What are the unknown unknowns?


There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

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The famous quote was plagarized by Rumsfeld from a 13th century Persian poet. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_are_known_knowns#Quoted_from_Persian_literature

Interesting philosophical question. Unknown unknowns are essentially limited only by the potential imagination (unimagined yet but possibly imaginable thoughts). Once you can envision them they become known unknowns. Unknown unknowns as far as practical application goes is heavily circumscribed by the laws of physics and mathematics.

Since computer science is a hard science there is less room for surprise for some new development coming in from left field. So short of a breakthrough in either math or physics (very rare and hard to achieve) its foundations are static.


For example the following was totally unexpected, baffling unknown unknown:

Things which cannot be foreseen by me. That’s why it’s always good to have other people engaged looking at things.