80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin

#2 - Prof David Spiegelhalter on risk, stats and improving understanding of science

80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin

Recorded in 2015 by Robert Wiblin with colleague Jess Whittlestone at the Centre for Effective Altruism, and recovered from the dusty 80,000 Hours archives.

David Spiegelhalter is a statistician at the University of Cambridge and something of an academic celebrity in the UK.

Part of his role is to improve the public understanding of risk - especially everyday risks we face like getting cancer or dying in a car crash. As a result he’s regularly in the media explaining numbers in the news, trying to assist both ordinary people and politicians focus on the important risks we face, and avoid being distracted by flashy risks that don’t actually have much impact.

Summary, full transcript and extra links to learn more.

To help make sense of the uncertainties we face in life he has had to invent concepts like the microlife, or a 30-minute change in life expectancy. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microlife)

We wanted to learn whether he thought a lifetime of work communicating science had actually had much impact on the world, and what advice he might have for people planning their careers today.

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