26 Wonderful Nate Silver Quotes

Nate Silver is an American statistician and writer that analyzes baseball and political elections. As acting editor in chief for ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight blog and special correspondent on ABC news, Silver is best known as being a political analyst and blogger. Here is a look at some of the best Nate Silver quotes ever recorded.

“All models are wrong, but some models are useful.”90 What he meant by that is that all models are simplifications of the universe, as they must necessarily be.”

“Distinguishing the signal from the noise requires both scientific knowledge and self-knowledge: the serenity to accept the things we cannot predict, the courage to predict the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

“Economy is not baseball, where the game is always played by the same rules.”

“Finding patterns is easy in any kind of data-rich environment; that’s what mediocre gamblers do. The key is in determining whether the patterns represent noise or signal.”

“Good innovators typically think very big and they think very small. New ideas are sometimes found in the most granular details of a problem where few others bother to look.”

“He does not depend on insider tips, crooked referees, or other sorts of hustles to make his bets. Nor does he have a “system” of any kind. He uses computer simulations, but does not rely upon them exclusively.”

“If political scientists couldn’t predict the downfall of the Soviet Union—perhaps the most important event in the latter half of the twentieth century—then what exactly were they good for?”

“If there is a mutual distrust between the weather forecaster and the public, the public may not listen when they need to most.”

“Ignoring data is often a tip-off that the forecaster is overconfident, or is overfitting her model—that she is interested in showing off rather than trying to be accurate.”

“Most of you will have heard the maxim”correlation does not imply causation.” Just because two variables have a statistical relationship with each other does not mean that one is responsible for the other.”

“Not only does political coverage often lose the signal—it frequently accentuates the noise.”

“One of the pervasive risks that we face in the information age, as I wrote in the introduction, is that even if the amount of knowledge in the world is increasing, the gap between what we know and what we think we know may be widening.”

“Risk greases the wheels of a free-market economy; uncertainty grinds them to a halt.”

“Shakespeare’s plays often turn on the idea of fate, as much drama does. What makes them so tragic is the gap between what his characters might like to accomplish and what fate provides them.”

“Successful gamblers, instead, think of the future as speckles of probability, flickering upward and downward like a stock market ticker to every new jolt of information.”

“The irony is that by being less focused on your results, you may achieve better ones.”

“The more interviews that an expert had done with the press, Tetlock found, the worse his predictions tended to be.”

“The most calamitous failures of prediction usually have a lot in common. We focus on those signals that tell a story about the world as we would like it to be, not how it really is.”

“The signal is the truth. The noise is what distracts us from the truth.”

“The story the data tells us is often the one we’d like to hear, and we usually make sure that it has a happy ending.”

“We need to stop, and admit it: we have a prediction problem. We love to predict things—and we aren’t very good at it.”

“What a well-designed forecasting system can do is sort out which statistics are relatively more susceptible to luck; batting average, for instance, is more erratic than home runs.”

“When catastrophe strikes, we look for a signal in the noise – anything that might explain the chaos that we see all around us and bring order to the world again.”

“When we advance more confident claims and they fail to come to fruition, this constitutes much more powerful evidence against our hypothesis.”

“Wherever there is human judgment there is the potential for bias.”

“Who needs theory when you have so much information? But this is categorically the wrong attitude to take toward forecasting, especially in a field like economics where the data is so noisy.”

Nate Silver sits down with the Chief Economist of Google during this Google Talk to discuss his book, ‘The Signal and the Noise.’ Silver is nationally regarded as correctly predicting the winner of all 50 states and the District of Columbia during the 2012 Presidential Election.

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