The Curious Sport of Forecasting

After finishing Nate Silver’s Signal & Noise (which was supposedly one of my readings for a module during my Master’s where I avoided reading the book cover to cover; but instead adopted the Master’s student ‘technique’ of reading only the necessary); I moved on to reading Nick Taleb’s Anti-fragile. On a side note, I didn’t realise until now that Nate was kind of put down by some NYU professors a while back on New Yorker. Nick is brilliant as usual but his lack of tolerance for people whom he perceive as stupid fully displays itself in his writing.

Perhaps because I was reading Nick’s writing, I thought the latest entry in Buttonwood’s Notebook seemed a little disappointing. Buttonwood imagines that without the presence of rigorously prepared forecast that are probably wrong, it will be filled with vague, baseless forecasts which cannot be disproved and thus believed – though they could be correct by sheer luck. Perhaps we should learn to dream of a different world where it is possible for us to shed the dependence on such false confidence, spend more of our efforts on fortifying ourselves against uncertainty than to prepare for scenarios that we came up with.