My week at ISBA (2)

I should add to my previous post that while there have been many very good talks, I thought two were incredibly good: David Spiegelhalter’s Foundational lecture on Monday and Adrian Raftery’s talk in a session on Bayesian Demography that was very interesting overall. I’m not sure whether slides will be made available, but if they are, you should definitely check them out!

In particular, Adrian’s talk was about the application of Bayesian hierarchical methods to formally account for and quantify uncertainty in population projections (I think this is the relevant paper). He started his talk by showing a screenshot from the BBC website reporting on Boris Johnson’s claim that if the UK stays within the EU, its population will “increase to 80 millions” (from the current level of around 65 millions).

As Adrian pointed out, it wasn’t clear what time frame was Johnson referring to. However, I’d say unsurprisingly, his model showed that this event had virtually no chance of happening within the next 5 years and at most around 40% chance of happening in a period of 25 years [I am citing the numbers by memory, so the details may be slightly different, although they are most definitely in the right ball-park!].

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