Saturday, July 14, 2018

Wall Street's Big Data Flat Wrong on World Cup

The Guardian reported:

Goldman Sachs continued its unsuccessful tradition of picking Brazil as the winner (it has done so for the last three World Cups). Goldman Sachs didn’t arrive at this conclusion through instinct, but through “hours of number crunching, 200,000 probability trees, and 1 million simulations”. 

Goldman Sachs’ artificial intelligence-powered algorithms led them to conclude that “England meets Germany in the quarters, where Germany wins; and Germany meets Brazil in the final, and Brazil prevails.” What’s more, the banks stated: “For the doubters out there, this final result was cross-checked in excruciating detail by our (German) Chief Economist Jan Hatzius!
Economics may be the softest science.  Weather modeling is only mostly right in a several day window.

In recent years technology evangelists have been touting the power of data to predict the future and make important decisions about everything from the economy to employee performance. However, time and time again – from polls being wrong about Donald Trump to Brexit forecasting errors – we are reminded that data analytics has its limits. Seeing how wrong big banks were about the World Cup is a sobering reminder of how fallible even the most sophisticated statistical models are
Our world is over-weighted by the greed and leverage boys.  It's no wonder their toys filtered into corporate board rooms where executives place the highest priority on finance/capital and deride what was once human resources.  At many companies virtually all HR functions are contracted out. 

"Every theory is correct in its own world, but the problem is that the theory may not make contact with this world." - Dr. W. Edwards Deming 
Goldman Sachs and the clients they serve are directly responsible for workers going decades without reward/pay increases.  Have the big money boys created a model for another decade of the spoils going to top executives/board members while employees get increased responsibility for health care and retirement?

Update 7-15-18:  France beat Croatia 4-2 to win the World Cup. Nomura Bank predicted a France-Spain final, so it came the closest.  ING predicted France as the runner up, so it too was in the ballpark.