Quote by Niels Bohr: “Prediction is very difficult, especially about ...”
Forecasting – Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future!
A few weeks into my new job at Midagon, people keep asking me what I mean when I talk about predictive analytics. Fundamentally, predictive analytics is statistics with a new fashionable label. Weather forecast is predictive analytics. The meteorologist analyzes the current weather conditions, reviews previous outcomes in similar circumstances, and assesses the most probable outcome. If in most cases similar circumstances than today say, light west wind, cloudy have been followed by rain the next day, then the weather forecast for tomorrow is rainy. In the past, storing data has been quite tricky, and accessing and processing it even more difficult. We need highly trained specialists who have learned the skills of accessing previous records and calculating the probabilities, often unconsciously.
The question posed in this post is how accurate do we need to be with our projections to be useful?
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This is because, as Niels Bohr says, the signals indicate that the process contains features that may or may not be replicated in the future. We can see that there are no signals and that the data is following a very strong seasonal pattern. This means the results are likely to be dominated by features of the past that will be replicated in the future. The more precise one thing you measure, the fuzzier another becomes. So asking for a forecast which is a single number only without a range of possible values , means that the probability of it actually occurring approaches zero!
Niels Bohr? Samuel Goldwyn? Robert Storm Petersen? Yogi Berra? Mark Twain? Dear Quote Investigator: There is a family of popular humorous sayings about the formidable task of successful prognostication.