Randomness vs Chaos

Sometimes things we think are random aren’t random in the slightest.

The toss of a coin, for example, is entirely deterministic if you have enough information about the toss.

As you learn more about the height of the coin from the ground, the force and angle at which it will be struck and the resistance it will meet in the air, you’re able to determine with a higher degree of certainty what the outcome will be.

Learn enough about the toss, and all ‘randomness’ disappears.

But how can we possibly do this in the seconds before someone tosses the coin?

Well, you probably can’t. Which is why it’s used as a tool for making binary decisions all across the world.

What’s important to note is that the toss itself isn’t where the randomness comes from.

The randomness is born solely from our perception (or perhaps, lack thereof) of the toss. The randomness relies entirely on our ignorance to the variables involved, and your inability to study them before the coin is launched into the air.

In this sense, nothing is every really ‘random’.

Random is just a word we use to describe chaotic systems which are beyond our ability to accurately predict.