What is randomness?

Geocomplexity is, for lack of a better word, complex. After reading Turcottes “modeling geocomplexity”, I’m left with one main question – in this context, what is randomness?

Most of the models outlined in the paper involve are focused on demonstrating the chaotic, unpredictable nature of natural systems. The argument, as I understand it, is centered around the idea that a sufficiently complex system will be unbelievably unpredictable, and that minor changes can have massive consequences as those systems play out. What this implies to me is that there is some degree of truly “random” behavior at play, and that that randomness is what is preventing making these systems easily understood.

Having no background in this subject, I find that I still don’t understand what “randomness” is. How does it arise in these systems? If the location of every particle in a system was known, would we be able to model this in a way that did not include any randomness? Chaos theory is mostly preoccupied with the idea that minuscule variations in the initial conditions of a system can result in vastly different outcomes. Where within that concept does randomness lie? I suppose I don’t have the theory and statistics background to make sense of these arguments well. This has however inspired me to delve deeper into this subject matter in the future.

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