Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Future of Outsoucring

 If you are looking for the future of outsourcing and a potential global competitor to Linkedin check out the website Wantedly that I reference below. Along with some other random sites I've recently found old profiles of mine on.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

New York Times Covers Accountability

 The New York Times one of the most reliable newspapers and the namesake for New York City's Time's Sqaure covered Accountability and admitting when you're wrong in their morning newsletter. This is the take from top experts:

Taking stock

Jennifer Nuzzo is a health expert who has become nationally prominent during the pandemic. She is the leading epidemiologist for Johns Hopkins University’s much-cited data collection on Covid-19 testing. She is active on Twitter and quoted frequently in the media. She can explain complex ideas in clear terms, and she has often been prophetic about Covid.

Nonetheless, she took to Twitter last May to criticize herself. She had expected Texas’ ending of its mask mandate to lead to a surge in cases, and it had not:

Nuzzo’s small exercise in self accountability highlighted the inherent unpredictability of this virus. (Masks do reduce its spread, but the effect can be too modest to be visible across an entire community or state.) Her tweet made a larger point, too: People with a public platform should be willing to admit when they’re wrong.

There is no shame in being wrong at times. Everybody is, including knowledgeable experts. The world is a messy, uncertain place. The only way to be right all the time is to be silent or say nothing interesting.

The problem isn’t that people make mistakes; it’s that so few are willing to admit it.

Many experts instead post aggrandizing praise of themselves on social media. They claim that each new development — be it on Covid, the economy, politics or foreign affairs — justifies what they’ve been saying all along. They don’t grapple with the weak points in their arguments and hope nobody notices their past incorrect predictions.

We journalists commit the same sins. More than a decade ago, in an effort to do better, David Weigel of Slate (and now of The Washington Post) introduced a concept he called “pundit accountability.” It describes articles in which journalists highlight their own mistakes — and not small factual errors, which often get corrected, but errors of analysis, which don’t.

Today’s newsletter is my annual attempt at pundit accountability. Below, I’ll link to other writers who have written similar articles in recent weeks.

Looking back on the past year of Morning newsletters made me feel proud of our coverage, especially on Covid, and I’m grateful to the many readers who have come to rely on the newsletter. But that’s enough self-aggrandizement. As Nuzzo would say, accountability time.

1. Breakthroughs

I, too, underestimated the unpredictability of the virus.

Before the Delta variant emerged, infections among vaccinated people — known as breakthrough infections — were rare. I assumed that the pattern would probably continue throughout 2021. If it had, huge new waves of infection, like the current one, would have been impossible.

Instead, Delta led to an increase in breakthrough infections, and Omicron has led to a larger increase. Symptoms are usually mild, but they can lead to bad outcomes for a small share of vaccinated people whose health is already vulnerable, like the elderly. The surge of breakthrough infections means Covid often still dominates everyday life.

I have since tried to absorb the lesson of Covid’s uncertainty and have emphasized it in more recent newsletters. As Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota — who has long emphasized Covid’s unavoidable unknowns — has said, “We still are really in the cave ages in terms of understanding how viruses emerge, how they spread, how they start and stop, why they do what they do.”

2. Waning immunity

I was too skeptical of the early signs of waning vaccine immunity and the importance of boosters.

Toward the end of the summer, some researchers began pointing to data suggesting that the power of vaccines waned after about six months. Other researchers doubted that case, saying that the data was unclear — and that pharmaceutical companies had an obvious incentive to promote waning immunity and boosters. But the case for boosters now seems clear.

Amid uncertain evidence, I try to avoid automatically assuming the worst. Often, that’s the right approach. (A lot of early Covid alarmism — about the virus’s effect on children, the contagiousness of Delta and the severity of Omicron, for instance — has proved to be misplaced.) Sometimes, though, the ominous signs are the ones worth heeding.

Another lesson: The quality of Covid data in the U.S. is poor, often clouding early judgments. It can make sense to look to Israel, where the data is better. Experts there quickly recognized that waning immunity was real.

Other accountability

“I think it’s really important for the media and for other institutions like the C.D.C. to build trust by being honest about when they got things wrong,” Derek Thompson of The Atlantic said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. Thompson’s own mea culpa: underestimating breakthrough infections.

My colleague Shira Ovide asked tech experts to describe their misplaced forecasts, including over-optimism about self-driving cars.

Matthew Yglesias of Substack listed all the 2021 predictions he got wrong, including whether a Supreme Court justice would retire.

Damon Linker of The Week underestimated the seriousness of Jan. 6 and said he didn’t praise Liz Cheney enough.

Derek Robertson of Politico wrongly thought that President Biden could help end the culture wars, and Doyle McManus of The Los Angeles Times was too optimistic about Biden’s first year.

Karl Rove, who writes a Wall Street Journal column, said that he went 17.5 for 25 in his 2021 predictions, while three Vox writers said they went 13 for 22.


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