TED Conversations

Mitch Skiles

Owner/Contributor, LuxPerci.com

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Can we look at the past when looking for future solutions to modern problems?

I read a book called "The Black Swan" by Nassim Taleb which proposes the idea that the world is incredibly unpredictable. These "Black Swan" events control integral moments in the history of our species; whether that be a stock market crash or 9/11. In hindsight we may see a trend, but at any given moment the future of a new black swan event is impossible to predict. I am wondering that if this is the case, can we still look into the past to find solutions to problems. I did an analysis of Israel while looking for a solution to the Arab-Israeli Conflict and found an interesting economic trend when compared to cooperation. (If you would like to read my study visit http://luxperci.com/solution-arab-israeli-conflict/ ) Is this a fair assumption?

+3
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Aug 21 2012: Mitch, Yes, with caution. Often we see only cause and effect. There are so many factors that go into success and failure that are often overlooked. Social, environmental, and economic conditions at the time of the event, global events that impacted the success / failure, models in place, political influence, etc ...

    The second major point I would like to present: History is written by the victor and from the political standpoint that was prevelent at the time.

    Caution should be taken as much of History is being revisited and some re-written that disregard documents that are available written at the time of the event. History revisionists present a danger to basing any model on revised history.

    We often use apples to oranges when a apples to apples requirement exists.

    What is in place today that was not available to the historical event. What is the impact. What are the advantages / dis-advantages. Probabilities of success.

    Yep, I include the past in planning for the future but I try to be sure I am using apples to apples and the whole picture of the past model and the current projected model when measuring the probalities of success.

    P.S. I like LuxPerci and the arguments presented there.

    All the best. Bob.
    • thumb
      Aug 21 2012: I like your perspective. Don't you think that sometimes people wrongly compare apples to apples as well though. I understand what you are referring to above and I totally agree, but there are some instances where the actual connection is made between two seemingly unrelated things. If your are familiar with freakanomics than I assume you are also familiar with their linking of legalized abortion to crime prevention. They seem unrelated, apples to oranges, but it turns out that perhaps there is a connection between the two. If abortion is legal, parents who wouldnt be able to spend time caring and supporting their children in rough neighborhoods wouldnt create the kids that would grow up with nowhere else to go but the streets.


      Also thanks for the compliment on my site! I presented more of my views on this topic in another article if you or anyone else is interested: http://luxperci.com/certainly-uncertain/
      • thumb
        Aug 21 2012: Absolutely. You may get a red delicious when a granny smith is desired. Freakanomics tells us to not be hasty in disregarding input. I try to recall there is a sublime and a rediculious in all things.

        There is always someone who wants to shove 10 pounds of stuff into the five pound bag.

        When I was in charge I had a simple trick that served me well. I compose a letter / answer etc .... and put in in my left hand drawer. I pulled it out again the next day and if it still met the needs, made sense, etc ... I posted it. I did this because many time new info, poor wording, bad composure, or events that overcome the issue became evident and I wished I had waited. This practice resolved that problem. I was no wiser but looked dumb less often. They were still my errors if they happened but I owned them and made every effort to make a informed decision based on information at hand.

        All the best. Bob.
        • thumb
          Aug 21 2012: "You may get a red delicious when a granny smith is desired." - I really like this and will probably quote you on it! Thanks, great input
    • thumb
      Aug 21 2012: I AM in heaven, TWO men who read and liked that part of Freakencomics! OMG!
      • thumb
        Aug 21 2012: Heaven is where angels belong ..... Bob
      • thumb
        Aug 22 2012: It was fascinating, especially with most of my family in law enforcement!
        • thumb
          Aug 22 2012: YIKES! I Was married to a cop for 28 years!

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.