Monday, February 27, 2017

Alternate History


'Bernie would've won'. 'Hillary would've won'. It is comforting to think in alternate histories, 'if things had happened differently'. They didn't. Hindsight Bias is the tendency to think where we are now was more predictable than it was. There will always be someone who got it right, particularly if they make lots of predictions, and don't keep fantastic records (especially of their mistakes). To see if someone is good at making decisions, they need a track record. The problem is... a long enough track record requires lots of decisions, and lots of time, to build confidence. There is a trade-off between sufficient evidence, and the evidence being stale. A better starting point is accepting that the world is uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Build resilience, and do the best you can.

"The idea that the future is unpredictable is undermined every day by the ease with which the past is explained."
Daniel Kahneman

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