Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tumor? What tumor?

Readers of Why We Make Mistakes know that radiologists miss much of what they are supposed to catch. The generally accepted error rate for the radiologic detection of early lung cancer, for instance, is between 20% and 50%; one study at the Mayo Clinic put it as high as 90%. Now comes the New York Times with a front-page story on the high error rate not for lung cancer but for breast cancer.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Information Overload Redux

We've talked often about the perils of information overload. The biggest of these is that more information usually leads to more confidence in our predictions -- but not necessarily more accuracy. In short, we become overconfident about our abilities to accurately predict whatever it is we think the information will help us predict. And that overconfidence often leads to complacency. (Just go back and look Wall Street's ability to predict the housing crisis.)

For the latest, and perhaps scariest, example of information overload, take a look at the impressive investigative piece by The Washington Post.

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