There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.
In this past 18 months most people have become data nerds, looking at dashboards of figures showing infection, hospitalisation, hope, recovery, vaccination, death, ups and downs. Other people have decided it’s a conspiracy, and that numbers are being used to manipulate us, and to take away our freedoms.
Regardless – we’ve all become closer to numbers as a story, trying to make sense of what is going and what to expect is around the corner.
In this episode of After Corona? from The Possibility Club podcast we’re inviting you in to our curious spreadsheet as we explore our new relationship with statistics.
And our special guest this week has probably done more to demystify and simplify the world of stats and data than almost anyone else in the UK media, and it was a pleasure to chat with him a few weeks ago.
Tim Harford OBE is the Financial Times’ ‘Undercover Economist’, and amongst many other programmes has been the presenter of ‘More Or Less’ on BBC Radio 4 for nearly 14 years. Tim is a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford and an honorary Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and has won countless awards for his economic journalism and ability to make the complex accessible.
We say countless awards, but, of course, Tim would point out that they can absolutely be counted. Tim’s acclaimed books and podcasts include ’50 Things That Made The Modern Economy’; ‘How To Make The World Add Up: Ten Rules For Thinking Differently About Numbers’; and the optimistic and brilliant series we all have needed in these past few months, ‘How To Vaccinate The World’.
We spoke to Tim about why statistics are coming into their own in the data age, but also why most people still struggle to really understand whether what they read is at all reliable.
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