The future has never happened before.

I continue to struggle to convince people that probability doesnt tell us much. It’s not based in data, just guesswork. The future has never happened before. Nothing can tell us what is going to happen next.

“See I told you” is hindsight. “Gosh I didnt see that coming” is rationalisation. For future induction to be useful, unlikely events should never happen.

I’m not talking about repeating events like the sun coming up. I’m talking about singular, the one next future.

Using opinion to guess future likelihood introduces biases that blind us to other possibles. All scenarios are equally possible. They either happen or they don’t.

I maintain that “is more probable” has no real meaning for a single future (as compared to a transaction that happens over and over). It’s a social construct, not a real piece of data. It’s intellectual dance (I had a ruder metaphor).

Assigning future probabilities is just theatre to limit the number of future possibles we think about, making the future simpler and less overwhelming. The whole idea of categorising things as possible/plausible/probably is just a funny little dance we do. It has no basis in reality, as we have no data on what will happen.

You may say we know something about dice throws. That’s true of theoretical dice, which are a simple system. It’s not true of reality. In reality the dice can roll off the table, crack, or be destroyed by an asteroid. We don’t know.

Nor can we say anything about the NEXT roll of the dice. At all. The future only happens once.

Why is this useful? If we stop acting as if we know the future, we act in many small experiments, expecting failure to be equally possible. We ensure we are resilient to that failure and agile to adjust the next iteration. Knight Capital after as if their deploy would work. It didn’t. They were unprepared. They’re gone.