EXPERTS PREDICTING WHERE THERE ARE A THOUSAND VARIABLES. I have posted, for example here, on Philip Tetlock’s studies of expert predictions. They don’t do better than anybody else. Tetlock urges that forecasts by experts be made in testable forms and that their forecasts be monitored. Jonah Lehrer had an article in the weekend Wall Street Journal (where he now has a column every other week) which discusses Tetlock’s work and says that the main reason for the poor forecasts was overconfidence. Confirmation bias means that contrary evidence is ignored, and that is what the experts did. Tetlock and Lehrer emphasize the difficulty of making predictions. Lehrer concludes that in “situations with a thousand variables and very little real information to back up a prediction we should stop listening and get out a quarter [and flip it].”

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