Thursday, October 13, 2016

Footnotes, smoke, mirrors, and noise

Kudos to Alex Shephard for having the confidence in his system of forecasting to make a clear and testable forecast. Who Will Win the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature? Not Bob Dylan, that's for sure by Alex Shephard. Most people have an extreme, but misplaced confidence, verging on passion, about their knowledge, awareness and deep insight to the workings of the world.

But the world is complex and human systems are causally dense. Most of our confidence is misplaced. The nice thing about clear and testable forecasts is that they allow refinement. Shephard's underlying rationale for his confidence may more or less consort with reality but we will only know that if we test his forecasts.

Too many pundits couch their forecasts in such a dense fog of words, obfuscations and caveats that they are not comprehendible, much less testable.

In this case, Shephard's forecast was clearly wrong. From today's Washington Post, ‘Poetry for the ear’: Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize in literature by Ron Charles, Geoff Edgers and Brian Murphy.

But his example was good - to demonstrate your knowledge and wisdom, make testable predictions. All else is footnotes, smoke, mirrors, and noise.

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