Keith Miller and The Black Swan
I really enjoyed Professor Keith Miller's sabbatical presentation last week. He's an expert on computer ethics and a professor in our Computer Science department. What I especially appreciated was his commentary about problems with perceiving "the bell curve" as an explanation of what really matters. He said language is important and so is "presentation" -- because words and the presentation of ideas strongly affect how we perceive and make judgments about things. And he recommended a best-selling book -- The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. A "black swan" has become a metaphor for all things that don't happen often, yet have a high impact. These events and ideas are at the extreme ends of the bell curve and yet are highly important. I have ordered The Black Swan and look forward to having my own thought processes stretched by Keith's sabbatical and the black swan concept. Isn't that what a university should be doing?