Monday, August 18, 2014

From JSM 2014: Steven Stigler's Seven Pillars of Statistics

The full list plus explanations can be found here.

In response to those that fall in the "more data means we don't have to worry about anything camp":

The law of diminishing information: If 10 pieces of data are good, are 20 pieces twice as good? No, the value of additional information diminishes like the square root of the number of observations, which is why Stigler nicknamed this pillar the "root n rule." The square root appears in formulas such as the standard error of the mean, which describes the probability that the mean of a sample will be close to the mean of a population.

I have noticed lately that when I tell people they might be better off with a well-collected sample, rather than trying to get "all the data" they look at me like I've lost my mind.

Then there's this:

Design: R. A. Fisher, in an address to the Indian Statistical Congress (1938) said "To consult the statistician after an experiment is finished is often merely to ask him to conduct a post mortem examination. He can perhaps say what the experiment died of." 
Of course, maybe actually I have lost my mind; I chose to be a statistician. :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pew canvasses experts on "AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs"

From the report:

Key themes: reasons to be hopeful
  1. Advances in technology may displace certain types of work, but historically they have been a net creator of jobs.
  2. We will adapt to these changes by inventing entirely new types of work, and by taking advantage of uniquely human capabilities.
  3. Technology will free us from day-to-day drudgery, and allow us to define our relationship with “work” in a more positive and socially beneficial way.
  4. Ultimately, we as a society control our own destiny through the choices we make.

Key themes: reasons to be concerned
  1. Impacts from automation have thus far impacted mostly blue-collar employment; the coming wave of innovation threatens to upend white-collar work as well.
  2. Certain highly-skilled workers will succeed wildly in this new environment—but far more may be displaced into lower paying service industry jobs at best, or permanent unemployment at worst.
  3. Our educational system is not adequately preparing us for work of the future, and our political and economic institutions are poorly equipped to handle these hard choices.

Read the full report here.