Solving the Problem of “Obviousness” with Prediction Platforms

In the fall issue of Public Opinion Quarterly in 1949, sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld pulled one of my favorite social science head fakes of all time. Lazarsfeld was tasked with reviewing the first two volumes of an expansive four-volume book on the social science research conducted by the Army during WWII. The book, appropriately named The American Soldier, synthesized some 600,000 interviews and 300 studies that the Army had conducted during the war. “Never before have so many aspects of human life been studied so systematically and comprehensively,” Lazarsfeld comments in his review. ….[READ]