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Ignite DC #5

Matt Malinowski

Nobody Knows Anything! Or, How to Be Skeptical About the Future

What will you be doing tomorrow? How about in ten years? Or by mid-century? While many of us have plans, we understand that it is impossible to predict the course of even a single life with any precision. Now try to predict the fate of the entire world---six billion lives and counting: an impossible problem.

Nonetheless, we pay large sums of money to professional forecasters to do exactly that, with dismal results. From the 2008 financial crisis to the Gulf oil spill to _______, how can they be so wrong?

Inspired by the ideas in "The Black Swan" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, this talk will explore severe (but all too frequent) forecasting errors, why they are likely become even more severe and more frequent, and what you can do to lessen your exposure and make the most of what is to come.

About Matt Malinowski:

Matt Malinowski studied at MIT and has worked as an electrical engineer in Silicon Valley and Germany. He currently lives in Washington, DC, advising government clients on improving the energy efficiency of consumer electronic products through mandatory standards and incentives. He loves spending long days in the mountains and adventuring in places both near and far. He loves cities most of all and hopes someday to be involved in sustainable urban design.

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