Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe them Anyway
"Genuinely arresting . . . required reading for journalists, politicians, academics, and anyone who listens to them."
-Steven Pinker, author of "How the Mind Works"
We are awash in predictions. In newspapers, blogs, and books; on radio and television. Every day experts tell us how the economy will perform next year, if housing sales will grow or shrink, and who will win...more
I will warn any partisan to stay away from this book. It will make your blood ...more
Gardner discusses many of the classic predictions (that typically didn't pan ou ...more
While I found this a wortwhile read there was a lot of repetition, if you're looking for a supplement and some expansion on "foxes & hedgehogs" then I suggest you give it a go.
Otherwise, most of it is already covered in "Superforecasting".
It doesn't matter whether the pundits are left-wing or right-wing, leftists like Paul Ehrlich predicting the end of the world because of ...more
Gardner starts out strong, explaining how easy it would be to just show us a bunch of examples that agree with his thesis, and he even e ...more
The intellectual value of the book is that it's a good and wet (as opposed to dry?) survey of cognitive biases. Hopefully by (re-)visiting them I'll become better at learning to recognize and correct for them in my own thinking. Sometimes though this has lead to a few moments of despair where I've overcoming the defects of our minds seem ...more
Dan Gardner proves that there are no consequences for bad predictions. In fact, some famous purveyors of ri ...more
Here are a few standout quotes from it:
terrorist attack? Didn’t see it coming? Let’s imagine more
shocking terrorist attacks. Economic disaster? Big
surprise, wasn’t it? So let’s imagine more economic
Tell clients what they
and all informed people believe to be true and they will be
pleased. We all enjoy having our b ...more
The author points out that when it comes to complex, chaotic phenom ...more
At the end of the book he of ...more
The central problem Gardner deals with is this. I like to know about what will happen in the future, you like to know what will happen, we all want t ...more
He argues convincingly that people turn to forecasts because of their difficulty in living with not knowing and that the more forcefully a position is stated the more people are likely to b ...more
Do we have evidence that expert pr ...more
Its remarkable how inept we, as a species, are at predicting anything beyond whether or not we will suceed in a crossing the street. The academic Philip Tetlock went to great trouble to verify this ineptness with regard to political predictions. The inaccuracy of economic forecasts has apparently been noted several times in academic studies. Oddly enough, we seem to enjoy listening to predictions, particularly predictions of gloomy outcomes, no matter how often we've been burned in the past. Th...more
In a study of how accurate experts are in their predictions, the unexpected is discovered - the opinions of experts regularly consulted by the mass media is less accurate the flip of a coin. On the other hand, some experts are quite accurate in their predictions, but seldom consulted.
To m ...more
For people involved in scientific programs however, the book loses steam at around page 100, when the author (Dan Gardner) has made his point and basically starts to throw things in that might have preferabl ...more
The downfall of the book for me is the same criticism I have of most books of this type of theory/analysis...they mak ...more
Trained in law (LL.B., Osgoode Hall Law School, class of ’92) and history (M.A., York University, ’95), Dan first worked as a policy advisor to the Premier of Ontario. In 1997, he joined the Ottawa Citizen. In the years that followed, he travelled widely, researching long features about drugs, criminal justice, torture and other challenging issues. ...more