The Signal and the Noise

Author: Nate Silver
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780143125082
Release Date: 2015
Genre: Business & Economics

The founder of FiveThirtyEight.com challenges myths about predictions in subjects ranging from the financial market and weather to sports and politics, profiling the world of prediction to explain how readers can distinguish true signals from hype, in a report that also reveals the sources and societal costs of wrongful predictions.

The Signal and the Noise in 30 Minutes

Author:
Publisher:
ISBN: 1623150523
Release Date: 2012-11-01
Genre: Bayesian statistical decision theory

The Signal and the Noise …in 30 Minutes is the essential guide to quickly understanding the fundamental components of prediction outlined in Nate Silver’s bestselling book, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail ¬– but Some Don’t. In The Signal and the Noise bestselling author, political analyst, and statistician Nate Silver investigates the fundamentals of forecasting and answers why too much information can be misleading. Exploring a variety of fields, ranging from politics to poker to Wall Street and global warming, Silver explores why some forecasts are successful and, perhaps more telling, why so many fail. Stressing the importance of acknowledging personal bias, Silver posits that better forecasters possess a superior understanding of uncertainty and are driven by truth and humility while overconfidence can lead to failure. Presenting a framework for what constitutes a good forecast, Silver provides insight and tools for understanding how to successfully utilize Big Data and decipher meaningful signals from random noise.

The Signal and the Noise in 30 Minutes

Author:
Publisher: Callisto Media Inc
ISBN: 9781623150532
Release Date: 2012-11-20
Genre: Business & Economics

The Signal and the Noise …in 30 Minutes is the essential guide to quickly understanding the fundamental components of prediction outlined in Nate Silver’s bestselling book, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail ¬– but Some Don’t. In The Signal and the Noise bestselling author, political analyst, and statistician Nate Silver investigates the fundamentals of forecasting and answers why too much information can be misleading. Exploring a variety of fields, ranging from politics to poker to Wall Street and global warming, Silver explores why some forecasts are successful and, perhaps more telling, why so many fail. Stressing the importance of acknowledging personal bias, Silver posits that better forecasters possess a superior understanding of uncertainty and are driven by truth and humility while overconfidence can lead to failure. Presenting a framework for what constitutes a good forecast, Silver provides insight and tools for understanding how to successfully utilize Big Data and decipher meaningful signals from random noise.

Superforecasting

Author: Philip E. Tetlock
Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 9780804136709
Release Date: 2015-09-29
Genre: Business & Economics

A New York Times Bestseller An Economist Best Book of 2015 "The most important book on decision making since Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow." —Jason Zweig, The Wall Street Journal Everyone would benefit from seeing further into the future, whether buying stocks, crafting policy, launching a new product, or simply planning the week’s meals. Unfortunately, people tend to be terrible forecasters. As Wharton professor Philip Tetlock showed in a landmark 2005 study, even experts’ predictions are only slightly better than chance. However, an important and underreported conclusion of that study was that some experts do have real foresight, and Tetlock has spent the past decade trying to figure out why. What makes some people so good? And can this talent be taught? In Superforecasting, Tetlock and coauthor Dan Gardner offer a masterwork on prediction, drawing on decades of research and the results of a massive, government-funded forecasting tournament. The Good Judgment Project involves tens of thousands of ordinary people—including a Brooklyn filmmaker, a retired pipe installer, and a former ballroom dancer—who set out to forecast global events. Some of the volunteers have turned out to be astonishingly good. They’ve beaten other benchmarks, competitors, and prediction markets. They’ve even beaten the collective judgment of intelligence analysts with access to classified information. They are "superforecasters." In this groundbreaking and accessible book, Tetlock and Gardner show us how we can learn from this elite group. Weaving together stories of forecasting successes (the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound) and failures (the Bay of Pigs) and interviews with a range of high-level decision makers, from David Petraeus to Robert Rubin, they show that good forecasting doesn’t require powerful computers or arcane methods. It involves gathering evidence from a variety of sources, thinking probabilistically, working in teams, keeping score, and being willing to admit error and change course. Superforecasting offers the first demonstrably effective way to improve our ability to predict the future—whether in business, finance, politics, international affairs, or daily life—and is destined to become a modern classic. From the Hardcover edition.

The Theory that Would Not Die

Author: Sharon Bertsch McGrayne
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300175097
Release Date: 2011
Genre: Mathematics

Bayes rule appears to be a straightforward, one-line theorem: by updating our initial beliefs with objective new information, we get a new and improved belief. To its adherents, it is an elegant statement about learning from experience. To its opponents, it is subjectivity run amok. In the first-ever account of Bayes' rule for general readers, Sharon Bertsch McGrayne explores this controversial theorem and the human obsessions surrounding it. She traces its discovery by an amateur mathematician in the 1740s through its development into roughly its modern form by French scientist Pierre Simon Laplace. She reveals why respected statisticians rendered it professionally taboo for 150 years at the same time that practitioners relied on it to solve crises involving great uncertainty and scanty information, even breaking Germany's Enigma code during World War II, and explains how the advent of off-the-shelf computer technology in the 1980s proved to be a game-changer. Today, Bayes' rule is used everywhere from DNA de-coding to Homeland Security.Drawing on primary source material and interviews with statisticians and other scientists, The Theory That Would Not Die is the riveting account of how a seemingly simple theorem ignited one of the greatest controversies of all time.

Naked Statistics Stripping the Dread from the Data

Author: Charles Wheelan
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393089820
Release Date: 2013-01-07
Genre: Mathematics

“Brilliant, funny . . . the best math teacher you never had.”—San Francisco Chronicle Once considered tedious, the field of statistics is rapidly evolving into a discipline Hal Varian, chief economist at Google, has actually called “sexy.” From batting averages and political polls to game shows and medical research, the real-world application of statistics continues to grow by leaps and bounds. How can we catch schools that cheat on standardized tests? How does Netflix know which movies you’ll like? What is causing the rising incidence of autism? As best-selling author Charles Wheelan shows us in Naked Statistics, the right data and a few well-chosen statistical tools can help us answer these questions and more. For those who slept through Stats 101, this book is a lifesaver. Wheelan strips away the arcane and technical details and focuses on the underlying intuition that drives statistical analysis. He clarifies key concepts such as inference, correlation, and regression analysis, reveals how biased or careless parties can manipulate or misrepresent data, and shows us how brilliant and creative researchers are exploiting the valuable data from natural experiments to tackle thorny questions. And in Wheelan’s trademark style, there’s not a dull page in sight. You’ll encounter clever Schlitz Beer marketers leveraging basic probability, an International Sausage Festival illuminating the tenets of the central limit theorem, and a head-scratching choice from the famous game show Let’s Make a Deal—and you’ll come away with insights each time. With the wit, accessibility, and sheer fun that turned Naked Economics into a bestseller, Wheelan defies the odds yet again by bringing another essential, formerly unglamorous discipline to life.

The Best American Infographics 2014

Author: Gareth Cook
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780547974552
Release Date: 2014-10-07
Genre: Social Science

Year two of this fresh, timely, beautiful addition to the Best American series, introduced by Nate Silver The rise of infographics across virtually all print and electronic media reveals patterns in our lives and worlds in fresh and surprising ways. As we find ourselves in the era of big data, where information moves faster than ever, infographics provide us with quick, often influential bursts of art and knowledge — to digest, tweet, share, go viral. Best American Infographics 2014 captures the finest examples, from the past year, of this mesmerizing new way of seeing and understanding our world. Guest introducer Nate Silver brings his unparalleled expertise and lively analysis to this visually compelling new volume.

Signal and Noise

Author: Brian Larkin
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822341085
Release Date: 2008-03-31
Genre: History

DIVExamines the role of media technologies in shaping urban Africa through an ethnographic study of popular culture in northern Nigeria./div

Automate This

Author: Christopher Steiner
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101572153
Release Date: 2012-08-30
Genre: Computers

The rousing story of the last gasp of human agency and how today’s best and brightest minds are endeavoring to put an end to it. It used to be that to diagnose an illness, interpret legal documents, analyze foreign policy, or write a newspaper article you needed a human being with specific skills—and maybe an advanced degree or two. These days, high-level tasks are increasingly being handled by algorithms that can do precise work not only with speed but also with nuance. These “bots” started with human programming and logic, but now their reach extends beyond what their creators ever expected. In this fascinating, frightening book, Christopher Steiner tells the story of how algorithms took over—and shows why the “bot revolution” is about to spill into every aspect of our lives, often silently, without our knowledge. The May 2010 “Flash Crash” exposed Wall Street’s reliance on trading bots to the tune of a 998-point market drop and $1 trillion in vanished market value. But that was just the beginning. In Automate This, we meet bots that are driving cars, penning haiku, and writing music mistaken for Bach’s. They listen in on our customer service calls and figure out what Iran would do in the event of a nuclear standoff. There are algorithms that can pick out the most cohesive crew of astronauts for a space mission or identify the next Jeremy Lin. Some can even ingest statistics from baseball games and spit out pitch-perfect sports journalism indistinguishable from that produced by humans. The interaction of man and machine can make our lives easier. But what will the world look like when algorithms control our hospitals, our roads, our culture, and our national security? What hap­pens to businesses when we automate judgment and eliminate human instinct? And what role will be left for doctors, lawyers, writers, truck drivers, and many others? Who knows—maybe there’s a bot learning to do your job this minute.

How We Got to Now

Author: Steven Johnson
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780698154506
Release Date: 2014-09-30
Genre: Technology & Engineering

Look out for Johnson’s new book, Wonderland, now on sale. From the New York Times–bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From and Everything Bad Is Good for You, a new look at the power and legacy of great ideas. In this illustrated history, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life (refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few) from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Filled with surprising stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes—from the French publisher who invented the phonograph before Edison but forgot to include playback, to the Hollywood movie star who helped invent the technology behind Wi-Fi and Bluetooth—How We Got to Now investigates the secret history behind the everyday objects of contemporary life. In his trademark style, Johnson examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields: how the invention of air-conditioning enabled the largest migration of human beings in the history of the species—to cities such as Dubai or Phoenix, which would otherwise be virtually uninhabitable; how pendulum clocks helped trigger the industrial revolution; and how clean water made it possible to manufacture computer chips. Accompanied by a major six-part television series on PBS, How We Got to Now is the story of collaborative networks building the modern world, written in the provocative, informative, and engaging style that has earned Johnson fans around the globe.

Future Babble

Author: Daniel Gardner
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101476093
Release Date: 2011-03-17
Genre: Psychology

An award-winning journalist uses landmark research to debunk the whole expert prediction industry, and explores the psychology of our obsession with future history. In 2008, experts predicted gas would hit $20 a gallon; it peaked at $4.10. In 1967, they said the USSR would be the world's fastest-growing economy by 2000; by 2000, the USSR no longer existed. In 1908, it was pronounced that there would be no more wars in Europe; we all know how that turned out. Face it, experts are about as accurate as dart- throwing monkeys. And yet every day we ask them to predict the future- everything from the weather to the likelihood of a terrorist attack. Future Babble is the first book to examine this phenomenon, showing why our brains yearn for certainty about the future, why we are attracted to those who predict it confidently, and why it's so easy for us to ignore the trail of outrageously wrong forecasts. In this fast-paced, example-packed, sometimes darkly hilarious book, journalist Dan Gardner shows how seminal research by UC Berkeley professor Philip Tetlock proved that the more famous a pundit is, the more likely he is to be right about as often as a stopped watch. Gardner also draws on current research in cognitive psychology, political science, and behavioral economics to discover something quite reassuring: The future is always uncertain, but the end is not always near.

The Drunkard s Walk

Author: Leonard Mlodinow
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307275172
Release Date: 2009
Genre: Mathematics

An irreverent look at how randomness influences our lives, and how our successes and failures are far more dependent on chance events than we recognize.

How Not to Be Wrong

Author: Jordan Ellenberg
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780698163843
Release Date: 2014-05-29
Genre: Mathematics

The Freakonomics of math—a math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do—the whole world is shot through with it. Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of our world. It’s a science of not being wrong, hammered out by centuries of hard work and argument. Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does “public opinion” really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer? How Not to Be Wrong presents the surprising revelations behind all of these questions and many more, using the mathematician’s method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman—minus the jargon. Ellenberg chases mathematical threads through a vast range of time and space, from the everyday to the cosmic, encountering, among other things, baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, and the existence of God. Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need. Math, as Ellenberg says, is “an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength.” With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.

Expert Political Judgment

Author: Philip E. Tetlock
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400888818
Release Date: 2017-09-05
Genre: Political Science

Since its original publication, Expert Political Judgment by New York Times bestselling author Philip Tetlock has established itself as a contemporary classic in the literature on evaluating expert opinion. Tetlock first discusses arguments about whether the world is too complex for people to find the tools to understand political phenomena, let alone predict the future. He evaluates predictions from experts in different fields, comparing them to predictions by well-informed laity or those based on simple extrapolation from current trends. He goes on to analyze which styles of thinking are more successful in forecasting. Classifying thinking styles using Isaiah Berlin's prototypes of the fox and the hedgehog, Tetlock contends that the fox--the thinker who knows many little things, draws from an eclectic array of traditions, and is better able to improvise in response to changing events--is more successful in predicting the future than the hedgehog, who knows one big thing, toils devotedly within one tradition, and imposes formulaic solutions on ill-defined problems. He notes a perversely inverse relationship between the best scientific indicators of good judgement and the qualities that the media most prizes in pundits--the single-minded determination required to prevail in ideological combat. Clearly written and impeccably researched, the book fills a huge void in the literature on evaluating expert opinion. It will appeal across many academic disciplines as well as to corporations seeking to develop standards for judging expert decision-making. Now with a new preface in which Tetlock discusses the latest research in the field, the book explores what constitutes good judgment in predicting future events and looks at why experts are often wrong in their forecasts.

Everybody Lies

Author: Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780062390875
Release Date: 2017-05-09
Genre: Social Science

Foreword by Steven Pinker Blending the informed analysis of The Signal and the Noise with the instructive iconoclasm of Think Like a Freak, a fascinating, illuminating, and witty look at what the vast amounts of information now instantly available to us reveals about ourselves and our world—provided we ask the right questions. By the end of an average day in the early twenty-first century, human beings searching the internet will amass eight trillion gigabytes of data. This staggering amount of information—unprecedented in history—can tell us a great deal about who we are—the fears, desires, and behaviors that drive us, and the conscious and unconscious decisions we make. From the profound to the mundane, we can gain astonishing knowledge about the human psyche that less than twenty years ago, seemed unfathomable. Everybody Lies offers fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender and more, all drawn from the world of big data. What percentage of white voters didn’t vote for Barack Obama because he’s black? Does where you go to school effect how successful you are in life? Do parents secretly favor boy children over girls? Do violent films affect the crime rate? Can you beat the stock market? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives and who’s more self-conscious about sex, men or women? Investigating these questions and a host of others, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz offers revelations that can help us understand ourselves and our lives better. Drawing on studies and experiments on how we really live and think, he demonstrates in fascinating and often funny ways the extent to which all the world is indeed a lab. With conclusions ranging from strange-but-true to thought-provoking to disturbing, he explores the power of this digital truth serum and its deeper potential—revealing biases deeply embedded within us, information we can use to change our culture, and the questions we’re afraid to ask that might be essential to our health—both emotional and physical. All of us are touched by big data everyday, and its influence is multiplying. Everybody Lies challenges us to think differently about how we see it and the world.