Error

Perspecta 46:  Error has been published and includes my essay “Hedging Your Bets:  Actuarial Science, Architecture, and Urban Development,” which elaborates on some ideas laid out in Insuring the City.  Here is the first paragraph:

As individuals, we strive to learn from our own mistakes.  Intellectual communities benefit from a collection of errors; the paradigm shifts when it can bear the weight of them no longer.[i]  The study of failed strategies may guide agents of statecraft, warcraft, industry, and commerce.  Among business enterprises, one industry in particular has made the study of error into the source of its profits.  Life insurance companies have developed a systematic approach to minimizing error—actuarial science—that leverages human mortality for financial gain.  If the actuarial data holds true, the provision of financial security can support a profit-making enterprise.


[i] See Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago:  The University of Chicago Press, 1962).

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