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Philip Tetlock — Why Foxes Are Better Forecasters Than Hedgehogs

Philip Tetlock, author of Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?, gives an interesting lecture (video below) on why foxes are better at forecasting than hedgehogs. Archilochus, the Greek poet, explained the differences between foxes and hedgehogs by writing: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

Tetlock concludes that the content of what you think is not an accurate predictor of success in prediction. It turns out the most important thing predicting success is how you think. (However, simple statistical models beat foxes — more on that coming soon.)

For more on foxes and hedgehogs, see Generalists vs. Specialists (And the Specialist’s Dilemma) and The Hedgehog and the Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy’s View of History.

Still curious? Check out What’s Wrong With Expert Predictions, Philip Tetlock on Expert Prediction, and The Future of Prediction. If you’re really curious, read Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know? and The Predictioneer’s Game.