dena

Hedgehogs vs Foxes

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This a piece from The Atlantic, kind of long, so I will clip it as I see fit...but, it is about why the so called experts are wrong in their predictions of the future.

We see it all over, from polls, to the catastrophic predictions of climate change, the population boom, and the ensuing famine, all wrong, as we are still here, and growing.

The Hedgehogs, are the experts, tightly focused on an issue, studied it their whole life, and often can't see the forest for the trees.

The Foxes are more widely read, a jack of all trades, masters of none.

The Hedgehogs know one big thing, the Foxes know a lot of little things.

The Hedgehogs are badly outperformed by their Fox friends, especially in long term predictions.

Do you agree with their study?

Does it make sense to you?

 

...The integrators outperformed their colleagues in pretty much every way, but especially trounced them on long-term predictions. Eventually, Tetlock bestowed nicknames (borrowed from the philosopher Isaiah Berlin) on the experts he’d observed: The highly specialized hedgehogs knew “one big thing,” while the integrator foxes knew “many little things.”

Hedgehogs are deeply and tightly focused. Some have spent their career studying one problem. Like Ehrlich and Simon, they fashion tidy theories of how the world works based on observations through the single lens of their specialty. Foxes, meanwhile, “draw from an eclectic array of traditions, and accept ambiguity and contradiction,” Tetlock wrote. Where hedgehogs represent narrowness, foxes embody breadth.

Incredibly, the hedgehogs performed especially poorly on long-term predictions within their specialty. They got worse as they accumulated experience and credentials in their field. The more information they had to work with, the more easily they could fit any story into their worldview.

Unfortunately, the world’s most prominent specialists are rarely held accountable for their predictions, so we continue to rely on them even when their track records make clear that we should not. One study compiled a decade of annual dollar-to-euro exchange-rate predictions made by 22 international banks: Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and others. Each year, every bank predicted the end-of-year exchange rate. The banks missed every single change of direction in the exchange rate. In six of the 10 years, the true exchange rate fell outside the entire range of all 22 bank forecasts....

... The pattern is by now familiar. In the 30 years since Ehrlich sent Simon a check, the track record of expert forecasters—in science, in economics, in politics—is as dismal as ever. In business, esteemed (and lavishly compensated) forecasters routinely are wildly wrong in their predictions of everything from the next stock-market correction to the next housing boom. Reliable insight into the future is possible, however. It just requires a style of thinking that’s uncommon among experts who are certain that their deep knowledge has granted them a special grasp of what is to come. ..

...In Tetlock’s 20-year study, both the broad foxes and the narrow hedgehogs were quick to let a successful prediction reinforce their beliefs. But when an outcome took them by surprise, foxes were much more likely to adjust their ideas. Hedgehogs barely budged. Some made authoritative predictions that turned out to be wildly wrong—then updated their theories in the wrong direction. They became even more convinced of the original beliefs that had led them astray. The best forecasters, by contrast, view their own ideas as hypotheses in need of testing. If they make a bet and lose, they embrace the logic of a loss just as they would the reinforcement of a win. This is called, in a word, learning.

 

 

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I lost a dear friend today.

 

my kids third grandmother.

 

a liberal.  A true liberal. A west coast hippie Seattle liberal.

 

dedicated her life to helping others.

 

she was a Fox .  She ate hedgehogs for breakfast

 

 

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I went to the Carnegie Museum, to attended an exhibit of western art and guns from the Winchester Museum, in Cody Wyoming.  An expert on western art gave a lecture, which I attended.  On the stage he had several paintings, one of which I recognized.  It showed a wagon train coming out of a canyon, with the sun on the horizon, in front of them. It looked to me like they were getting ready to camp after a long day on the trail.  Boy was I wrong.  

The "expert" proceeded to inform the crowd that this painting showed the dawning of a new day, as the pioneers set out to start a new life, symbolized by their heading into the rising sun.

The crowd nodded in agreement.

Was I the only one that knew the sun rises in the east?

 

Experts, meh  

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4 hours ago, Riverboat33 said:

I went to the Carnegie Museum, to attended an exhibit of western art and guns from the Winchester Museum, in Cody Wyoming.  An expert on western art gave a lecture, which I attended.  On the stage he had several paintings, one of which I recognized.  It showed a wagon train coming out of a canyon, with the sun on the horizon, in front of them. It looked to me like they were getting ready to camp after a long day on the trail.  Boy was I wrong.  

The "expert" proceeded to inform the crowd that this painting showed the dawning of a new day, as the pioneers set out to start a new life, symbolized by their heading into the rising sun.

The crowd nodded in agreement.

Was I the only one that knew the sun rises in the east?

 

Experts, meh  

Um... maybe they were settling Brazil.  I think the sun rises backwards in the southern hemisphere.

 

Either that or they where settling America with "their truth" and chose to settle it west to east.

 

Free thinkers. 

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18 hours ago, dena said:

Do you agree with their study?

Does it make sense to you?

Absolutely. I learned this a long time ago by general observation. I use this information every time I walk into a meeting. Question everything.

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