Why should we have trust in numbers?

spiegelhalter talk

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter delivered a spiky, entertaining Sidney Ball Memorial Lecture to a packed auditorium on 26 October 2017. After regaling us with his hilarious collection of bad pie charts spotted in the news, David took us on a whistle-stop tour of where things go wrong in the communication of evidence.

David sees the current debate around fake news as ‘a huge opportunity for those of us interested in evidence.’ Drawing on Onora O’Neill’s work on building trust, he highlighted the need to make information accessible, useable and assessable – ‘we’ve got to grab the attention of people without lying…with humility’. 

David, who is Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge, is acclaimed for his efforts to help people understand statistics. He concluded his talk by reiterating the need to improve the public's ability to assess trustworthiness - a vital skill in the current climate. It was a privilege to host David here at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, and we encourage you to find out more:

Watch the lecture

Visit David’s site Understanding Uncertainty

Find out more about the history of the Sidney Ball lecture series