The past few years have been brutal for so called ‘experts.’
First, in hindsight, many experts were not. Second, we see the ongoing proliferation of people calling themselves experts with little or no actual evidence of wisdom based on deep knowledge.
How do you distinguish pseudo-expert noise from real expert signal to make better decisions?
When judging the validity of any expert, I use the following ten rules:
- Real experts have deep knowledge which is limited to their particular field. Since it takes time and focus to build this expertise, consider them ignorant outside their field. It’s easy to have an opinion, it’s much more difficult to have an informed opinion.
- Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
- When experts use apocalyptic language (“the world as we know it will end, unless…”), they probably want to sell you something.
- If there is consensus among experts about second and third order effects in complex systems, you’re not dealing with wisdom and intelligence, but with dogmas and myopic thinking.
- Computer models of complex systems are simulations based on a set of key assumptions. Real experts focus on the validity of these key assumptions, not on the simulation outcomes.
- There is no such thing as a ‘Futurist.’
- All predictions of the future are wrong. Some are useful.
- If the same group of experts advocate the same easy solution for every complex problem, this solution is the actual problem.
- Anyone with a consistent track record of being wrong with past predictions is not an expert, but an entertainer.
- Application of advanced mathematics in social science is usually a sign that you are dealing with people who aren’t experts in any of these two fields.