That must have hurt CNN to hear that. Why are models used anyway? Models aid in defining, analyzing, and communicating a set of concepts according to Sebokwiki. They’re theoretical. They’re used to visualize a system the way it is or the way we’d like it to be. That’s all well and good until hard data from experiencing the modeled situation starts coming in. Then you adjust according to the numbers.
Under normal circumstances, the only reason CNN might have a Republican on is to mock them. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) noted that although they’ve had a spike of cases, the trajectory is uncertain since the projections have lost credibility. That spike is modest in comparison to other hot spots.
Modeling has its place
There are times modeling is useful, such as when you’re dealing with the unknown. Modeling also has to be chosen wisely and dealt with evenly. This is no place for politics. If politics enters in, the model is useless.
Hutchinson stated, “Well, we’re taking significant action in both opening up our economy, which we never shut down, but also gradually lifting restrictions so we can measure where there is an outbreak or a problem that we have to address. And so, when I said that there’s a second spike that we’re seeing, it’s really hard to know exactly where these projections are going. The projections and modeling [have] lost a lot of credibility. And so, we’re having to dig deep into the data. We’re having to dig deep as to where these cases are, what’s causing those, and that’s what we’re concentrating on. And whenever you look at our numbers, our numbers are very modest, low death rate, compared to other states. We have — our hospitalizations are still less than 100. And so, even though we saw a second spike, it’s fairly modest compared to where we are in a lot of other hot spots. But we have a lot of work to do left. And I know there’s been a lot of coverage, Wolf, about the summer and everybody getting out. It is Memorial Day. We had a service today in Arkansas, socially distanced, wearing masks, the right-sized crowds.”
Perspective and adjustment are necessary
Americans are willing to adjust behavior when faced with an unknown entity. We can develop systems, computer or otherwise, to aid in dealing with the unknown. What directions are needed with each problem? Are buildings, people with particular skills and processes needed? So we can brace for what we think might happen as best we can. When hard numbers come in from events, those numbers need to be studied. Direction, people or processes may need to be changed depending on results.
A scare that happened 20 years ago was the Y2K scare. At the time, computers could only go to December 31, 1999 11:59 pm. Personnel involved thought the computers would revert back to 1900 instead of going forward to 2000. At the time, computers were programmed to just do the last two digits of the year. People and machines were put in place in the event computers went backwards. They never did. The situation wound up being more of an embarrassment than anything else.
The moral of that story is yes, you might want models for an unknown entity or problem. But once the problems metrics become known, get off the model and adjust appropriately.