‘Black Swan’ Author Attacks Credibility of Lex Friedman, Gets Slammed by Cardano Founder

On Monday (2 January 2023), Charles Hoskinson, Co-Founder and CEO at Input Output Global (“IOG), the blockchain technology firm responsible for the development of Cardano ($ADA), made it very clear clear what he thinks about Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the best-selling author of “Black Swan”.

Taleb is a Lebanese-American essayist, scholar, mathematical statistician, and former quantitative trader. He is widely recognized as one of the world’s top experts on probability and uncertainty.

Publishing company Penguin Random House describes Taleb’s landmark five-book series “Fooled by Randomness”, “The Black Swan”, “The Bed of Procrustes”, “Antifragile”, “Skin in the Game”, which has been translated to forty-one languages, “an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand.”

His publisher goes on to say that Taleb “spends most of his time as a flâneur, meditating in cafés across the planet,” even though since 2008 he has been serving as a Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering.

In his 2007 book “The Black Swan”, Taleb wrote that a “Black Swan” event is an event that has the following three attributes:

First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility.

Second, it carries an extreme ‘impact’.

Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.

I stop and summarize the triplet: rarity, extreme ‘impact’, and retrospective (though not prospective) predictability.

A small number of Black Swans explains almost everything in our world, from the success of ideas and religions, to the dynamics of historical events, to elements of our own personal lives.

On 20 December 2022, Taleb told his over 928K Twitter followers:

Not all dimwits do crypto, but all crypto people are dimwits, that is, dumb in a special way: there is a missing wire somewhere in (for some) an otherwise functioning brain. You can use crypto on an CV as a marker for future blowup… Yes I had hopes for crypto but it did not turn out to be what I expected and, as I got deeper into the blockchain, I saw it was a scam for miswired technoheads. I have never been blinded by hope.

On 31 December 2022, prominent MIT AI Researcher Lex Fridman, who is the host of the very popular “Lex Fridman Podcast“, tweeted a list of books he plans to read in 2023 (one per week):

The next day, Taleb decided to start the new year by attacking Friedman’s credibility.

Taleb told his over 938K Twitter followers that between 2019 and 2022, he had turned down “exactly 10 requests” to be on Friedman’s podcast because he essentially coniders Friedman to be a “shallow, vapid, overactive poseur inflating his ‘scientific’ image by pretending to be an MIT research scientist and pretending he reads and digests one book a wekk.

This unwarranted attack on Friedman angered Hoskinson, who told his over 974K Twitter followers:

If you don’t get why Nassim Taleb is an arrogant piece of human garbage, then this thread will bring you up to speed. Lex is one of the smartest, most intellectually curious, and humble people that I’ve ever met. Taleb wrote some books people pretend to have read at parties

For his part, Friedman sent out the following reply to Taleb:

I’m sorry you feel this way, and that you felt the need to tweet this. I love your work and will continue to celebrate it. Happy new year ❤️

Image Credit

Featured Image via Pixabay

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