Thursday, 15 June 2017

Interesting questions about resilience and antifragility

A colleague and member of the Computational Antifragility linked-in group, Dr. Hans Konstapel, asked today:

"The resilient resists shocks and stays the same, while the antifragile entity gets better". What is the relationship between a Shock and the "Antifragile" or the "Resilient" and what is the difference between the "Antifragile" and the "Resilient". If both are "identities" perhaps a "shock" is also an identity. If so is a "shock" resilient or even anti-fragile?

 This is my reply to Dr. Konstapel's interesting questions.

My understanding is as follows:
the difference in the resilient and the antifragile is not in their reaction to a Change or a Shock. In fact, under certain circumstances, the reaction of a resilient system might be such that the system masks/tolerates the new conditions. The same conditions might lead the antifragile to a failure. The added value of the antifragile system is the "genetic feedback" that those conditions produce. The resilient system is an "entelechy", namely does its best to "stay the same", and in doing so it repeats the same strategy on and on. The identity of the system is immutable. Not so the antifragile system: the identity of such system is dynamic -- which of course might also introduce concern (see for instance Stephen Hawking's plea against unbound AI).
More information e.g. and

Re: your interesting question: in my opinion the Shock is an action of the system we are in contact with -- the "environment"-system. Said system may indeed be resilient; antifragile; elastic; or plain "stupid" (meaning, able to only exercise non-purposeful behaviors). In fact in my opinion Game Theory is the perfect modeling tool to reason about the outcome of the interaction between the system and its environment.
(As a side note, it is significant that all the above ideas can be found already in Leibniz and His concept of compossible and non-compossible substances...)
More information here:

Picture from