Predicting the Future

You have heard it said, “Two heads are better than one.”  It seems that three heads are better than one, at least in predicting political/economic futures.  Pundits who predict the political and/or economic future of nations have multiplied with the advent of cable television.  However, individual predictions in the above areas from the gurus of Fox News or CNBC are not very accurate, according to the research of Tetlock.  To find a better predictor model, he instituted a competition among teams from universities.  It seems that if three persons each using very narrow fields of different information apply their findings to an algorithm, the probability of their predictions increases significantly.

What does that mean to a person like me who had to take algebra over again in order to get into graduate school?  It means that one should look at the, “…the facts, ma’am, just the facts”, and maybe a bit of critical analysis of even my favorite pundit before voting or of investing.  Feelings, or so-called intuition, about an issue do not produce the best results for anyone.  In the emotional age of hype that we live in, rational decision making has become what some might consider “reactionary”.  We are in danger of sliding from a nation of “do gooders” to a nation of “feel gooders”.  Perhaps this new algorithm will  at least put the brakes on a bit. We can at least recommend, hope and pray that those in political and economic power pay attention to better ways and means to predicting the future.


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