11:06 am
Tue October 30, 2012

The Poll King: Nate Silver Talks the Science of Forecasting the Future

Nate Silver has become a hot commodity — especially during the election season. He’s the whiz kid who predicted how 49 out of 50 states would vote in the 2008 election.

Four years ago he founded the website fivethirtyeight.com, which has since been incorporated into The New York Times website.

Silver was a math prodigy growing up, and utilized his precocious skills to understand how we can make predictions using stats and polls. He explains his thinking in a new book called, “The Signal and the Noise: Why Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don’t.”

Part of the trick to understanding polls, according to Silver, is trying to remain politically neutral, and seeking out a diversity of information:

“We have a process that we decide upon in advance for how we weigh state polls versus national polls; how does it figure into the electoral college….that way I’m not running around with a chicken with my head cut off anytime that a new poll comes in.”

Silver also discusses how we can become better at forecasting things in our own life. Check out his conversation with WFPL’s Jonathan Bastian.