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Whats the Point?

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A show about our data age. Each week, Jody Avirgan brings you stories and interviews on how data is changing our lives.

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Micromotives and Macrobehavior was originally published over twenty-five years ago, yet the stories it tells feel just as fresh today. And the subject of these stories—how small and seemingly meaningless decisions and actions by individuals often lead to significant unintended consequences for a large group—is more important than ever. In one famous example, Thomas C. Schelling shows that a slight-but-not-malicious preference to have neighbors of the same race eventually leads to completely segregated populations.

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As a Wharton professor, Philip Tetlock showed in a landmark 2005 study that even experts’ predictions are only slightly better than chance. However, an important and underreported conclusion of that study was that some experts do have real foresight, and Tetlock has spent the past decade trying to figure out why. What makes some people so good? And can this talent be taught?

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In talking about the distinction between Mathematicians and Physicists, Feynman touches upon the distinction between Mathematical and Scientific Inquiry.

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