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jerryking : infoliteracy   12

Fine-Tune Your B.S. Detector: You’ll Need It - WSJ
March 19, 2018 | WSJ | By Elizabeth Bernstein.

HOW CAN YOU SPOT B.S.?
Check the source. Is this person an expert or in a position to know the information? Why is he or she telling me? What does the person have to gain?

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember that we all suffer from confirmation bias—we’re more likely to believe something that confirms what we already think or want.

Ask questions. Research shows people are more likely to B.S. when they feel they can get away with it. “Ask them simply: ‘Why do you think that? How do you know that is true?’” ......“This will get them thinking critically.”

Don’t trust your gut. People who pause and think about whether information is true are better able to detect false information, research shows. “Rely on your prior knowledge,”

Ask for evidence. This is different than an explanation, which people can continue to spin. Facts don’t lie—but check them to make sure they are real.

Pay attention to people who discount evidence. “I don’t care what the experts say” is a red flag that the person is using B.S.

Stay offline when you’re tired. Research shows we’re more vulnerable to false claims when our cognitive resources—that is, brain power—are depleted.
5_W’s  brainpower  bullshitake  confirmation_bias  critical_thinking  Elizabeth_Bernstein  evidence  gut_feelings  howto  infoliteracy  misinformation  pay_attention  power_of_the_pause  questions  skepticism  unshared_information 
march 2018 by jerryking
A field guide to lies : critical thinking in the information age : Levitin, Daniel J., author. : Book, Regular Print Book : Toronto Public Library
Year/Format: 2016, Book , 304 pages

It's becoming harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. How do we distinguish misinformation, pseudo-facts, distortions and outright lies from reliable information? In A Field Guide to Lies, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin outlines the many pitfalls of the information age and provides the means to spot and avoid them. Levitin groups his field guide into two categories--statistical infomation and faulty arguments--ultimately showing how science is the bedrock of critical thinking. It is easy to lie with stats and graphs as few people "take the time to look under the hood and see how they work." And, just because there's a number on something, doesn't mean that the number was arrived at properly. Logic can help to evaluate whether or not a chain of reasoning is valid. And "infoliteracy" teaches us that not all sources of information are equal, and that biases can distort data. Faced with a world too eager to flood us with information, the best response is to be prepared. A Field Guide to Lies helps us avoid learning a lot of things that aren't true.
books  nonfiction  critical_thinking  infoliteracy  biases  lying  information_overload  TPL  Daniel_Levitin  engaged_citizenry  signals  noise  information_sources 
september 2016 by jerryking
How Not to Drown in Numbers - NYTimes.com
MAY 2, 2015| NYT |By ALEX PEYSAKHOVICH and SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ.

If you’re trying to build a self-driving car or detect whether a picture has a cat in it, big data is amazing. But here’s a secret: If you’re trying to make important decisions about your health, wealth or happiness, big data is not enough.

The problem is this: The things we can measure are never exactly what we care about. Just trying to get a single, easy-to-measure number higher and higher (or lower and lower) doesn’t actually help us make the right choice. For this reason, the key question isn’t “What did I measure?” but “What did I miss?”...So what can big data do to help us make big decisions? One of us, Alex, is a data scientist at Facebook. The other, Seth, is a former data scientist at Google. There is a special sauce necessary to making big data work: surveys and the judgment of humans — two seemingly old-fashioned approaches that we will call small data....For one thing, many teams ended up going overboard on data. It was easy to measure offense and pitching, so some organizations ended up underestimating the importance of defense, which is harder to measure. In fact, in his book “The Signal and the Noise,” Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com estimates that the Oakland A’s were giving up 8 to 10 wins per year in the mid-1990s because of their lousy defense.

And data-driven teams found out the hard way that scouts were actually important...We are optimists about the potential of data to improve human lives. But the world is incredibly complicated. No one data set, no matter how big, is going to tell us exactly what we need. The new mountains of blunt data sets make human creativity, judgment, intuition and expertise more valuable, not less.

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From Market Research: Safety Not Always in Numbers | Qualtrics ☑
Author: Qualtrics|July 28, 2010

Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” [Warning of the danger of overquantification) Although many market research experts would say that quantitative research is the safest bet when one has limited resources, it can be dangerous to assume that it is always the best option.
human_ingenuity  data  analytics  small_data  massive_data_sets  data_driven  information_overload  dark_data  measurements  creativity  judgment  intuition  Nate_Silver  expertise  datasets  information_gaps  unknowns  underestimation  infoliteracy  overlooked_opportunities  sense-making  easy-to-measure  Albert_Einstein  special_sauce  metrics  overlooked  defensive_tactics  emotional_intelligence  EQ  soft_skills  overquantification  false_confidence 
may 2015 by jerryking
Big Data should inspire humility, not hype
Mar. 04 2013| The Globe and Mail |Konrad Yakabuski.

" mathematical models have their limits.

The Great Recession should have made that clear. The forecasters and risk managers who relied on supposedly foolproof algorithms all failed to see the crash coming. The historical economic data they fed into their computers did not go back far enough. Their models were not built to account for rare events. Yet, policy makers bought their rosy forecasts hook, line and sinker.

You might think that Nate Silver, the whiz-kid statistician who correctly predicted the winner of the 2012 U.S. presidential election in all 50 states, would be Big Data’s biggest apologist. Instead, he warns against putting our faith in the predictive power of machines.

“Our predictions may be more prone to failure in the era of Big Data,” The New York Times blogger writes in his recent book, The Signal and the Noise. “As there is an exponential increase in the amount of available information, there is likewise an exponential increase in the number of hypotheses to investigate … [But] most of the data is just noise, as most of the universe is filled with empty space.”

Perhaps the biggest risk we run in the era of Big Data is confusing correlation with causation – or rather, being duped by so-called “data scientists” who tell us one thing leads to another. The old admonition about “lies, damn lies and statistics” is more appropriate than ever."
massive_data_sets  data_driven  McKinsey  skepticism  contrarians  data_scientists  Konrad_Yakabuski  modelling  Nate_Silver  humility  risks  books  correlations  causality  algorithms  infoliteracy  noise  signals  hype 
march 2013 by jerryking
Is Algebra Necessary? -
July 28, 2012 | NYTimes.com | By ANDREW HACKER.

Peter Braunfeld of the University of Illinois tells his students, “Our civilization would collapse without mathematics.” He’s absolutely right.

Algebraic algorithms underpin animated movies, investment strategies and airline ticket prices. And we need people to understand how those things work and to advance our frontiers.

Quantitative literacy clearly is useful in weighing all manner of public policies, from the Affordable Care Act, to the costs and benefits of environmental regulation, to the impact of climate change. Being able to detect and identify ideology at work behind the numbers is of obvious use. Ours is fast becoming a statistical age, which raises the bar for informed citizenship. What is needed is not textbook formulas but greater understanding of where various numbers come from, and what they actually convey....mathematics teachers at every level could create exciting courses in what I call “citizen statistics.” This would not be a backdoor version of algebra, as in the Advanced Placement syllabus. Nor would it focus on equations used by scholars when they write for one another. Instead, it would familiarize students with the kinds of numbers that describe and delineate our personal and public lives.

It could, for example, teach students how the Consumer Price Index is computed, what is included and how each item in the index is weighted — and include discussion about which items should be included and what weights they should be given.

This need not involve dumbing down. Researching the reliability of numbers can be as demanding as geometry. More and more colleges are requiring courses in “quantitative reasoning.” In fact, we should be starting that in kindergarten.

I hope that mathematics departments can also create courses in the history and philosophy of their discipline, as well as its applications in early cultures. Why not mathematics in art and music — even poetry — along with its role in assorted sciences? The aim would be to treat mathematics as a liberal art, making it as accessible and welcoming as sculpture or ballet.
mathematics  algorithms  numeracy  infoliteracy  public_policy  CPI  liberal_arts  engaged_citizenry  quantitative  value_judgements  logic_&_reasoning  cross-disciplinary 
july 2012 by jerryking
Knowledge of math = personal success + better citizenship - The Globe and Mail
September 2, 2010 | Globe & Mail editorial.

Modern citizens should be able to approach quantitative studies and claims both critically and respectfully. Indeed, non-scientific lay people may be better able to evaluate them than they expect, because statistical studies often depend upon some quite loose, non-mathematical concepts, and common sense may detect imprecision and even fallacies in the very premises of the research in question.

Democracy and the market economy, in this age of mathematical science, require a public that is numerate enough to have some sense of what is valid - and won't just acquiesce or shrug their shoulders.
citizenship  civics  democracy  engaged_citizenry  fallacies_follies  imprecision  infoliteracy  life_skills  mathematics  numeracy 
september 2010 by jerryking
The future of the library
Posted by Seth Godin on January 09, 2010. What should libraries
do to become relevant in the digital age? Seth's proposal: train people
to take intellectual initiative. Since information is now free, what's
needed is training leaders, sherpas and teachers who will push everyone
from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using
information and in connecting with and leading others.
future  libraries  Seth_Godin  critical_thinking  infoliteracy 
january 2010 by jerryking
40 ideas we need now -- Unlearning the tyranny of facts
Nov. 2006 | This Magazine | DAVID NAYLOR. Engage in critical
thinking. Pinpoint flaws in logic, dissect rhetorical flourishes away
from the core of an argument, examine issues from different perspectives
and differentiate science from pseudo-science...We are still very
focused on facts—arrayed in patterns, conveyed passively, or uncovered
more or less predictably through cookbook experimentation and
unchallenging exploration. That emphasis seems incongruous. With
computers able to store and search vast amounts of information, facts
are cheap [JCK:the Web is really a source of "external knowledge"]...What might the next generation of learners do instead of
memorizing facts, you ask? Among other things, they could read and play
music. Play more sports. Write prose and poetry. Acquire a skeptic’s
toolkit of sound reasoning skills. Debate highly-charged issues and
learn the lost art of rational and respectful discourse. Study
inspirational biographies, not to memorize facts, but to promote
understanding of how one might lead a more meaningful life.

[From my own note: the presence of facts does not mean that the truth is present. The "truth" is a more complicated thing than mere facts alone]
agreeably_disagree  argumentation  biographies  commoditization_of_information  critical_thinking  David_Naylor  disagreements  external_knowledge  facts  ideas  infoliteracy  inspiration  logic_&_reasoning  poetry  public_discourse  rhetoric  skepticism  sports  uToronto 
may 2009 by jerryking

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