Forecasting Uncertainty Is Never Too Large

Rob J. Hyndman gave a presentation titled “Uncertain futures: what can we forecast and when should we give up?” as part of the ACEMS public lecture series with recording available on Youtube.

He makes an often underappreciated point around minute 50 of the talk:

When the forecast uncertainty is too large to assist decision making? I don’t think that’s ever the case. Forecasting uncertainty being too large does assist decision making by telling the decision makers that the future is very uncertain and they should be planning for lots of different possible outcomes and not assuming just one outcome or another. And one of the problems we have in providing forecasts to decision makers is getting them to not focus in on the most likely outcome but to actually take into account the range of possibilities and to understand that futures are uncertain, that they need to plan for that uncertainty.