“Creativity is the ability to introduce order into the randomness of nature.” – Eric Hoffer
This past weekend I was watching Admiral Bahroo play Borderlands 2 on Twitch going for the 1Life-challenge. He was explaining the intricacies of beating the last boss when someone on the chat asked him about why he hadn’t just picked up an certain item.
He said, with a healthy dose of irony, something like: “Yeah, just let me get that real fast!”. What he was referring to the unlikeliness of the loot actually dropping and how long it would take him to get it.
Thanks to the random number generation (RNG) the odds are maybe 1/1000. This means that it could be the first thing to drop or he could spend the better part of the month trying to get it.
Later I happened upon an interview from the mid 90’s where an economist was talking about economical cycles, Fibonacci and what the future might hold. He was talking about how little we’ve learned from the past when it comes to just how unforseeable the future really is.
I remembered a book called “The Black Swan” from 2007 by Nassim Nicholas Taleb where he talks about the same things. Recommended reading!
When asked about what he thought would be the revolution by the year 2000 he said that he doesn’t like to make those kinds of bets. However, he thought that digital media would provide us with fantastic opportunities to educate more people and that the U.S should focus on fiber optics so that as many people could join the online community since DSL had its limitations.
Now, what the hell do those two have in common? I’ll tell ya!
A lot of people in the late 90’s entered the online community and several even started their own companies. Business was booming! Everyone wanted to invest and get on the money train. For most people it… Yeah… Didn’t turn out so great.
Some made it through the DotCom-bubble while others had to get “real” jobs. Those were the right people in the right place but at the wrong time. The weird thing was it didn’t take a long time to recover. About 5 years later there was a healthy balance between optimism and skepticism. All of a sudden it was the right time!
What I’m getting at here is that we can arm ourselves with knowledge and experience yet there are a lot of factors beyond our control. We need to accept that. Now, some people might want to go for the gold while others like to see if the proverbial canary survives.
The following is going to happen whether we want it or not. Some people will get the loot while others hammer on in frustration wondering when it’ll drop.
Usually this is due to the “Monte Carlo fallacy”. Just because a coin has flipped on the heads side 20 times in a row it doesn’t mean that it’s more likely to land on tails the next time. The odds are still 1/2!
The law of large numbers also comes into play here. As individuals we might be powerless against this, but the more people come together, collaborate and share the closer we’ll all get to our goal. It might seem like a socialistic solution but I think that whether it’s video games, business or art, this is a lesson we all can apply.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African proverb
Richard Buckland – UNSW – Random Numbers
Should LeBron Take the Shot? The Monte Carlo Simulation!
Law of Large Numbers