Saturday, March 28, 2009

An Expert's Take on "Experts"

After assessing 2,000 predictions by 284 experts on subjects of their specialties and on subjects that they knew little about over two decades, Philip Tetlock, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley wrote in his 2005 book, “Expert Political Judgment”:

“It made virtually no difference whether participants had doctorates, whether they were economists, political scientists, journalists or historians, whether they had policy experience or access to classified information, or whether they had logged many or few years of experience”.

Mr.Tetlock referred such "experts" to hedgehogs with ideological leaning and a black and white view of the world and compared them to foxes who are more likely to get things right because they are not dogmatic and are more inclined to see complexity and nuance.

So next time you see Dr in front of a policymaker's name, you better check whether she or he is more of a Dr Hedgehog or a Dr Fox!

2 comments:

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

And then there are natural born toxic hedgehogs like Sithanen.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Interesting collection of scenarios from The Economist.