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jerryking : communicating_risks   6

Medical Professor Tried to Help Patients Understand Their Odds - WSJ
By James R. Hagerty
Dec. 14, 2018

Together with H. Gilbert Welch, Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Woloshin wrote a 2008 book, “Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics.” They also worked with the National Cancer Institute to create the Know Your Chances website..... Lisa Schwartz [worked towards]... helping people make informed decisions about whether to try a medication or treatment.

She devoted her career to making patients smarter about assessing risks and advising doctors and journalists about how to communicate more clearly on medical issues.... She and her husband, Dr. Steven Woloshin, also coached people on how to assess odds. If a drug was found to reduce the risks of a disease by 80%, that may sound persuasive. But if those chances were only 2% to begin with, the difference made by the drug might not be sufficient to justify the side effects.....Dr. Schwartz taught junior faculty members and post-doctoral students to write and speak more effectively. Clear writing, she often said, required clear thinking. "Our goal has been to give people a realistic sense of what is known and what is not known—how hopeful or worried they should be.”
books  communicating_risks  decision_making  doctor's_visits  doctors  health_risks  medical_communication  obituaries  physicians  plain_English  probabilities  risk-assessment  smart_people  unknowns  women 
december 2018 by jerryking
Winton Capital’s David Harding on making millions through maths
NOVEMBER 25, 2016 | Financial Times | by Clive Cookson.

Harding’s career is founded on the relentless pursuit of mathematical and scientific methods to predict movements in markets. This is a never-ending process because predictive tools lose their power as markets change; new ones are always needed. “We have 450 people in the company, of whom 250 are involved in research, data collection or technology,” he says. That is equivalent to a medium-sized university physics department....Harding's approach to making money is to exploit failures in the efficient market theory...the problem with the EMT is that “It treats economics like a physical science when, in fact, it is a human or social science. Humans are prone to unpredictable behaviour, to overreaction or slumbering inaction, to mania and panic.”...The Winton investment system is based instead on “the belief that scientific methods provide a good means of extracting meaning from noisy market data. We don’t make assumptions about how markets should work, rather we use advanced statistical techniques to seek patterns in huge data sets and base all our investment strategies on the analysis of empirical evidence...Harding emphasises the breadth and volume of investments involved, covering bonds, currencies, commodities, market indices and individual equities. The aim is to exploit a large number of weak predictive signals, he says: “We don’t expect to find any strong relationships between data and the price of the market. That may sound counter-intuitive but if there are strong relationships, someone else is going to be exploiting those. Weak relationships are where we have a competitive advantage.” Weather strategies are one feature of Winton research, including analysis of cloud cover and soil moisture levels to predict the prices of agricultural commodities. Other important indicators, for which maths can uncover value not fully reflected in market prices, include seasonal factors and inventory levels across supply chains....When I ask Harding about the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to guide investment decisions, he bristles slightly. “There is a sudden upsurge of excitement about AI,” he says, “but we have used techniques that would be described as machine learning for at least 30 years.”

Essentially, he says, quantitative investing, self-driving cars and speech recognition are all applications of “information engineering”....he heads off to a lecture by German psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer, who runs the Harding Centre for Risk Literacy in Berlin
communicating_risks  mathematics  hedge_funds  investment_research  financiers  Winton_Capital  physics  Renaissance_Technologies  James_Simons  moguls  quantitative  panics  overreaction  massive_data_sets  philanthropy  machine_learning  signals  human_factor  weak_links  JumpMath 
november 2016 by jerryking
How to make good guesses
| FT | Tim Harford

“base rate”,

Base rates are not just a forecasting aid. They’re vital in clearly understanding and communicating all manner of risks. We routinely hear claims of the form that eating two rashers of bacon a day raises the risk of bowel cancer by 18 per cent. But without a base rate (how common is bowel cancer?) this information is not very useful. As it happens, in the UK, bowel cancer affects six out of 100 people; a bacon-rich diet would cause one additional case of bowel cancer per 100 people.

Thinking about base rates is particularly important when we’re considering screening programmes or other diagnostic tests, including DNA tests for criminal cases.
base_rates  communicating_risks  economics  forecasting  guessing  howto  predictions  probabilities  Tim_Harford  ratios 
april 2016 by jerryking
Master these 10 processes to sharpen your project management skills - TechRepublic
we're going to focus on 10 basic areas:

Define the project
Plan the work
Manage the workplan
Manage issues
Manage scope
Manage risks
Manage communication
Manage documentation
Manage quality
Manage metrics
communicating_risks  detail_oriented  project_management  WaudWare 
april 2014 by jerryking
Death by cellphone? Put the fear industry on hold - The Globe and Mail
Jun. 04, 2011
Trevor Butterworth is a NYC-based journalist who specializes in risk
analysis & phony health scares. “I’ll tell you what we should be
really worried about,” he said, “Lawn mowers.” “Scientists and
researchers aren’t very good at communicating risk,” says Butterworth.
And people aren’t very good at understanding it. We are far more fearful
of the extraordinary, low-risk things that hardly ever kill us
(terrorists, airplane crashes, shark attacks) than the ordinary
high-risk things that kill us all the time (driving to Grandma’s for
Sunday dinner)..

Our estimate of risk is anything but rational....Geoffrey Kabat is the
author of Hyping Health Risks: Environmental Hazards in Daily Life and
the Science of Epidemiology. He says that many different actors – not
just the media – contribute to the hyping of health risks. They include
scientists promoting their results, health & regulatory agencies
that need issues to promote, as well as activists, politicians &
lawyers.
mobile_phones  cancers  Margaret_Wente  Communicating_&_Connecting  communicating_risks  risks  books  frequency_and_severity  low-risk  high-risk  risk-assessment  health_risks 
june 2011 by jerryking
How to be wise before the event
March 9 2009 | Financial Times | By Stefan Stern.

Restraint is back in fashion in these recessionary times. People have lost their appetite for risk.

But hang on a minute. No risk will mean no reward. You need new markets and customers to grow, and that means taking steps into the unknown. I doubt that anyone will be suggesting, in this newspaper’s new series of articles on the future of capitalism, that risk-taking should be abolished.

Bad risk-management helped get us into the current mess. It is vital that we learn the right lessons about risk from the crisis. What are they?

The new edition of Harvard Business Review contains a lucid piece of analysis from René Stulz, professor of banking and monetary economics at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. While his principal focus is on the financial sector, the diagnosis will be helpful to managers in any business or organisation.

Prof Stulz describes six ways in which risk has been mismanaged. First, there has been too much reliance on historical data among today’s decision-makers. Extrapolating from the past can provide, at best, only partial guidance for the future. Financial innovation has created a new world. No wonder some managers were unprepared for the calamitous fall in asset prices and demand. This collapse was unimaginable to anyone basing their thinking on post-war performance alone.

Second, narrow daily measures – in banking these are known as “value at risk” measures – have underestimated the risks that are being run. The assumption behind a daily measure of risk is that action can be taken quickly (through an asset sale) to remove that risk. But, as the current crisis has shown, such rapid moves become impossible when markets seize up.

Third, knowable risks have been overlooked. Managers who work in silos may appreciate the risks that they personally are exposed to. But they may not see how risks being run elsewhere in the business could affect them too. Someone – a chief risk officer? – needs to track them all.

Fourth, concealed risks have been overlooked. Incentives have proved to be particularly dangerous in this regard. Some traders and lenders may have enjoyed taking risky decisions that in the short term appeared to be delivering well for them and their organisations. But they had no incentive to report any downside risk. And unreported risks tend to expand.

Fifth, there has been a failure to communicate effectively. It is dangerous, Prof Stulz says, when risk managers are so expert in their field that they lose the ability to explain in simple terms what they are doing. The board may develop a false sense of security by failing to appreciate the complexity of the risks being managed.

Last, risks have not been managed in real time. Organisations have to be able to monitor fast-changing markets and where necessary respond to them without delay.

Prof Stulz offers a useful technical analysis. But a true understanding of risk also requires a maturity of outlook, an ability to see the big picture, and deep experience. This last is a rare commodity: impossible to fake and acquired only over time.

In a new McKinsey publication called What Matters, the 90-year-old investment manager and author Peter Bernstein offers some sober insights. “What is risk management all about anyway?” he writes. “We use the words as though everybody understands what we are talking about. But life is not that simple. Risk means more things can happen than will happen – which is a fancy way of saying we do not know what is going to happen.”

Mr Bernstein’s central point – not revolutionary, but unarguable – is that downside risks must be assessed rigorously. Someone old enough to remember the Wall Street crash is probably worth listening to right now.[JCK: elder wisdom]

“Nothing is 100 per cent sure,” Mr Bernstein says. “While a 95 per cent probability is statistically significant, that still leaves us in the dark about the remaining 5 per cent; we may decide to accept that uncertainty and bet on the 95 per cent sure thing, but there is still a possibility of being wrong.

“The crucial question to ask is, ‘What would be the consequence if that 5 per cent chance comes to pass?’ ”

Welcome to the less exciting but more soundly based era of calculated risks. For the foreseeable future, business leaders will be trying to be wise before rather than after the event.
beforemath  business  communicating_risks  downside_risks  elder_wisdom  false_sense_of_security  fast-changing  financial_innovation  hidden  historical_data  management  McKinsey  overreliance  Peter_Bernstein  recessions  real-time  risks  risk-assessment  risk-management  Stefan_Stern  the_big_picture  VaR  what_really_matters  wisdom 
may 2009 by jerryking

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