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Trying to Quantify Uncertainty


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Editor's note: We apologise for the poor audio quality in the question and answer session of this podcast.

Speaker(s): Professor David Spiegelhalter
Chair: Professor Anthony C Atkinson

Recorded on 17 November 2010 in Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House.

There has been a traditional division between 'risk', which can be quantified using probability distributions, and 'uncertainty', which is the surrounding mess of doubt, disagreement and ignorance. Spiegelhalter will use examples from swine flu to climate change to illustrate different approaches to dealing with uncertainty, from ignoring it to trying to fully quantify it, and conclude that we should all try to be aware and open about the magnitude and potential consequences of our ignorance. David Spiegelhalter is Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge as well as senior scientist in the MRC Biostatistics Unit.

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