Friday, February 20, 2009

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

Stuart points to this article in the Economist which discusses the latest TED conference. He tells me to look out for Bruce Bueno de Mesquita's TED talk. It is (as far as I can tell) not up on the site yet, but here is an interview with him on Al Jazerra by Riz Khan.


Game Theory fascinated me at university. I only did a brief introductory course which included rather than focused on it, and maybe it was just that I was more fascinated by the movie 'A Beautiful Mind'. I had heard that to a degree it had kind of run its course and become overly mathematical and impractical, but maybe Prof Bueno de Mesquita is on to something?

I am a little skeptical about anyone who claims to have a 90% success rate. I just don't buy it. Especially when they say that they can explain away a lot of the other 10%.

If you come to me and tell me you have a model that gets it right 60% or 70% of the time, I may listen. Skeptically, but I will listen. 90% and I start to smell something.

That being said, it is true that computers and models can be used to help us make decisions and narrow down likely outcomes. I do believe that stripping out biases and processing information can lead to better decisions.

I will delay judgement on Prof Nostradamus.
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