Archive for July 28th, 2010

Statistics, Probability, and Inference

Long ago I wrote very briefly about ‘Words of Estimative Probability’, an useful tool of the intelligence field (and others!) to codify otherwise potentially ambiguous and weaselly expressions of chance, like “probably” and “most likely” and “highly improbable”. It’s worth noting that codifying WEPs doesn’t tie them down to specific percentages; there’s still usually a good degree of “weasel room” inherent in the system. (“Probable” == “more than a fifty percent chance.” Um, yeah, helpful, huh?)

I got to talking about this stuff with some people I know, and the question came up as to why, if you’re going to bother to codify what WEPs mean in terms of percentages, you don’t just skip the WEPs and use percentages?

I’m not sure there are any good answers to that. But I think there are some interesting aspects of the issue that deserve discussion. So…
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Published in: Geekiness, General | on July 28th, 2010 | No Comments »