On randomness


I don’t know what Soros or Taleb had to say about equilibrium of financial systems in the 21st Century. Suggestions in this blog and elsewhere indicate, they are intuitive Utopians.

In that context, I am now fascinated by another Utopian whose idea of it was more Dystopian if social equilibrium were understood in the modern context. Francis Galton as most students of basic courses in Probability, Statistics & Random Variables know, was the first person to have come up with correlation[1], standard deviation and the concept of regression to the mean. He also made serious contributions to Eugenics, Forensic Study and is generally credited with bringing a scientific outlook to social sciences. Being rich, jobless and possibly gay must have helped. Galton though makes one long for being been born in an era when specialization did not make any and every field in which one is not an expert in, inaccessible[2].

The world would have been much more interesting had the Nazis won and their Eugenics taken forward. Maybe that would have meant, this post would not have been written[3]. Anyway, the point about randomness, especially that Leonard Mlodinow puts forward is, his premise is its own dismissal. That barely worked for this blog three years ago and thus refuses to for a book today. Otherwise, The Drunkard’s Walk is still worth a read for its sometimes funny and sometimes interesting portrayal of the history of chance. The let down in terms of promising mathematics and not delivering it must be a genre thing.

[1] — Aristotle did not.

[2] – For example, here is a status report for one.

[3] — Hence the proof.

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