Nate Silver discussed predictive models during “The Signal and the Noise: An Evening With Nate Silver” Tuesday, March 7.
By Sam Peshek, Texas A&M University Marketing and Communications
In Nate Silver’s world where data drives predictions, underdogs sometimes have the advantage, crises arising from natural disasters can be averted and shocking electoral victories like President Donald Trump’s aren’t surprising at all.
Silver, the editor-in-chief for ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight website, gave a Texas A&M audience an opportunity to see – and predict – the world the way he does by challenging them to make decisions probabilistically using big data to supplement instinct and experience.
In his discussion presented by MSC Bethancourt and titled The Signal and the Noise: An Evening with Nate Silver, he outlined why the world hasn’t become a more predictable place despite large scale data accumulation and how big data can be a guide for more accurate decision making and better outcomes.
For Silver, big data can sometimes drown people who try to use it in information. The solution, he said, is striking a balance. Instead of using instinct to make a decision and using data to justify that decision, let data chart the course and incorporate common sense and experience to handle the rest.