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Bram Wessel

“Was Nate Silver wrong? Click here for why!” The Crisis of Modeling in an Era of Clickbait, Truthiness, and Fake Content

Sunday, March 26 10:15 am – 11:00 am

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Session Summary

In 2008, Nate Silver created a model that correctly forecast the outcome of that year’s US presidential election. (He was rewarded for this with a Keynote at the 2011 IA Summit!)

But on election night 2016, many of the same people who lionized Nate Silver and the “Data Journalism” movement were cursing his name when the candidate that his model gave less than a 30% chance of winning prevailed.

Why did this happen? Is a pervasive digital erosion of meaning and context to blame? Does this outcome mean the practice of modeling is in crisis? Have the algorithms led us astray?

This talk will present a call to action and a means of advancing the conversation about the role of IA in this emerging environment. The centerpiece of this shift is a framework of understanding — a model of models, if you will, that will allow enterprise-class organizations to make good decisions about what can and should be modeled.

In an algorithm-driven future, Information Architecture can be more valuable than ever. We as IA’s just must shift the way we think and talk about our own practice of modeling. We have not only our careers to save, but maybe even our democracies.

About the Speaker

Toiling in obscurity since before the Web, Bram is the co-founder of Factor, a Seattle-based IA firm specializing in modeling information and experience. An avid oenophile and fly angler, Bram is passionate about terroir and tight loops. With stolen time, Bram makes Yakima Valley wine and cultivates shellfish on Hood Canal.