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Luca Dellanna @DellAnnaLuca
, 15 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1/ Machines (fragile): use it and lose it.
Organisms (antifragile): use it or lose it.
- @nntaleb

But why do Antifragile things die if they don’t receive stressors over time?

2/ Fragility is used capacity for adaptation. Something made to be optimal given some assumptions about the environment.

Antifragility is available / unused capacity for adaptation. Something evolved to be good enough even with uncertainty about the environment.
3/ Antifragile organisms use stressors as a trigger to transform unused capacity for adaptation into used one. Stressors are triggers to adapt into a direction dictated by the stressor itself.
4/ Advantage of Antifragile organisms: can adapt to many environments.

Disadvantage: stressors (triggers for growth) are a necessary input, just as important as energy.
5/ An example: why aren’t we all 💪?

Because muscles require energy to be kept alive, and they are a disadvantage into a famine environment.

Lack of stressors likely signals a lack of opportunities to convert work into food (eg nonpray to hunt) and therefore signals a famine
6/ …and in a famine (eg long winter) losing muscle tissue is an advantage for it will require less energy to be burnt (and therefore more reserves available to survive the famine).
7/ Another critical process is natural selection. A species, which is an Antifragile organism by itself, survives by creating many slightly different children and letting natural selection, which acts through stressors, to select the fittest for the current environment.
8/ Our body probably works similarly: it produces different cells, and requires stressors to weed out the bad ones. Companies also work similarly: they hire many people or try many products, and then stressors to weed out the leas useful one’s.
9/ Every time that an Antifragile entity is artificially protected from stressors, it evolves into a Fragile entity.

(Because it is given the opportunity to adapt to a subset of the current environment, and therefore becomes move vulnerable to be destroyed by any changes of it).
(To clarify the last point: the environment reveals itself through stochastic processes. Removing stressors by artificially transforming the stochastic environment into a stable one causes an entity to adapt to the “fake” environment it is exposed to, rather than to the real one)
11/11 Therefore: antifragile entities *need* both stressors and energy to work; and without them, they die.
12/ A continuation of the last point: by trying to artificially protect antifragile entities from the variability of the environment causes them to evolve to thrive in an environment which becomes increasingly different from the real one…
13/ …and increasing amounts of work are needed to be able to ignore the gap between the real environment and the fake one the entity adapted to, until such work is impossible to deliver and the system breaks.
Examples: some companies which went bankrupt, some lay-offs, etc.

Move something made in a static environment to a dynamic one and it will die.

Move something made in a dynamic environment to a static one and it will die.

Most academic theories are an example of the former, people are an example of the latter.
15/ (This thread is not meant to be an exhaustive explanation of how Antifragile things live and die, but I hope I clarified two of the main processes behind it.)
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