The Art and Science of Prediction
Philip E. Tetlock, Dan Gardner
How to be better at forecasting
Clippings from Kindle
For scientists, not knowing is exciting.
Superforecasting demands thinking that is open-minded, careful, curious, and—above all—self-critical.
Experiments are what people do when they aren’t sure what the truth is.
“Doubt is not a fearful thing,” Feynman observed, “but a thing of very great value.” It’s what propels science forward.
Randomized controlled trials was painfully slow to catch on and it was only after World War II that the first serious trials were attempted.
System 1 follows a primitive psycho-logic: if it feels true, it is.
Forecasting in the twenty-first century looks too much like nineteenth-century medicine. There are theories, assertions, and arguments. There are famous figures, as confident as they are well compensated. But there is little experimentation, or anything that could be called science, so we know much less than most people realize.
But tip-of-your-nose delusions can fool anyone, even the best and the brightest—perhaps especially the best and the brightest.
An inverse correlation between fame and accuracy: the more famous an expert was, the less accurate he was.
“All models are wrong,” the statistician George Box observed, “but some are useful.”
A few hundred ordinary people and some simple math can not only compete with professionals supported by a multibillion-dollar apparatus but also beat them.
This sort of storytelling can be very compelling, particularly when the available details are much richer than what I’ve provided here. But superforecasters wouldn’t bother with any of that, at least not at first. The first thing they would do is find out what percentage of American households own a pet.
Arthur C. Clarke famously observed, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
people equate confidence and competence,
“Why?” directs us to metaphysics; “How?” sticks with physics.
The more a forecaster inclined toward it-was-meant-to-happen thinking, the less accurate her forecasts were.
People can be astonishingly intransigent—and capable of rationalizing like crazy to avoid acknowledging new information that upsets their settled beliefs.
Being right about it wasn’t part of my identity.
Many studies have found that those who trade more frequently get worse returns than those who lean toward old-fashioned buy-and-hold strategies.
Feelings were masquerading as knowledge, as thoughts.
- CAUTIOUS: Nothing is certain
- HUMBLE: Reality is infinitely complex
- NONDETERMINISTIC: What happens is not meant to be and does not have to happen
- ACTIVELY OPEN-MINDED: Beliefs are hypotheses to be tested, not treasures to be protected
- INTELLIGENT AND KNOWLEDGEABLE, WITH A “NEED FOR COGNITION”: Intellectually curious, enjoy puzzles and mental challenges
- REFLECTIVE: Introspective and self-critical
- NUMERATE: Comfortable with numbers
- PRAGMATIC: Not wedded to any idea or agenda
- ANALYTICAL: Capable of stepping back from the tip-of-your-nose perspective and considering other views
- DRAGONFLY-EYED: Value diverse views and synthesize them into their own
- PROBABILISTIC: Judge using many grades of maybe
- THOUGHTFUL UPDATERS: When facts change, they change their minds
- GOOD INTUITIVE PSYCHOLOGISTS: Aware of the value of checking thinking for cognitive and emotional biases In their work ethic, they tend to have:
- A GROWTH MINDSET: Believe it’s possible to get better GRIT: Determined to keep at it however long it takes I
The final feature of winning teams: the fostering of a culture of sharing.
Knowing what we don’t know is better than thinking we know what we don’t.
Progressive improvement is attainable. Perfection is not.