26 Feb '13, 6pm

Antifragile Systems

In titling his new book , Nassim Nicholas Taleb has coined a new word: “antifragile.” I was not surprised that such a word did not previously exist, because, like most people, I had thought that the opposite of “fragile” was “robust.” But Taleb argues that something that is robust merely tolerates adverse or unexpected conditions, whereas something that is antifragile thrives—its performance actually improves. He uses the example of a mailed package labeled “Fragile, do not shake.” The opposite would say, “Antifragile, please shake.” Taleb’s book mostly considers the notions of fragility and antifragility in biological, medical, economic, and political systems. Do we have any electronic systems that are antifragile? Certainly, we engineers have done a superb job in designing robust systems that despite their burgeoning complexity have much longer life spans. The Internet i...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/telecom/wireless/antifragile-sys...

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