Comfort with Numbers

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

This summary of Superforecasting made one point that rang especially true to me:

The superforecasters rarely use sophisticated mathematical models to make their forecasts, but they are uniformly highly numerate. Comfort with numbers is a prerequisite for making good forecasts but fancy quantitative models are not.


  1. Slovenian Guest says:

    I love the it all started with a dart throwing chimp part, but it’s apparently a base line many people can’t beat.

    In this YouTube lecture, the author of Superforecasting Philip Tetlock brings up cartoonist Gary Larson, who has a rather grim gallows sense of humor, and how most of his cartoons can be approached at two different levels, one, the superficial level is of course that we are idiots, and the other is a psychologically deeper point, and that is the power of preconceptions to shape our conceptions, until the bitter end. The last thought of these pilots is going to be a misconception (he is referring to this strip by Gary Larson, which reads “Say… What’s a mountain goat doing way up here in a cloud bank?”)

    I’m surprised Gary Larson wasn’t featured yet on Isegoria. And there is plenty to feature, his comic, The Far Side, was carried by more than 1,900 daily newspapers, translated into 17 languages, and collected into calendars and 23 compilation books.

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