Experts Are Bad at Predicting the Future

“Getting a forecast from an expert may not be your best option, according to an article in The Atlantic, entitled “The Peculiar Blindness of Experts.” The article unpacks a 1984 study that lasted 20 years and examined how well experts could predict the future. The collected data comprised 82,361 probability estimates for future events, made by 284 experts who averaged 12+ years of experience in their respective fields.

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The results? The 284 highly-educated experts were bad at making predictions. Really bad. Particularly when making long-term predictions about their own field. In fact, their guesses got worse as their level of education and knowledge increased, as if all of that specialized knowledge allowed them to rationalize any viewpoint they decided to adopt.

However, there was one subgroup of scholars who were able to predict the future more accurately than the rest: the generalists. The scholars who did not specialize in any particular field were more accurate than their specialized counterparts. These generalists tended to be more curious, read an unusual amount from eclectic sources, and ask more questions. They tended to learn more.

It pays to be curious in the oracle business.”

Max at StartEngine

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