Sunday, October 20, 2013

Our random behavior and the question of free will

To describe random phenomena, events or variables, we often use statistics and probability theories. This is because we are unable to expound these phenomena exactly. We can not predict how particular events will happen, but according to our knowledge we may know the probabilities. Let's look at some examples:

1. If we role a dice, we don't know which number will come up, but we know the probability for each number (1/6).
2. in physics, we describe many processes by their probability, such as the kinetic properties of gases or many quantum mechanical effect (see for example this article about statistical ensemble).
3. In our everyday life, we can guess on what times the traffic jam may be more probable, but we cannot say exactly which people will be on the street tomorrow at 14:00!

Also if we have brought some regulation in our societies by laws and other regulations, our behavior remains random. This becomes more obvious when we observe economics, that is very complex. But still there are some interesting models trying to foresee economical variables. Here my favorite example is the Brownian motion's role in economics:

Actually, the Brownian motion describes the random moving of particles floating in a fluid or a Gas. In the middle of the 20th century, it came out, that prices in the market vary in a similar fashion to molecules in Brownian motion (read more here)! what the hank? Brownian motion and random walk can help us (human being) to understand how market and economics (resulted by human being) function! This is not logical at all.

In our times, interesting results of experiments in the field of neuroscience are questioning the free will (+). A question that would arise in this context would be if our behavior is random itself, or if our free will makes our behavior looks random.