u201cFacts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.u201d
Statistics are the way we implicitly and explicitly navigate the world. They help us make decisions or judgements. They help us measure athletic performance, conduct science experiments, and send people into space. Despite their importance, statistics can also fool and mislead us.
Even the smartest people in the world are susceptible to statistical fallacies and errors. For instance, itu2019s why we have people that still donu2019t believe in climate change and ignore scientific evidence.
Well, why shouldu00a0you learn statistics? Let’s explore a few reasons:
Anytime you go onto social media u2013 Twitter, TikTok, or Instagram, machine learning helps curate the content in your news feed. Statistical predictions can determine the videos or tweets you are more likely to find interesting. But there are biases built into these systems that often harm racialized or minority groups.u00a0
Knowledge in statistics helps you understand a little bit, how your data is used (and misused) by these companies. As social media companies continue to be integral to our everyday lives, we should be able to provide critical appraisals of these algorithms. For those of us who go on to develop public policy and legislation, it will ensure you are tech-literate and savvy.
Pop quiz, hotshot. Youu2019re going on vacation and renting a car, driving through a country youu2019ve never been in before. How do you decide on which travel insurance package to get? How do you assess the chances of misfortunes while avoiding unnecessary costs? When taking into account statistical probabilities and costs, you can make a more informed decision when you select your insurance coverage.u00a0
Are you considering investing in stocks or cryptocurrencies? Statistics can help you model and understand trends, as well as avoid sunken costs and scams. After all, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. Suffice it to say, statistics can be an extremely helpful tool for any financial decision you make in life.
Most importantly, we are entering an unprecedented climate crisis. When you sift through information in the news, online publications, and scientific journals u2013 how do you interpret it? What does it mean when we say that there is a scientific consensus on climate change? We will need strong, critical thinkers for the challenges that lay ahead.
Anyone who uses any kind of social media should understand the statistics driving the underlying algorithms. Anytime you make a financial decision, statistics will help you evaluate the best course of action. Even navigating climate change and developing a new policy to address it will rely on the effective use of statistics.
You donu2019t need to become the worldu2019s foremost expert on statistics. You donu2019t even need to get 100% in your college course. The importance of studying this topic goes beyond academics and seeps into your everyday life. More than ever, statistics can help you understand and interpret a world that continues to grow more and more complicated.u00a0
When you understand how statistics can be used and presented, it becomes easier to call out its misuse and abuses. No matter what path you forge yourself in the world, statistics will play a key role.u00a0