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You're reading: The pitfalls of prediction

We have weathermen, Wall Street Analysts, political pundits and futurologists. They all claim some expertise.

These people exist because there is strong demand for their services. Businesses need to create budgets. People have to decide what to wear. Politicians are expected to anticipate issues that will matter to society. Without predictions, there can be no plans.

Yet as Philip Tetlock discovered in his 20 year long study, experts are little better at predicting the future than flipping a coin. Moreover, the more specialized the expertise, the worse the predictive performance tends to be. In other words, the people who get paid to know the most, do the worst. How can this be?

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