Sunday, June 24, 2007

A bad explanation is better than none at all

This week Sydney had the perfect storm: the one that didn't happen. The Bureau of Meteorology said we should have been struck by a gale of 100kmh winds about 5am Wednesday. It didn't happen. The experts were wrong.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, says our lives are surrounded by a miasma of false predictions and forecasts. As a result, much of the medium- or long-term planning done by individuals, companies and governments is of dubious value.

Taleb, once a trader on the finance markets, now has one of the best job descriptions I've heard. He is a professor in the sciences of uncertainty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

From the Sydney Morning Herald