How not to be ignorant about the world | Hans and Ola Rosling

How not to be ignorant about the world | Hans and Ola Rosling


Hans Rosling: I’m going to ask you three multiple choice questions. Use this device. Use this device to answer. The first question is, how did the number of deaths per year from natural disaster, how did that change during the last century? Did it more than double, did it remain about the same in the world as a whole, or did it decrease to less than half? Please answer A, B or C. I see lots of answers. This is much
faster than I do it at universities. They are so slow. They keep
thinking, thinking, thinking. Oh, very, very good. And we go to the next question. So how long did women 30 years old in the world go to school: seven years, five years or three years? A, B or C? Please answer. And we go to the next question. In the last 20 years, how did the percentage of people in the world who live in extreme poverty change? Extreme poverty — not having
enough food for the day. Did it almost double, did it remain more or less the same, or did it halve? A, B or C? Now, answers. You see, deaths from natural disasters in the world, you can see it from this graph here, from 1900 to 2000. In 1900, there was about half a million people who died every year from natural disasters: floods, earthquakes, volcanic
eruption, whatever, droughts. And then, how did that change? Gapminder asked the public in Sweden. This is how they answered. The Swedish public answered like this: Fifty percent thought it had doubled, 38 percent said it’s more or less the same, 12 said it had halved. This is the best data from the disaster researchers, and it goes up and down, and it goes to the Second World War, and after that it starts to fall and it keeps falling and it’s down to much less than half. The world has been much, much more capable as the decades go by to protect people from this, you know. So only 12 percent of the Swedes know this. So I went to the zoo and I asked the chimps. (Laughter) (Applause) The chimps don’t watch the evening news, so the chimps, they choose by random, so the
Swedes answer worse than random. Now how did you do? That’s you. You were beaten by the chimps. (Laughter) But it was close. You were three times better than the Swedes, but that’s not enough. You shouldn’t compare yourself to Swedes. You must have higher ambitions in the world. Let’s look at the next answer here: women in school. Here, you can see men went eight years. How long did women go to school? Well, we asked the Swedes like this, and that gives you a hint, doesn’t it? The right answer is probably the one the fewest Swedes picked, isn’t it? (Laughter) Let’s see, let’s see. Here we come. Yes, yes, yes, women have almost caught up. This is the U.S. public. And this is you. Here you come. Ooh. Well, congratulations, you’re
twice as good as the Swedes, but you don’t need me — So how come? I think it’s like this, that everyone is aware that there are countries and there are areas where girls have great difficulties. They are stopped when they go to school, and it’s disgusting. But in the majority of the world, where most people in the world live, most countries, girls today go to school as long as boys, more or less. That doesn’t mean that gender equity is achieved, not at all. They still are confined to terrible, terrible limitations, but schooling is there in the world today. Now, we miss the majority. When you answer, you answer
according to the worst places, and there you are right, but you miss the majority. What about poverty? Well, it’s very clear that poverty here was almost halved, and in U.S., when we asked the public, only five percent got it right. And you? Ah, you almost made it to the chimps. (Laughter) (Applause) That little, just a few of you! There must be preconceived ideas, you know. And many in the rich countries, they think that oh, we can never end extreme poverty. Of course they think so, because they don’t even know what has happened. The first thing to think about the future is to know about the present. These questions were a few of the first ones in the pilot phase of the Ignorance Project in Gapminder Foundation that we run, and it was started, this project, last year by my boss, and also my son, Ola Rosling. (Laughter) He’s cofounder and director, and he wanted, Ola told me we have to be more systematic when we fight devastating ignorance. So already the pilots reveal this, that so many in the public score worse than random, so we have to think about preconceived ideas, and one of the main preconceived ideas is about world income distribution. Look here. This is how it was in 1975. It’s the number of people on each income, from one dollar a day — (Applause) See, there was one hump here, around one dollar a day, and then there was one hump here somewhere between 10 and 100 dollars. The world was two groups. It was a camel world, like a camel with two humps, the poor ones and the rich ones, and there were fewer in between. But look how this has changed: As I go forward, what has changed, the world population has grown, and the humps start to merge. The lower humps merged with the upper hump, and the camel dies and we have a dromedary world with one hump only. The percent in poverty has decreased. Still it’s appalling that so many remain in extreme poverty. We still have this group, almost a billion, over there, but that can be ended now. The challenge we have now is to get away from that,
understand where the majority is, and that is very clearly shown in this question. We asked, what is the percentage of the world’s one-year-old children who have got those basic vaccines against measles and other things that we have had for many years: 20, 50 or 80 percent? Now, this is what the U.S.
public and the Swedish answered. Look at the Swedish result: you know what the right answer is. (Laughter) Who the heck is a professor of
global health in that country? Well, it’s me. It’s me. (Laughter) It’s very difficult, this. It’s very difficult. (Applause) However, Ola’s approach to really measure what we know made headlines, and CNN published these results on their web and they had the questions there, millions answered, and I think there were about 2,000 comments, and this was one of the comments. “I bet no member of the media
passed the test,” he said. So Ola told me, “Take these devices. You are invited to media conferences. Give it to them and measure what the media know.” And ladies and gentlemen, for the first time, the informal results from a conference with U.S. media. And then, lately, from the European Union media. (Laughter) You see, the problem is not that people don’t read and listen to the media. The problem is that the
media doesn’t know themselves. What shall we do about this, Ola? Do we have any ideas? (Applause) Ola Rosling: Yes, I have an idea, but first, I’m so sorry that you were beaten by the chimps. Fortunately, I will be able to comfort you by showing why it was not your fault, actually. Then, I will equip you with some tricks for beating the chimps in the future. That’s basically what I will do. But first, let’s look at why are we so ignorant, and it all starts in this place. It’s Hudiksvall. It’s a city in northern Sweden. It’s a neighborhood where I grew up, and it’s a neighborhood with a large problem. Actually, it has exactly the same problem which existed in all the neighborhoods where you grew up as well. It was not representative. Okay? It gave me a very biased view of how life is on this planet. So this is the first piece of the ignorance puzzle. We have a personal bias. We have all different experiences from communities and people we meet, and on top of this, we start school, and we add the next problem. Well, I like schools, but teachers tend to teach outdated worldviews, because they learned something
when they went to school, and now they describe this world to the students without any bad intentions, and those books, of course, that are printed are outdated in a world that changes. And there is really no practice to keep the teaching material up to date. So that’s what we are focusing on. So we have these outdated facts added on top of our personal bias. What happens next is news, okay? An excellent journalist knows how to pick the story that will make headlines, and people will read it because it’s sensational. Unusual events are more interesting, no? And they are exaggerated, and especially things we’re afraid of. A shark attack on a Swedish person will get headlines for weeks in Sweden. So these three skewed sources of information were really hard to get away from. They kind of bombard us and equip our mind with a lot of strange ideas, and on top of it we put the very thing that makes us humans, our human intuition. It was good in evolution. It helped us generalize and jump to conclusions very, very fast. It helped us exaggerate what we were afraid of, and we seek causality where there is none, and we then get an illusion of confidence where we believe that we are the best car drivers, above the average. Everybody answered that question, “Yeah, I drive cars better.” Okay, this was good evolutionarily, but now when it comes to the worldview, it is the exact reason why it’s upside down. The trends that are increasing are instead falling, and the other way around, and in this case, the chimps
use our intuition against us, and it becomes our weakness instead of our strength. It was supposed to be our strength, wasn’t it? So how do we solve such problems? First, we need to measure it, and then we need to cure it. So by measuring it we can understand what is the pattern of ignorance. We started the pilot last year, and now we’re pretty sure that we will encounter a lot of ignorance across the whole world, and the idea is really to scale it up to all domains or dimensions of global development, such as climate, endangered species, human rights, gender equality, energy, finance. All different sectors have facts, and there are organizations trying to spread awareness about these facts. So I’ve started actually contacting some of them, like WWF and Amnesty International and UNICEF, and asking them, what are your favorite facts which you think the public doesn’t know? Okay, I gather those facts. Imagine a long list with, say, 250 facts. And then we poll the public and see where they score worst. So we get a shorter list with the terrible results, like some few examples from Hans, and we have no problem finding these kinds of terrible results. Okay, this little shortlist, what
are we going to do with it? Well, we turn it into a knowledge certificate, a global knowledge certificate, which you can use, if you’re a large organization, a school, a university, or maybe a news agency, to certify yourself as globally knowledgeable. Basically meaning, we don’t hire people who score like chimpanzees. Of course you shouldn’t. So maybe 10 years from now, if this project succeeds, you will be sitting in an interview having to fill out this crazy global knowledge. So now we come to the practical tricks. How are you going to succeed? There is, of course, one way, which is to sit down late nights and learn all the facts by heart by reading all these reports. That will never happen, actually. Not even Hans thinks that’s going to happen. People don’t have that time. People like shortcuts, and here are the shortcuts. We need to turn our intuition into strength again. We need to be able to generalize. So now I’m going to show you some tricks where the misconceptions are turned around into rules of thumb. Let’s start with the first misconception. This is very widespread. Everything is getting worse. You heard it. You thought it yourself. The other way to think is, most things improve. So you’re sitting with a question in front of you and you’re unsure. You should guess “improve.” Okay? Don’t go for the worse. That will help you score better on our tests. (Applause) That was the first one. There are rich and poor and the gap is increasing. It’s a terrible inequality. Yeah, it’s an unequal world, but when you look at the data, it’s one hump. Okay? If you feel unsure, go for “the most people are in the middle.” That’s going to help you get the answer right. Now, the next preconceived idea is first countries and people need to be very, very rich to get the social development like girls in school and be ready for natural disasters. No, no, no. That’s wrong. Look: that huge hump in the middle already have girls in school. So if you are unsure, go for the “the majority already have this,” like electricity and girls in
school, these kinds of things. They’re only rules of thumb, so of course they don’t apply to everything, but this is how you can generalize. Let’s look at the last one. If something, yes, this is a good one, sharks are dangerous. No — well, yes, but they are not so important in the global statistics, that is what I’m saying. I actually, I’m very afraid of sharks. So as soon as I see a question
about things I’m afraid of, which might be earthquakes, other religions, maybe I’m afraid of terrorists or sharks, anything that makes me feel, assume you’re going to exaggerate the problem. That’s a rule of thumb. Of course there are dangerous
things that are also great. Sharks kill very, very few.
That’s how you should think. With these four rules of thumb, you could probably answer better than the chimps, because the chimps cannot do this. They cannot generalize these kinds of rules. And hopefully we can turn your world around and we’re going to beat the chimps. Okay? (Applause) That’s a systematic approach. Now the question, is this important? Yeah, it’s important to understand poverty, extreme poverty and how to fight it, and how to bring girls in school. When we realize that actually it’s
succeeding, we can understand it. But is it important for everyone else who cares about the rich end of this scale? I would say yes, extremely important, for the same reason. If you have a fact-based worldview of today, you might have a chance to understand what’s coming next in the future. We’re going back to these two humps in 1975. That’s when I was born, and I selected the West. That’s the current EU countries and North America. Let’s now see how the rest and the West compares in terms of how rich you are. These are the people who can afford to fly abroad with an airplane for a vacation. In 1975, only 30 percent of them lived outside EU and North America. But this has changed, okay? So first, let’s look at the change up till today, 2014. Today it’s 50/50. The Western domination is over, as of today. That’s nice. So what’s going to happen next? Do you see the big hump? Did you see how it moved? I did a little experiment. I went to the IMF,
International Monetary Fund, website. They have a forecast for the next
five years of GDP per capita. So I can use that to go five years into the future, assuming the income inequality
of each country is the same. I did that, but I went even further. I used those five years for the next 20 years with the same speed, just as an
experiment what might actually happen. Let’s move into the future. In 2020, it’s 57 percent in the rest. In 2025, 63 percent. 2030, 68. And in 2035, the West is
outnumbered in the rich consumer market. These are just projections of
GDP per capita into the future. Seventy-three percent of the rich consumers are going to live outside North America and Europe. So yes, I think it’s a good idea for
a company to use this certificate to make sure to make fact-
based decisions in the future. Thank you very much. (Applause) Bruno Giussani: Hans and Ola Rosling!

100 thoughts on “How not to be ignorant about the world | Hans and Ola Rosling

  1. You don't need to remember the 4 rules. You could just assume almost everything you hear on CNN or MSNBC is a pack of lies. If you worked at CNN, and answered those questions correctly; you'd be fired.

  2. have not had the flu since I quit taking the shots never had it again I have had a gut full of people telling others what to do all the time power should inform not dictate

  3. Excuse me, isn't this just polling polls? Where are the actual statistics, and for what countries? Is China part of this? Women or Chimps or people from where? References? I have a friend, who is a Chimp, I might add, and he totally got all these questions in line of the first poll, or whatever data, he collected from wherever, because the conclusion here is Chimps (i.e. people who know nothing, meaning Chimps), are less ignorant… ahhh!

  4. I gift you a new emerging word/concept free for you to enjoy have fun adding your definition for the word. Jeffree of the lovevolution
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    Examples: 2. Unites science and spirituality philosophically into a holistic concept of purpose.
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    4. The light of light emerging developing as an expanding network of connected information of light into higher orders of consciousness and real love.
    * resonancescience.org, book Cosmometry by Lefferts

  5. #Erik Jarandson #Erik Lol 😂 on the differences between the Swedes and Norwegian apply the logic on a rebound ,the young think the old ones to be fools but the old know the young ones to be so BUT the American people are half smart with politicians 80 % clever enough to rob,cheat,and divide to rule with a POTUS.45 the very example of an idiotic fool on steroids ,which is being 99% on the generous side .

  6. Amazing to read how many people in the comments would rather have a worsening world and be right than have an improving world and admit they were wrong.

  7. One thing I can say for certain is you don't get healthier the older you get.And although self-care is a factor free radicals in the body politik end up compromising it to accelerate decline. Moreover, progress may prove extremely lucrative for the upper classes,but the prospect of prosperity inspires a runaway mentality that ebbs and flows against the flow pf stress levels that tends to overreproduce and in effect sustains intense struggle that seems more to flounder than succeed.

  8. The Swedes are the Nation that backed Mandelas' the Black Supremacists Terrorists take over S.Africa and even now they back the Racist,Evil attacks on the White S.Africans!!! Not all but most definitely the Ruling Class in Sweden are Evil,Murderers that are helping the extermination of Europe and the Europeans!!!

  9. People like Bill Gates love this kind of simplistic thinking because it makes his substituting charity for paying taxes seem like a success. They believe the world is getting better because of their largess. Fact is, that the amount of water and farmland are going down because of overpopulation and overconsumption. Doesn't really matter in the long term that more girls are in school but white people can feel better about their consumption.

  10. Here after reading Factfulness where he stated how wrong world view people have even the well educated who are no better than Chimps on Fact-Based Questions.
    Hans is no more in this world but he left his remarkable work which is his book I would suggest everyone to read it.
    Love from Pakistan ❤

  11. Why, in the image of the man looking at the "world", is his skyline dominated by a mosque and minarets?

  12. At least Hans is funny … because your statistics are biased.
    I just wonder … how do you see the world?

  13. This video should be titled “realizing your ignorance” because I learned nothing about how to inform myself

  14. correlate conglomerate media coverage of the example issues raised, misled vs informed. the difference depends on each of us.

  15. I did the same test to my friends and colleagues. Chinese people are more positive. And they are closer to the truth.

  16. It depends on how natural the disasters were . I really wont compare anything with america . They know the numbers better because they are responsible for it .

  17. Everyone needs to know that CCF (CLIMATE CRISIS FRAUD) is being decietfully applied by the fraudsters, to make everyone but themsevles poorer. For direct proof you can see my videos and my book. My video shows how CO2 does not induce back radiant heating and my book explains it all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgjT_665T6U

  18. The Swedes are into political correctness (along with some of those in this Ted Talk) and seeing themselves as the self-righteous saviors

  19. so, re: world poverty, the US respondents obviously have been fed a line about the destructiveness of "capitalism" & "inequality"

  20. well if the distribution of rich and poor prople is about the same then of course..there are only 350 million of people in the USA and about 500 million people in the EU…together…850 million…but in India and in China it is each 1.4 billion people…together 2.8 billion and that is more than 3 times as many…so it is clear that there will be more rich people outside the EU and the USA…………….and it is only the queston of time…..so this TED talk was not so good……..

  21. 1. There are rich and poor Swedes and those with money and jobs dont want to share – true or false ( clue -they know they deserve more ) ?

  22. right wing propagandists love their false stats .
    but if you are stupid enough to fall for it , then why would you listen to me .

  23. You don't know the answer if you don't ask the question… Hou do we get people to ask questions? …

  24. Some statements might be right, but wait a minute!!!

    Show me one country. Only ONE. that you can proove it became rich through socialism. But you must directly link socialism and enrichment of a country. Then explain. Good luck. The misconception is huge in that case. Becuase borrowed money – debt nullyfies beeing rich. If you are borrowing money – you feel rich for a moment. Then when it is time to repay with interest it all goes downhill. And the only reason why some people can't see that is because public debt can last much longer than personal debt. But in the big picture. It is a load of crap, and false data that those scientists base their facts upon. Organisations that they mentioned are biased aswell !!! That is the whole point. They spread bias. You can't base truth on lies… What kind of certificate would that be? Orwellian Certificate of Knowledge issued by the ministry of truth.

  25. Those stats have the potential to generate ignorance on a level heretofore unseen. There’s a lot of misery hidden in those stats.

  26. Sweden will soon build a wall between Sweden and Norway to keep grenades and gang rape out of Norway

  27. @10:00 there is no way to keep these teaching practices up to date.

    There i have to disagree. If for example, all teaching materials would be in a cloud and there would be a division updating this cloud as much as possible to keep up with nessesary changes then it would certainly be possible. However this does bring some vulnerabilities as practically everything that has to do with computers can be hacked and the sensitive information altered as part of a cyber-attack by a foreign sovereignity.. or whatever..
    But still it is possible and something that should be considered in this time and age.

  28. The percent in extreme poverty might have halved in 20 years, but the absolute number has remained the same as the population doubled.

  29. As a teacher I know you have to be a life long learner, this means constant research and willingness to change. A teacher that teaches what he was taught is no teacher at all, they are just a conduit for antiquated information.

    Real learning comes when we step out of our comfort zones and into the unknown.

  30. 👨‍💻Diseases measles . chicken pox. and ? others all from 🐄🐮cows & animals 🥵🤷‍♂️ > When whiteys discovered usa . The 🐮🐄cows killed buffalos by Footrot Anthrax etc not shot by guns as told in westerns and the other diseases we caught by cows we transferred onto Natives😳🏴‍☠️

  31. can you americans stop clapping and lauguing during the presentation, you are disturbing the listeners. Uneducated goons.

  32. Animals may not be that smart, but it takes a human to be really stupid. These are examples of people guessing about things they haven't researched. Do we expect the government or media to install this info in our heads without some active participation on our part? News reports the exception to the norm. If we actually think rather than regurgitate something we heard the obvious would be easier to recognize.

  33. 2:24 and then came the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, which alone caused ~230,000 deaths in 2004. Strangely, this event is missing in the graph. It’s surely a rare event, but it did happen.

  34. Be a dedicated student of scripture, get saved, and keep the covenant.
    As you grow, all you do will turn your touch to gold for the benefit of
    yourself, others, and give all the glory to your maker.

  35. It's a matter of understanding media itself. Understand media and you can consume it to your benefit, because you'll know exactly how to take what you're reading, watching, or listening to. But it's a long road. To work on understanding media, you have to already be well on your way with politics, business, history, economics & finance, sociology, psychology, and philosophy. Those are in no order, and art, science, and technology also are probably indispensable. One other thing:

    "Take care that your light be not darkness." (M. Arnold) You will waste your efforts unless you look closely into ideas opposite to your own and scrutinize them for merit. If you find merit there, accept it, disturb you though it may.

  36. USA and UK.best global by to rubbish from nationalist war Rubbish Chinese war men gone with trump investment i not paying toilets cycles who wanted to drive out busines In Europe They Scrap metal Why should rebels not American tell English and Americans they not real USA got rid of war and famines these 2008 plans to drive extra gifted than their own rogues out of Europe Ireland gone to the scrap yard permanently on New year's day 2020 ) New year will.nr change not history like Europe in the near future medium psychic Clairvoyant Spiritualist on 00353)63)82576)

  37. Man, Professor Rosling made me realize, that myself full of negative prejudice about the world. Sleep Well, Professor

  38. End the deprivations of poverty by supporting local self reliance and non-accumulating local trade for removing deprevation from poverty. Money is cancer.

  39. "No poverty, no inequality, no pollution, everything is going fine with capitalism in the world without our data interpretation guys. Hey who wants to buy my surveys?"

  40. It is true that the media and politicians will use events, like a shark attack, to try to push their agendas. For example, 2 mass shootings in 24 hours, one in Texas and one in Ohio. Two very bad people and the left will try to use these incidents to try to take away guns from millions of law abiding citizens.

  41. Clearly all lefty, progressive and marxista people get wrong answers on regular bases, upon any giving world issue.

  42. Short answer: read The Bible.
    "Jesus answered, “I am the way and the Truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

  43. Good presentation but I don't like how Swedes in general see the West in a negative view. 'Western domination'.. but the West has been pushing forward liberal values, equality, peace and many technological advances. It's great the rest are catching up now, but don't paint a picture of the West in such a negative view when do much good has been done.

  44. Think critically. This guy is using GDP as a measure of how well off the average person is on a graph where the price of air travel hasn't changed since 1975.

  45. Being a person I am, I feel that I am uninformed and misinformed with or without media information. Because I am living in reality and not world-arena.

  46. A lot of the misinformation is actually being spread through political activism, some of it is from the universities.

  47. I found these questions incredibly annoying. 1. It wasn't stated if this was per capita deaths or the numbers of death overall. 2. It wasn't stated whether this is ALL girls vs ALL boys in the world, just too vague. 3. At least this said percentage of people in poverty so it was clear enough. Maybe it's just me. Hans is awesome though, just frustrated by rapid fire questions that were too vague 🙂

  48. The earthquake struck in the most populated area of the country. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies estimated that as many as 3 million people had been affected by the quake.[9] In mid February 2010, the Haitian government reported the death toll to have reached 230,000.[103] However, an investigation by Radio Netherlands has questioned the official death toll, reporting an estimate of 92,000 deaths as being a more realistic figure.[104] On the first anniversary of the earthquake, 12 January 2011, Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said the death toll from the quake was more than 316,000, raising the figures from previous estimates.[105]

  49. the best data from the disaster researchers is wrong according to only one disaster that happened in 2010 as showed below

  50. Interesting. It doesn't help when media often tries intentionally to suggest a certain viewpoint by cherry picking data and framing it in a favourable light. So it's also important to be aware of that. Look for the reasons people give- so much in politics especially is fairly baseless slander and posturing, purposely obscuring the actual facts of their policy and record.

    Data is a big one. Take the 'one hump' graph of income. Sure looks nice, but notice it's a logarithmic scale. If the scale was linear, it wouldn't be evenly spread. Imagine stretching out the right half of the graph until the scale is linear- you get most people in the low-middle and a shallower gradient on the right side, extending to a long tail representing a small percentage of people on significantly more than the rest. The mean may have increased, but so has the range. There are still people on less than $1, the average is about $10, and a not-insignificant number have over $100. Just an example of how we see data in different ways based on how it's presented.

    I think part of the reason people get this stuff wrong is because of over-correcting for their own environment. In the West, we've often been reminded how we're 'lucky' in terms of money and opportunities, rightly or wrongly, and there are always charities and campaigns showing us heartbreaking images and stories and telling us how much a massive difference our change makes to someone on the other side of the world.. We don't want to think of ourselves as being in this privileged 'rich country' bubble able to ignore the horrible things, we feel we should acknowledge them somehow.

    I can't see his 'certificates of global knowledge' thing being that relevant. Honestly, most people can do their jobs perfectly well without knowing a thing about global statistics. Maybe this is a case of him seeing a non-representative sample of people himself? Working somewhere like a middle-class office environment and having to communicate with people around the world, being in the media or some other 'public-communication' work, or having a significant influence in things like policy, finance, etc, then it's massively important. For the most people who don't do those things, well being an informed citizen is certainly helpful but it won't make you a better shopkeeper.

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