Taleb, Nassim Nicholas and Tetlock, Philip E., On the Difference between Binary Prediction and True Exposure, with Implications for Forecasting Tournaments and Prediction Markets (June 25, 2013). Available at SSRN: http:// papers. ssrn. com/ sol3/ papers.cfm? abstract_id= 2284964
There are serious differences between predictions, bets, and exposures that have a yes/no type of payoff, the “binaries”, and those that have varying payoffs, which we call the “vanilla”. Real world exposures tend to belong to the vanilla category, and are poorly captured by binaries. Vanilla exposures are sensitive to Black Swan effects, model errors, and prediction problems, while the binaries are largely immune to them. The binaries are mathematically tractable, while the vanilla are much less so. Hedging vanilla exposures with binary bets can be disastrous–and because of the human tendency to engage in attribute substitution when confronted by difficult questions, decision-makers and researchers often confuse the vanilla for the binary.
From Nassim’s Facebook Page:
New paper with Phil Tetlock on the difference between the Thalesian and the Aristotelian: On the Difference between Binary Prediction and True Exposure, With Implications For Forecasting Tournaments and Prediction Markets.