Thursday, 30.01.2020 – Can Statisticians Forecast Better than A guy With A Pencil?

Link of the day: Delphi Epicast

I am currently working on a master thesis that tries to predict cases of Ebola in Congo. The models used for forecasting are quite complicated. But in the end it all kind of boils down to drawing a more or less straight line from the last point and trying to continue that into the future. I always wondered: what would happen If I drew that line with a pencil instead of generating predictions with a computer. Apparently, my hand stands a decent chance to beat the computer. The Delphi Epicast App allows users to hand draw possible trajectories of flue incidences. Predictions generated by the Delphi group perform very well in forecasting tournaments and consistently beat predictions generated by statistic models. This is not to say that these models are useless. It is just very hard to generate good forecasts. Check it out and participate!

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