'NOVA: Prediction by the Numbers'
(DVD / G / 2018 / PBS)
Overview: Discover how predictions underpin nearly every aspect of our lives and why some succeed spectacularly while others fail. Explore entertaining real-world challenges and join experts as they tackle that age-old question: Can we forecast the future?
DVD Verdict: Predictions underlie nearly every aspect of our lives, from sports, politics, and medical decisions to the morning commute. With the explosion of digital technology, the Internet, and "big data," the science of forecasting is flourishing.
But why do some predictions succeed spectacularly while others fail abysmally? And how can we find meaningful patterns amidst chaos and uncertainty?
In a fascinating, fast-paced investigation, NOVA takes viewers from the glitz of casinos and TV game shows to the life-and-death stakes of storm forecasts and the flaws of opinion polls that can swing an election.
'Prediction by the Numbers' explores compelling success stories of statistics in action: how baseball legend Billy Beane developed the recruiting techniques made famous by "Moneyball" to transform the fortunes of major league teams.
'NOVA: Prediction by the Numbers' showcases that good scientists are not only able to uncover patterns in the things they study, but to use this information to predict the future.
Meteorologists study atmospheric pressure and wind speed to predict the trajectories of future storms. A biologist may predict the growth of a tumor based on its current size and development. A financial analyst may try to predict the ups and downs of a stock based on things like market capitalization or cash flow.
Perhaps even more interesting than the above phenomena is that of predicting the behavior of human beings. Attempts to predict how people will behave have existed since the origins of humankind. Early humans had to trust their instincts. Today, marketers, politicians, trial lawyers and more make their living on predicting human behavior. Predicting human behavior, in all of its forms, is big business.
So, how does mathematics do in predicting our own behavior in general? Despite advances in stock market analytics, economics, political polling and cognitive neuroscience – all of which ultimately endeavor to predict human behavior – science may never be able to do so with perfect certainty.
Reagrdless, and not to give too much of this brilliant new documentary away, we also see that advances in machine learning and "big data" models that increasingly rule our lives are also posing big, disturbing questions.
How much should we trust "black box" predictions made by computers when we don't understand how they arrive at them? And how far can we really forecast how our future world will turn out? This PBS documentary spreads its wings a little here to delve into this question and many more associated with it and I for one, was left amazed and wanting to know more! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
Official DVD Purchase Link