Expert predictions – The 200 words project

284 experts on political and economic trends were asked to make simple black-and-white predictions on their respective areas of expertise. The economists were asked about future economic growth while political experts were asked about future outcomes of elections. These experts all made their living by making predictions. By 2003, 82000+ predictions were collected.

The results?
– Even the best forecasters did worse than the “base rates,” e.g., predicting that an economy will grow at 2.8% given we know it has been growing at 2.8% over the last 5 years
– Extra education or experience (e.g. a P.hD) didn’t boost accuracy
– Media attention did prove predictive. Experts who made more predictions on TV and the radio performed significantly worse.

So, Chip and Dan Heath suggest that we watch out for “expert” predictions when we make decisions in our lives. Experts are best leveraged to understand the likelihood of events occurring based on the past (a.k.a. base rates). Once we have that data, it is best we prepare for various scenarios, then go out and test our assumptions and let the facts stand up for themselves.

ExpertPredictionsSource and thanks to: www.EBSketchin.com

Because we’re so poor at predicting the future, we need to treat the future as a spectrum of possibilities. The future is not a point, but a range. – Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Source and thanks to: Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

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