this: If 99% of your followers are unable to solve your math puzzles, then what does that say about intelligence? And if nothing else, HOW ELSE are you going to quantify mental performance?

(1) My reply would be that it says pretty much nothing about intelligence, because there isn't a full correlation between being able to do differential calculus and a high IQ. You haven't overcome the opacity problem; the proposition is on par with the average social science paper.

(2) My answer to the second question is: if the best measure you can come up with for the danger an avalanche presents to a nearby town is a result on par with "Rocks are currently moving", then it's time to perhaps rethink why you're even testing at all. Perhaps it's time to think about doing the Thalesian thing and moving the fucking town.
 

RatInTheWoods

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Heh I love this review of Taleb


ANTIFRAGILE: THINGS THAT GAIN FROM DISORDER
BY NASSIM TALEB
antifragile

What It’s About: Before I explain a few of the brilliant ideas in this book, I need to get something off my chest: Taleb sounds like a pompous dick. If he’s trolling the world with his writing style, he’s doing a good job, because some passages are almost impossible to get through without either rolling your eyes at him or shoving the book through a paper shredder. If he really is this arrogant, well, then let’s just say he won’t be invited to any of my playdates anytime soon.

Taleb has a handful of amazing ideas. I’m talking potentially life-changing, world-affecting ideas. These ideas can be explained well in about 50 pages. The other 450 pages are mostly him trying to prove how cool and cultured he is while explaining how much smarter he is than the following groups of people: academics, politicians, Nobel Prize winners, Wall Street analysts, economists, journalists, statisticians, historians, soccer moms, teachers, anybody who uses the bell curve, anybody in the social sciences, and anyone who disagrees with him.

So what are his handful of earth-shattering ideas in Antifragile? Well, here’s the starting point:

Often the most influential events in history are, by definition, the least anticipated. These are called “Black Swan” events.5
As humans, we are inherently biased against noticing both the number of random events in our lives and the impact these random events have on us.
That due to the exponential scaling of technology, Black Swan events are becoming more common and influential than ever before.
Therefore, we should build up systems (and ourselves) to be “antifragile,” that is, to construct our lives and our societies in such a way as to benefit from major unanticipated events.
If that tweaks your nipples and you don’t mind putting up with pages upon pages of pretentious meandering, then go nuts, Taleb is for you.

Notable Quotes:

“Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

“The irony of the process of thought control: the more energy you put into trying to control your ideas and what you think about, the more your ideas end up controlling you.”

“Difficulty is what wakes up the genius.”

Bonus Points For: Being a totally insufferable asshole. And wrong about tons of his analogies and examples. But still brilliant somehow, despite himself.

If This Book Could Be Summarized in An Image, That Image Would Be: Some fat, rich bald guy boring you to death over cappuccinos with inane stories about living in France and smoking skinny cigarettes with Umberto Eco while you stab yourself in the face with a sugar spoon repeatedly trying to make it all stop.

Read This Book If…
…you like feeling like you’re smarter than everybody even though you’re not.
…you want to have your conception of “success” and “progress” completely flipped on its head.
…you want to read a book that while consisting of maybe 60% bullshit, will have you still thinking about the ideas years later.
 

Thomas Jackson

Woodpecker
Stonk said:
The IQ debate is one fraught with so many falsities and misleading definitions that is hard to sift through the noise to get to the meat of the matter.

One of the longest enduring fallacies on this forum is the idea that IQ determines economic prosperity directly. Wrong!

Economic prosperity directly affects average IQ. Comparing the IQ average of Chinese during the communist days as against the current IQ average among Chinese people, you would find a dramatic leap from IQ averages in the vicinity of 70, 80 to averages of 120 and above.

Point? Better economic conditions enable people to get affordable education. intelligence is not a crystallized fixed value that remains unchangeable. It is fluid and changes with respect to economic conditions.

Besides, trying to base a concept as far-reaching and complex as intelligence on a century-old arbitrary metric is nothing shy of silly.


This is flat out wrong. Intelligence is stable after adolescence. Education does not change IQ. Famine/starvation of course impact development but that simply keeps a population from reaching it's full potential.

You are repeating blank slatist left wing talking points. IQ is not perfect but it is the best metric we have to measure this.
 

edlefou

Woodpecker
This is a great review. Amusing and accurate.

The part I didn't like was where the reviewer wrote that Taleb is wrong about tons of his analogies and examples, but didn't elaborate on at least a couple of the major ones.

RatInTheWoods said:
Heh I love this review of Taleb


ANTIFRAGILE: THINGS THAT GAIN FROM DISORDER
BY NASSIM TALEB
antifragile

What It’s About: Before I explain a few of the brilliant ideas in this book, I need to get something off my chest: Taleb sounds like a pompous dick. If he’s trolling the world with his writing style, he’s doing a good job, because some passages are almost impossible to get through without either rolling your eyes at him or shoving the book through a paper shredder. If he really is this arrogant, well, then let’s just say he won’t be invited to any of my playdates anytime soon.

Taleb has a handful of amazing ideas. I’m talking potentially life-changing, world-affecting ideas. These ideas can be explained well in about 50 pages. The other 450 pages are mostly him trying to prove how cool and cultured he is while explaining how much smarter he is than the following groups of people: academics, politicians, Nobel Prize winners, Wall Street analysts, economists, journalists, statisticians, historians, soccer moms, teachers, anybody who uses the bell curve, anybody in the social sciences, and anyone who disagrees with him.

So what are his handful of earth-shattering ideas in Antifragile? Well, here’s the starting point:

Often the most influential events in history are, by definition, the least anticipated. These are called “Black Swan” events.5
As humans, we are inherently biased against noticing both the number of random events in our lives and the impact these random events have on us.
That due to the exponential scaling of technology, Black Swan events are becoming more common and influential than ever before.
Therefore, we should build up systems (and ourselves) to be “antifragile,” that is, to construct our lives and our societies in such a way as to benefit from major unanticipated events.
If that tweaks your nipples and you don’t mind putting up with pages upon pages of pretentious meandering, then go nuts, Taleb is for you.

Notable Quotes:

“Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

“The irony of the process of thought control: the more energy you put into trying to control your ideas and what you think about, the more your ideas end up controlling you.”

“Difficulty is what wakes up the genius.”

Bonus Points For: Being a totally insufferable asshole. And wrong about tons of his analogies and examples. But still brilliant somehow, despite himself.

If This Book Could Be Summarized in An Image, That Image Would Be: Some fat, rich bald guy boring you to death over cappuccinos with inane stories about living in France and smoking skinny cigarettes with Umberto Eco while you stab yourself in the face with a sugar spoon repeatedly trying to make it all stop.

Read This Book If…
…you like feeling like you’re smarter than everybody even though you’re not.
…you want to have your conception of “success” and “progress” completely flipped on its head.
…you want to read a book that while consisting of maybe 60% bullshit, will have you still thinking about the ideas years later.
 

Wutang

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Taleb fighting on two fronts - going against the IQ guys like he was doing recently AND socialists. This guy really tries to incorporate anti-fragility in his real life - always seeking conflict and bumps from all comers and powering up from it

 

Scott Adams blocked Taleb. I mentioned this in the JBP thread, but I'm fully expecting Taleb to go into melt-down mode in the next few years and alienate 99.999% of people.

At some point, it'll be just him and his sycophants.
 
Meh. Taleb's advantage over other people is that he's really fucking smart and his ideas are really good.

Lots of people made serious money in crypto using Taleb-style strategies.
Fragility, resilience, and anti-fragility are great concepts.

He would probably block me in an instant if I ever tweeted at him, but I'll keep reading him regardless because his ideas put money in my pocket. I don't really care what an asshole he is.
 

Fortis

Crow
Gold Member
That's my view as well. I don't like listening to him speak. He seems to have the annoying genius trait of being in love with his own intelligence, but I do like that he made anti-fragility a mainstream concept. I can forgive some narcissism in someone who is saying something I need to hear.

I haven't had time to fully grind through a book of his, but I've had a lot of fun taking notes from his articles

Samb,

Would you mind fleshing out how you used his tactics to make money? Any best practices you adhere to?

I'm not looking for a play-by-play but that sounds interesting.
 
Fortis said:
Samb,

Would you mind fleshing out how you used his tactics to make money? Any best practices you adhere to?

Well, that's a huge topic, and part of it gets into more identifying information than I'm comfortable with, so how about I just give you something that was pretty useful to me during the crypto bullrun: The "Green Lumber Fallacy".

It comes from an earlier book but Taleb was the first person to really talk about it. Here's how it was described in the earlier book.

main-qimg-cc15eb2386a0a0ba7c0f3fb455f2bbee.webp



The green lumber fallacy is the idea that knowing ABOUT a thing is the same as knowing HOW TO MAKE MONEY off of a thing.

I had a similar joke I told back in the bullrun. "How do you tell if a trader loses money?" "Ask him if he's read the Bitcoin whitepaper."

This was a trap that a lot of traders fell into. They thought that knowing about a coin was the same as knowing whether its value would go up or down. So you had people who could quote the bitcoin whitepaper (The technical document that described how bitcoin worked) chapter and verse. They knew how fees were calculated. They knew the history of Bitcoin, and had all kinds of ideas about who Satoshi might be. They knew what hashing algorithm BTC used for its private/public key pairings. Etc. etc. And they spent ENORMOUS effort learning all this.


None of that shit makes you any money.

When I started, I was one of these people. I would spend hours reading altcoin whitepapers. I watched hours of indepth interviews with shitcoin developers, trying to get a good sense of the company's internal workings, whether their partnerships they claimed were legitimate, what the eventual demand would be for the product and what competitors they might face, etc.

I lost a ton of money. During the period from like June to August of 2017, I followed that strategy and did embarrassingly poorly.

Then, I switched strategies, and realized that the question to ask isn't "What is this thing?" but "Will other people want to pay me for this thing?" In other words, I stopped caring whether the green lumber was actually painted green.

I started studying the flow of money between different crypto exchanges. Figuring out what made certain coins appealing to buyers. I learned to just completely ignore a whitepaper and reduce a coin down to a single sentence like "Exchange token with ties to China" or "Does something involving DNA" and instead memorize things like its marketcap and what exchanges it was listed on. Those were the metrics that determined how much money you could make, and making money was what I wanted to do. At my height I could analyze something like 30-40 coins in a day.

And THAT was when I started making money.


EDIT: Just to make clear what I'm talking about, this is Sam when he's very concerned about whether or not the lumber is painted green. This Sam is not making any money.
Why I'm down on Iota:

Crazy-high valuation (1 billion +) means that huge amounts of money would have to come in for you to see a 2x or 3x. If the TA supports it you can, of course, still buy, but there's no obvious reason to buy and HODL it over any number of better coins.
From an FA perspective, feeless transactions mean there's no incentive to run nodes: From what I've read there's no good reason to run a an iota node, beyond "You'll get faster transactions" "Maybe you can sell the node data to somebody" "You'll feel like a good person!". Cryptocurrency nodes are computationally and network resource intensive, and will only grow so in the future. http://www.tangleblog.com/2017/06/27/inc...node-iota/ If you want to see the kind of thing I'm talking about.
Doubt in the team: Per above.
Doubt in the underlying technology: Spend some time reading AMAs with the team on reddit and you'll see that people have any number of good, fundamental questions about the technology that the team is avoiding answering.

And this is Sam when he's stopped giving a shit what color the lumber is. This Sam is making money.

People want IOTA? Let 'em by IOTA. Buy it before they do and then sell it to them for more than you paid for it.
It's centralized? Who cares? They want it anyway.
It has severe security flaws? Who cares? I won't be holding it long enough for that to matter, and if I do, my position sizing rules will protect me.
IOTA's written by idiots and liars? Who cares? You're not investing in a company that'll be around in 5 years, with your investment dependent on them being upright people who make good decisions. You're buying a silly, imaginary coin and then selling it a little later.
 

Eusebius

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Wutang said:

I'm still smarting from being banned from a mainstream internet forum almost two years ago when they were circle jerking about the Russia probe. I made my counterpoints as politely and mildly as I could, and then the discussion reached a point of "OK both sides will check in after the Mueller probe finishes". I signed off with a slightly dismissive "OK guys keep on drinking the NYT Kool-Ade until then, see ya". Banhammer...so the circle jerk continued, and they are on suicide watch at that forum today.
 

Beirut

Pelican
Anyone refuted Taleb's article about IQ and the statistics he presented?

If in fact its true that low IQ is a reliable indicator of failure but high IQ not a reliable indicator of success then thats a pretty important distinction to make.

My own personal experience agrees more with Taleb's view so interested to see if facts back it up.

As for his abrasive style, he's Lebanese. Thats how we argue.
 

Fortis

Crow
Gold Member
Beirut said:
Anyone refuted Taleb's article about IQ and the statistics he presented?

If in fact its true that low IQ is a reliable indicator of failure but high IQ not a reliable indicator of success then thats a pretty important distinction to make.

My own personal experience agrees more with Taleb's view so interested to see if facts back it up.

This sorta thing doesn't really surprise me. In my own life, I've noticed that the legit smartest guys I know are all middling now. They tend to see the dark side of a proposition and will often not even try.


The guys who got farthest are the dudes who just bit down on the guard and swung for the fences for as long as it took.

Of course, if you want to be a billionaire tech-elite you'd need the requisite high IQ, but I do think that a lot of the alt-right masturbates a bit too much to IQ as an indicator of success.

For every super smart Jordan Peterson slaving away hoping to crack into the big leagues through glib and gile, there's a legion of faceless guys quietly amassing small fortunes off of unassuming shit: plumbing, roofing, laundromat, and other cash-in-hand businesses.

There are way too mediocrities, like Joe Rogan, pulling down nice millions a year for me to think that being high IQ matters that much.
 

Beirut

Pelican
^ i agree because i am one of them.

I scored relatively high on an IQ test in my youth but more importantly, i used to ace every standardized test i ever took.

I had a 99 percentile score on the MCAT and didnt open a book for it (had decided not to pursue med at that point)
I scored 780 GMAT while having no idea what the test is about.
I have an engineering degree while barely attending a class.
I had As in business electives while never attending a class just reverse engineering multiple choice questions.

I can basically pass any test or class without internalizing any long term knowledge from it.

But, once i entered the real world of business i was like a deer staring in headlights. Procrastinating, being generally uncreative, lacking initiative, hate small talk so very bad at networking, overthinking everything a million times over etc...

If it wasnt for poker and some lucky investments in my youth id be in a very shitty place mentally and in life right now. Im successful relatively but i often feel i massively underachieved (i also feel the school success can put a lot of heavy expectation on someone internally)

I have been forcing myself to change and undertake some projects now and a lot of it is actually things i considered "dumbing myself down". Making small talk, socializing with people i have nothing in common with, pursuing ideas that i think are silly, forcing my brain to shut down when it overanalyzes, etc...
 

Akwesi

Kingfisher
An IQ of 120-125 is probably the sweet spot. You are smart enough to learn from the really high IQ people while at the same time able to communicate meaningfully with the average man. From what I've seen that creates a lot of opportunities for leadership and success. If you have a very high IQ you are just not around enough people like yourself growing up, and your chance of being a little weird as an adult is correspondingly high. High IQ is a mixed blessing.
 

Sherman

Ostrich
I agree with Taleb about IQ tests. I think they are way to simplistic. They capture some of the ability of the mind to make various mechanical inferences and associations that were useful at the turn of the Industrial Revolution. That's about it.

In my career, I got an opportunity to interact with and observe some very accomplished people, including inventors, engineers, and scientists. For example, in one of my jobs, my boss was a close friend of Richard Feynman, and my office mate was a former professor of mathematics at Caltech. I noticed that really smart people have two characteristics. The first is an intense curiosity about how things work. The second is an extreme open mindedness. When you present them with a new idea, they will never put you down, but will say "Ok lets assume that and see where it leads". They have the ability to create something new, i.e. create order out of chaos. They can work with uncertainty and create an ordered way of looking at it. They can apply old skills to new problems. They experiment and try things out. None of that shows up in a paper and pencil IQ test.

Another thing that comes to mind is Jazz musicians. As you may know, music is closely connected to math. Some of the patterns that Jazz musicians can create and perform are extremely mathematical and complex. Thus, I am very skeptical that a black musician has a lower IQ than Europeans because he can't express his ideas on pencil and paper, even though he operates at genius level on a musical instrument. What if the musician gave the psychologist an intelligence test on a clarinet? Why does the paper and pencil have a preferred status over a musical instrument or some other mode of expression? Does this artificiality really accurately measure all forms of success in the real world?

These IQ tests have some validity in predicting whether a person can learn skills that have already been well defined. So, it means one will be successful in a well-ordered pre-robotics economy.
 
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