Saturday, 21 February 2009

Expert advice

From an interview with Philip Tetlock on CNN money about prediction:
The better forecasters were ... self-critical, eclectic thinkers who were willing to update their beliefs when faced with contrary evidence, were doubtful of grand schemes and were rather modest about their predictive ability. The less successful forecasters were like hedgehogs: They tended to have one big, beautiful idea that they loved to stretch, sometimes to the breaking point. They tended to be articulate and very persuasive as to why their idea explained everything. The media often love hedgehogs.
One might add that hedgehogs who are successful in the short term tend to get promoted fast too, as are forceful as well as (accidentally) right. Eventually these people will fail, but by then they may be in a position of considerable power.

See here for a further discussion from the Big Picture.

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