Random acts of Randomness Friday August 5, 2005, 3 comments

Can a human being ever be truly random? While we are all aware that computers can only ever make an attempt at simulating randomness in their relentlessly digital way, humans are the pinnacle of complex analogue machines, and should therefore be completely capable of authentically random action.

Food for thought, to be sure. I am going to follow a rather twisty thought process here for a moment, so bear with me. It might be messy. I am going to postulate that not only are humans incapable of random action, but that there is no such thing as random except as a logical concept (like zero).

It is possible (but difficult in many cases) to ascertain the probability of something happening as a ratio, and in fact some brilliant quantum mechanic has pretty much determined the probability of everything (I can’t back this up with an online link, but it was done to determine the maximum number of universes possible in the “Many universes” theory).

You could, in theory, figure out the likelihood of my continued rape of the comma, or my enslavement of parentheses. You probably have enough statistical data at this point.

If everything has a probability that is less than 1:infinity, then can anything be random? Unlikely, for sure, but not truly random, right? One can calculate the odds of someone killing someone else, or the odds of someone committing suicide, or the odds of someone falling in love with someone else, because it is less than infinite.

It got messy, as I said it might. I’m not sure what to make of randomness. I know the appearance of randomness can be achieved, but I lack the statistical mathematics to back up the idea that true randomness is unachievable.

But I managed to get you to read to the end of the post, just like I knew i would. ☿


Comments

chris Friday August 5, 2005


Skip to the end! Skip to the end!
~c

K Friday August 5, 2005


Skip to the end! Skip to the end!

posted by chris at Aug 5, 10:26am

lol



pfff random … yeah i like to be controlled ;)

Sweetie Friday August 5, 2005


mmmmm….probability. Have I mentioned that I’m a science geek, math included?

Things only appear random when the probability gets extremely small, making trends more and more difficult to detect unless a very large population is examined.

Anyway, good job, Adrian. Made sense to me:)

Commenting has ended for this post, but I'd still love to hear from you.

The website of Adrian Lebar

A Rain of Frogs is written, designed and built by Adrian Lebar, a twenty(!) year veteran of web design and development. He is currently managing web and mobile development teams at Canada’s largest and most beloved classifieds site, Kijiji!

He is a father, sailor, snowboarder, skier, cyclist, writer, artist, graphic designer, classically trained musician and afraid of heights.

Adrian is not currently available for freelance and contract work. Learn more.

If you are ten years out of high school and you say, "damn, those were the best years of my life," I don't want anything to do with you. You scare me.”
- Stephen King

Twitter

  • I remember designing and building the original Playdium website in 1996 (I have screen caps somewhere of the work w… t.co/N3csm6pAwe Wednesday October 14, 2020
  • Enough of this, 2020, already. Eddie Van Halen, rest easy, man. t.co/bA8h4OtgsN Tuesday October 6, 2020
  • It is amazing how quickly one adjusts to their glasses constantly steaming up, isn’t it? Monday October 5, 2020
  • Seriously, no amount of ‘weird tricks that Warren Buffet uses’ are going to improve anyone’s life. Friday September 25, 2020
  • Was just pondering about how both writing and programming can rewrite your brain, and came to the following, which… t.co/Nm2G3G0Mz0 Friday September 18, 2020
  • Sony was, like, one front dial away from converting me over to their Full Frame cameras. One dial. t.co/C8ZMVTqjJD Monday September 14, 2020
  • t.co/Jj5Je55OyC Tuesday August 25, 2020
  • @mrmatthogg You certainly want to work with him. Tuesday May 12, 2020
  • @mrmatthogg Lately you sound like me 3 years ago, failing agains the profligate use of users bandwidth and computin… t.co/DGOM7XfVjZ Monday May 11, 2020