Three fundamental truths about uncertainty – Richard Hughes-Jones

I don’t know why my editorialising is so often triggered by ‘complexity pieces’. But I think it’s a good illustration of the problem of focusing on ‘ontological complexity’ (complexity ‘in the world’) that the two main examples here are Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle (wrong scale for most of reality), and Poincare’s three body problem, which was conceptually solved in 1912, and “It is now possible to get most results just by direct numerical computation using for example NDSolve.” (…).

Certain valuable approaches separate ontological and epistemological complexity (or let’s say, to be clearer, ‘inherent complexity in the world and the complexity of multiple perspectives and views’), but, for me, the real point is that ‘complexity’ is dependent on framing, context, perspective, knowledge, and purpose. And this applies across multiple actors.

(The second of the three points is that ‘the world is getting more uncertain’ – in the context of the above, that’s of course debatable, since we know more and can understand more – but anyway it’s just a bunch of assertions from big names).

Love Jennifer Garvey-Berger’s framing in the final bit, though.

(Also, I’m sure I’ve seen these three points in roughly this form before?)


Three fundamental truths about uncertainty

Three fundamental truths about uncertainty

We like to think that our lives are ordered, predictable and subject to a great deal of control. The past is finite; we see only one outcome. We attach causality and narrative to it so that it makes sense. We roll our ability to make sense of the past over into the future, which is infinite; there are many outcomes, as yet unknown and unknowable. Randomness, chance, and luck influence us far more than we realize. Uncertainty is everywhere.

This article explores three of its fundamental truths:

1. The world is inherently uncertain
2. The world is getting more uncertain
3. Humans are hardwired to hate uncertainty

continues in source:

Three fundamental truths about uncertainty