Nate Silver on the Supreme Court and Underrated Stats for Finding Good Food | Convos with Tyler
In a riveting conversation with Tyler Cowen, Nate Silver, a renowned statistician, delves into the power of data and forecasting in various sectors.
He discusses the social value of gambling, the unpredictability of political elections, and the underrated statistics for finding good food.
Silver also shares his thoughts on the wisdom of Björk and offers vacation advice.
It’s amazingly arrogant, in some sense, for anyone to think that they can beat markets. [laughs] At the same time, the more worshipful we become of markets, then the less useful they become, as well. – Nate Silver
Starting with Priors in Superforecasting
In superforecasting, it’s essential to start with priors or initial assumptions.
Forecasters should look for signs that violate these assumptions, rather than relying solely on early polls or other potentially misleading indicators.
Unpredictability of Political Elections
Political elections, particularly the 2016 presidential race, are highly unpredictable.
A small sample size can limit the accuracy of predictions, and it’s important to be cautious when labeling events as ‘unlikely’ versus ‘never’.
Impact of Extremism on Election Outcomes
Extremism can significantly impact election outcomes.
There is a price for extremism, which could cost a candidate several points relative to a more moderate candidate.
Data and Analytics in Sports
Data and analytics play a significant role in sports.
However, outliers in sports statistics and the concept of streakiness can impact the analysis.
The use of analytics can lead to marginal gains, but the impact may not always be immediately apparent.
The answers are probably obvious in some sense where health is an area where I’ve not done a lot of work personally, but I’m sure it’s incredibly valuable. Doctors are not known for being terribly analytics driven. – Nate Silver
Applying Analytics to Soccer
Applying analytics to soccer presents unique challenges due to the limited data available compared to other sports.
While traditional heuristics have been somewhat effective in valuing players, there is still significant room for improvement as more data becomes available.
Conformism in Sports
Conformism can limit innovation and the adoption of new strategies in sports.
For instance, the knuckleball in baseball is a pitch that is rarely used despite its potential effectiveness.
Data in Predicting Political Outcomes
Data can provide useful insights in predicting political outcomes.
However, it also comes with a degree of uncertainty, particularly when dealing with unusual or unprecedented situations.
Data in Evaluating Neighborhoods
Data plays a significant role in evaluating the quality of neighborhoods.
While cost is a significant factor in determining neighborhood quality, other factors, such as the availability of good food, can also play a role.