Today’s world is more thoroughly quantified than ever before. We are awash in numbers, statistics, figures, algorithms, and data graphics. Quantitative information is power: it is used to convey objectivity, to strengthen arguments, and to inform decisions - and all too often it is used to impress, overwhelm, and persuade without any conviction to truth. Fortunately, one doesn’t need an advanced degree in statistics or computer science to see right through the vast majority of quantitative misinformation. Drawing on examples of misleading claims from the COVID pandemic, misuses of artificial intelligence and other world events, we will empower you to push back when confronted by numerical arguments and data-hungry technologies. By focusing attention on the data sources and their weaknesses, rather than on the complex and often obscure algorithms and statistical procedures, you can see through the hype and hold your own against those who would sell you digital snake-oil.
Speakers: Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West, University of Washington
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