Truth or Dare in Housing Predictions

Steve ByersNatural Language Processing

Housing Tides Blog Truth or Dare in Housing Predictions

Welcome to the first issue of the Housing Tides™ Blog!
We are dedicated to providing thoughtful commentary and analysis of the U.S. housing market.

Truth or Dare in Housing Predictions

What do we “believe” is going to happen in housing and residential construction over the next month? Quarter? Year? How do we decide what we think will happen? Who amongst the experts do we believe? Why do we believe them? It’s a thicket of guesswork frankly. For all of us, whether it’s forecasting or simply understanding housing, we have a dual epistemological mandate – we try to find truth and avoid falsity.

Believe Everything

We might choose to believe everything that we hear or read. In doing so, we would definitely believe a lot of true things. Unfortunately, we would also believe a lot of untrue things, many of which will be misleading. This is, in essence the opposite of being a skeptic. We don’t really have a good word for this mode of being. What is a non-skeptic? A believer? Gullible? Naïve? An uncritical reader?

Believe Nothing

By adopting the skeptic’s position, we succeed in avoiding falsity. Yet, we fail to believe truth when we find it. We’re much more familiar with this mode of being. We, in fact, celebrate the skeptic. However, such an attitude does not support any meaningful action. Much like Buridan’s ass, the diehard skeptic suffers from decision paralysis as they perpetually seek more information before acting. The goal for any of us trying to maximize true beliefs and minimize false ones is inherently the middle ground. How best to find the middle ground then? What is the best strategy for discovering the true and avoiding the false?

Mistakes Will Be Made

By seeking the middle, we have to first accept that we will believe some false things to be true and some true things to be false. What then? The only real option is to seek out evidence and strive to keep an open mind if it challenges our current beliefs. This means gathering as much information as possible and sifting through it diligently to understand it, filter it and decipher it in the context of the totality of the information available. That’s a pretty tall order for any endeavor and understanding the housing industry is no different.

Housing Tides Helps

One aspect of the Housing Tides Report is extensive gathering of what is written about housing across the United States. We then use natural language processing via IBM Watson® to assess, aggregate and gain deeper understanding of the opinions and information offered. By doing so, we supply our subscribers with a powerful tool to keep their minds open and possibly challenge their current understanding of the market with contrasting opinions. In our next post, we’ll explore bias and how Housing Tides provides a means of assessing our own bias and that of other experts.

Want to learn more about Natural Language Processing?


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About the Author
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Steve Byers

Steve Byers is the CEO of Housing Tides and EnergyLogic. In that role, he guides EnergyLogic into its second decade. He has a background in residential construction and energy efficiency. Along with that he has a passion for making disparate connections and doing his part to better understand the world. He believes that with understanding we all make better decisions and the world becomes just a little bit better.