Saturday, 20 April 2019

The Risk Makers @ Archive on 4

Where each of us is today is very much a matter of luck:
Futures Forum: Good luck!

And has very little to do with how much we 'merit' it:
Futures Forum: Is 'meritocracy' really all it's made out to be?
Futures Forum: How meritocracy and populism reinforce each other's faults

The statistician David Spiegelhalter has featured on various blog-postings over the years:
Futures Forum: The national press and the IPCC report ... and Climate Change
Futures Forum: Climate change: by numbers >>> "a deeper-than-usual insight into some of the methods of climate science"
Futures Forum: Is a global population of nine billion sustainable?

He works at the stats lab at the University of Cambridge:
Statistical Laboratory
David Spiegelhalter's Personal Home Page

He's very interested in 'luck' and 'risk':
Understanding Uncertainty
#2 - Prof David Spiegelhalter on risk, stats and improving understanding of science - YouTube

And he has done some very interesting programmes for Radio 4:
BBC Radio 4 - Good Luck Professor Spiegelhalter

His latest offering being this evening at Archive on 4: 

The Risk Makers

No one should take a risk without thinking about the possible future outcomes but who do you trust; your gut instinct or someone who will tell you they know what is going to happen?
The trouble with humans and the future is that we are all suckers for a good story. 
In The Risk Makers Professor David Spiegelhalter looks at the track record of experts and finds it to be only slightly better than ' a dart throwing monkey'. 
With prediction it's data from the past that forms the best guide to the future. Gambling firms and the insurance industry understand this and base their businesses on numbers not rumours. However, the rest of us are often reluctant to engage with data and what it can tell us. 
Mixing archive with fresh interviews Professor Spiegelhalter discovers there is a personality type best suited to predictions,- so called foxes- although we rarely hear from them because they are often drowned out by 'hedgehogs'. 
Beware, though, an over reliance on data; like the ancient oracles, the usefulness depends on what you ask and how you interpret the replies. 
David meets with an academic who is an expert on Greek oracles but who also advises businesses about the future, a Lord who is one of the nation's foremost political and football pundits, the man who ran GCHQ for three years and the insurance executive whose job is to imagine possible malign futures and price them. 
The Risk Makers concludes if you want to know about the future, don't trust someone who tells you they know what will happen. Trust in data- of course but mix in humans too, lots of them – just make sure there are more 'foxes' than 'hedgehogs'!

BBC Radio 4 - Archive on 4, The Risk Makers

No comments: