A random phenomenon is an event whose result, under similar situations, cannot be predicted.
First, a random phenomenon is by nature unpredictable. Hence it is called random (random). For example, the weather. Under similar circumstances, the weather can be changing.
However, the fact that a random phenomenon, by definition, is dominated by the laws of chance does not prevent it from being studied. Moreover, the theory of probability is born precisely because of the existence of random phenomena.
It is recommended to read the definition of statistics.
Man’s need to know what will happen is evolutionary. And, certainly, that study gives us a better understanding of the phenomena. Consequently, it allows us to make better decisions.
If we do not have an umbrella and we know that tomorrow it will rain with an 80% probability, getting an umbrella today is a good decision. If we finally do not need it, nothing happens. But if we need it and we don’t have it, we can get too wet and get sick.
Characteristics of a random phenomenon
To distinguish a random phenomenon from that which is not, we will name different characteristics. The characteristics of a random phenomenon are:
- They cannot be predicted accurately.
- Any change in the initial conditions affects the final result.
- They may (or may not) present repetitive patterns.
- Similar events are repeated under similar conditions.
The first point is essential in that if they can be accurately predicted, they are no longer random phenomena. They will be deterministic phenomena. Second, any change in the initial conditions affects the final result. They may present repetitive patterns (and we are interested in studying them statistically) but they can also be completely random. And, although this is not essential, the initial starting conditions are repeated with some frequency.
Relationship between random phenomenon and random experiment
The random phenomenon is the event or event that is intended to investigate. For its part, the random experiment is a test to study the random phenomenon.
In some cases, randomized experiments refer to events that we can repeat under similar conditions. For example, the experiment tosses a coin to see if face or cross comes out. However, other times we cannot repeat the phenomenon tangibly. For example, stock quotes.
Quote data is generated alone. Now, with these data we can perform tests or experiments to detect patterns of behavior.
Example of random phenomenon
Below are examples of random phenomena:
- Economic growth
- Results of government elections
- Economical crisis
- Stock quotes
- Result of throwing a coin
All the above phenomena have a common characteristic: they are random. Now, the fact that they are random does not mean that there are some more random than others.
Thus, in the flip of a coin (if it is perfect) we can say that the probability of being expensive should approach 0.5. Otherwise, we toss the coin 100,000 times and calculate. However, how do we set the probability that Colombia’s economic growth will be 8.3%? This last case is certainly much more complex. Since it depends on many more variables.
Is the economy a random or deterministic phenomenon?
A question that differentiates some thinkers from others is the previous question. Assume that a particular phenomenon, in our case the economy, is deterministic or random distances us in the way of thinking. Is it possible that the economy is deterministic? Of course it is possible. As it is possible that it is a random phenomenon and, consequently, unpredictable.
In this sense, we must indicate that there are several positions in this regard. Roughly, we could summarize the four main positions as follows:
- The economy is random:In thinking that the treatment as random is random. That is, we deny the possibility that it could be deterministic.
- The economy is deterministic:We might also think that the economy is deterministic. By thinking that it is deterministic, we should be able to prove that it is. Otherwise, we would be faced with an unbelievable statement.
- I assume it is random:We believe it is possible that it is deterministic, but we are more inclined towards the possibility of it being random.
- Deterministic doubt:We think it is deterministic, but our inability to prove it makes us act as if it were random.
Obviously, there are midpoints between these four positions. There may be phenomena within the economy that we consider deterministic and other random. Thought in this regard is open. Now, for now, even if the economy was deterministic, no one has proven it unquestionably.