Thursday, August 29, 2013

the beauty and challenge of trial and error

You may have come across this TED talk in your travels, but in case you haven't, here it is.

Tim Harford makes a very strong case for trial and error with a compelling story at the beginning. You may feel that the talk swerves a bit towards the end, when Harford branches off into the story of two Japanese mathematicians, but I would argue that the concept of "making mistakes in the right direction" is absolutely key to a scientific approach.

Obviously, Harford's indictment of the "god complex" is at the heart of the talk, and a salient point for all of us who've been encouraged to become (or try to seem to be) experts rather than people who discover. What would it be like to completely abandon our obsession with expertise in a subject, and become experts in "making mistakes in the right direction"?

I would be very interested in hearing your responses to this talk. Also, I'd like to thank everyone who visited yesterday. 

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