Models and Model Building

Models are a common tool to help anticipate the future.

Tomorrow there will be more complete assessment of one kind of model. For now think about it a little.

  • Models are not facts, they are forecasts, or projections about the way many variables, taken together, might act in the future.
  • You must build good models carefully so you can amend them on the go. That keeps them a little useful. No model is right in the beginning. None.
  • Models made available to the public by government, business, or academia are created to sell or convince. They don’t share the model, just the conclusion they wish you to draw. Understand their motive.

Always notice the implied “If”. IF all these things work the way we think about them, here is the result. I doubt you would accept that reasoning in any other circumstance, but for some reason we accept models as somehow magical.

All skilled people use them, but only for insight. Others use them to sway opinion.

“Narratives that cause us to pay attention and also involve us emotionally are the stories that move us to action” Bernadette Jiwa “The Right Story”

If you understand the limitations of modelling, you can use them effectively. If you don’t they can and will be used against you.

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