Predicting the president: Two ways election forecasts are misunderstood

Everyone wants to predict who will win the 2020 presidential election. Here are 2 misconceptions to bust so people don't proclaim the death of data like they did in 2016.

  • There are two common misconceptions that muddy people's understanding of election forecasting, says Eric Siegel: Blaming the prognosticator and predicting candidates versus predicting voters.
  • In 2016, Nate Silver's forecast put about 70% odds on Clinton winning. Despite people's shock at the election results, that forecast was not wrong.
  • As predictions for the 2020 presidential election ramp up, it's important to understand what election forecasting means and to bust the misconceptions that warp our expectations.
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MIT’s Top 5 tech breakthroughs for 2020

These are the top advances in technology that will impact the world in the coming decade.

Image source: Drew Beamer/Unsplash/Big Think
  • Each year, Massachusetts Institute of Technology lists the biggest tech advances on the horizon.
  • Pivotal new technologies will change the way we communicate, spend, and get well.
  • We're about to find out what recent discoveries really mean in our daily lives.
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The power of Moore’s law: Predicting the future

The power to predict the next revolution keeps companies on top.

  • In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore observed that the number of transistors placed in an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years, meaning computing power doubles while the size of devices shrink. This is known as Moore's law.
  • IBM was king of the heap in the 1950s, says physicist Michio Kaku, however it failed to read Moore's law as a sign that supercomputers would be replaced by smart phones — handheld devices that contain more computing power than NASA at the time of the Moon landing.
  • Microsoft rose up in IBM's ashes by predicting the age of personal computing, but they too failed to account for an exponential change: the internet. The next revolution is 5G and AI, and companies who are setting themselves up for that future will be the ones who rise to the top.
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Could ‘Planet 9’ actually be an ancient black hole?

A new paper suggests a primordial black hole may be making things weird at the edge of our solar system.

Image source: Vadim Sadovski /IgorZh/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • Though a Planet 9 has been hypothesized, we can't seem to find it, at least not yet.
  • The strange orbits of distant bodies and weird gravitational anomalies beg for an explanation.
  • Scientists propose a hunt for telltale gamma rays from a primordial black hole.
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The writing on the wall: The coming collapse of the industrial livestock industry

A new report sees a major disruption in where we get our food.

Image source: Celiafoto / Shutterstock
  • We're just a few years from the tipping point in engineered food.
  • Traditional agriculture's 10,000-year-run is about over.
  • Better foods, tastier foods, and cheaper foods are on the way.
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