The famed statistician Nate Silver has his work cut out for him. 2020 has been a year of great upheaval and unrest, with uncertainty in the economy, in public health, and in the upcoming US presidential election. In The Signal and the Noise, Silver’s classic book about predictions, he offers an interesting piece of advice: don’t listen to just him. Aggregating information from multiple forecasters will likely yield more accurate predictions.
In the world of finance, for instance, individual economists don’t often produce reliable predictions; investors are better off seeking out a forecast that aggregates the predictions of multiple experts. In science and public health, meta-analyses summarizing the findings of multiple studies can yield sharper insights than a single researcher working on his own can expect to uncover. And in deciding which movie you want to watch on Netflix, opinions from multiple movie critics will give you more perspective on whether a given film is worth your time.
For the remainder of the year, headlines will be filled with forecasts for you to parse. Outsmart the experts with our Instaread on The Signal and the Noise.