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A Consumer Reports for punditry

How is it that so-called political and financial experts turn out to be a stunningly poor source of expertise? After twenty years of tracking 82,000 predictions by 284 experts, Prof Tetlock gives the answer:

Talent bookers for television shows and reporters tended to call up experts who provided strong, coherent points of view, who saw things in blacks and whites. People who shouted — like, yes, Jim Cramer!

Mr. Tetlock called experts such as these the “hedgehogs,”... Hedgehogs tend to have a focused worldview, an ideological leaning, strong convictions; foxes are more cautious, more centrist, more likely to adjust their views, more pragmatic, more prone to self-doubt, more inclined to see complexity and nuance. And it turns out that while foxes don’t give great sound-bites, they are far more likely to get things right.

The marketplace of ideas doesn’t clear out bad pundits and bad ideas partly because there’s no accountability. As Prof. Tetlock suggests, we need a Consumer Reports for punditry. Here's a YouTube video of Tetlock speaking on the topic.

The New Yorker has in-depth article on Tetlock's work.

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