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July 27, 2020

 

 👋 <<First Name>>,

AstraZeneca sound familiar? The same company rushing to produce 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine has just struck a $6 billion cancer drug deal.

In other news, the price of gold has hit a record high and the new stimulus package looks to cut the $600/week UE benefit by two-thirds.

THE STORIES 

👮 Police brutality ain't equal

🎯 Bullseye

ECONOMICS & PUBLIC POLICY

👮 Police brutality ain't equal

 

WHAT 

  • It lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds until Derek Chauvin took his knee off of George Floyd’s neck. His death and last words “They’ll kill me...they’ll kill me” have sparked a renewed conversation about police brutality.

  • Roland Fryer, the youngest African-American professor to receive tenure at Harvard, studied an important question: Does police brutality adversely affect minorities?

  • He found no empirical evidence for discrimination in officer-involved shootings.

  • On the other hand, he found that Blacks and Hispanics are more than 50% more likely to experience non-lethal police brutality 

WHO

  • Roland Fryer is a Harvard Economist and recipient of the 2015 John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to the most influential economist under 40. 

WHY SHOULD I CARE 

TL;DR 

  • Blacks and Hispanics are 50% more likely to experience non-lethal police brutality. There’s little accountability for many officers and police violence could have consequential implications for minorities.

READ MORE HERE

The Office Hour staff recognizes the delicacy of this subject. We want to echo our efforts to stick to the facts and provide a well-rounded perspective.


PSYCHOLOGY & DECISION SCIENCE

🎯 Bullseye

 

WHAT 

  • You might have heard the popular study finding that ‘experts’ who try to predict political and economic developments are no more accurate than “chimps throwing darts,” or random guessing.

  • As fun as it may be to rebuke the pundits we see on television for making loads of money to perhaps give us no real insight, this isn’t the whole picture; there are, in fact, handfuls of people with real predicting ability -- when they say some event (e.g. an economic recession) has a 30% chance of occurring, those events occur roughly 30% of the time.

  • These “superforecasters” aren’t fortune-tellers, so how are they so accurate? Research by some of the foremost thinkers in psychology, behavioral economics, and decision theory highlights a few commonalities among these special individuals, and time after time studies show that their accuracy doesn’t really come from what they know, rather how they think.

  • A few of these commonalities include a tendency for statistical and probabilistic thinking, an ability to understand a problem from the perspectives of many different people, as well as general humility and openness to new ideas or changing their minds. The main accuracy-enhancing traits found by these researchers are summarized here.

WHO

WHY SHOULD I CARE 

  • We’ve become accustomed to hearing the word ‘prediction’ in ML/AI contexts, but many important questions are yet unanswerable by AI. For example, the question of “Will an armed conflict between China and India break out within the next 18 months?” is difficult to model, so we must lean heavily on human judgement and forecasting.

  • While a great deal of research has been done on how to increase ML/AI prediction accuracy, comparatively little research has been done on what can make humans more accurate predictors. Tetlock’s pioneering research shows that there are, in fact, skills and modes of thinking that one can practice to improve their judgement of the future.

TL;DR 

  • The science of human prediction accuracy is a relatively new field, and researchers over the last several years have uncovered wealths of information about what can make us better forecasters.

READ MORE HERE
Think you might be good at betting on real world events? Check out Kalshi, a startup building a market for this. 

PROFESSOR'S CORNER

Okay fine, we won't give you a brainteaser to start your week off. I know just what you need to satisfy your mid-summer crisis: a good book.

  • We're lucky to receive another rec from Dan Gilbert, well-renowned Professor of Psychology at Harvard. This time, it's Girl Decoded by Rana El Kaliouby
  • "Girl Decoded chronicles el Kaliouby’s journey from being a 'nice Egyptian girl' to becoming a woman, carving her own path as she brings emotion to AI."
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