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In an era of "big data" and machine learning, statistical predictions are playing an increasingly large role in many facets of our lives - from politics to medicine, to weather forecasts. How do people use statistics to make predictions and how much can we trust these predictions? This recent episode of PBS's NOVA series, which aired on February 28, 2018, explores the history of statistics and probability and investigates how professionals (including meteorologists, political pundits, and those on rescue missions) use statistics in order to make informed predictions today. This episode features interviews with a number of mathematics scholars (including Talithia Williams of Harvey Mudd College and Jordan Ellenberg of the University of Wisconsin-Madison) and discusses concepts including the wisdom of crowds and the law of large numbers. The episode also provides a helpful explanation (with the aid of visuals) of what the term "statistically significant" really means. Visitors may watch this episode in its entirety via the above link.
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Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 2018-03-16
Archived Scout Publication URL https://scout.wisc.edu/report/2018/0316

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