Polly goes back to school
So it’s back to school for Polly this morning (and yes she will be attending class virtually like her fellow students around the world). I know many of you are disappointed that Polly did not hit this one out of the park like she did over 20 elections since 2016. So are we. But we have to remember that Polly is an artificial intelligence, and like any intelligence, she needs to be taught, raised, and corrected when she is wrong. That’s how she learns. The great thing about Polly is that once she learns something, she never forgets. She just gets better with every experience.
So what does school look like for Polly?
On her first day back, once the results are finalized, we will ask Polly to “show her work” so we can properly analyze what went wrong (before last night, we ourselves did not have the answer to the test so we could not coach her!). Once we understand where Polly went wrong, we will give her the “answers to the test” and ask her to go back and re-read all those posts and then “re-create” the answers. Then we will ask her to re-analyze her interpretation of events in light of what really happened and teach herself where she likely went wrong. She will share these insights with us, her parents, whose job it is to raise and teach her.
What are some of our early theories of what went wrong?
One clue came to us early last night when Florida failed to go Democrat. Polly had not created a separate sample of Cubans – she lumped them in as “Hispanic” and clearly they needed their own sample (Polly predicted Florida would go Democrat at 52.6%). We have been asked if Polly speaks Spanish – yes she does, she speaks every language! – but clearly we need to factor out these linguistic groups even more. We need to include more ethnic and regional “factors” for the next election. Cubans, Mexicans and Venezuelans have different contexts.
This is a symptom of a larger challenge: Polly needs to fine tune her ability to uncover issues that are important to specific minority groups and regions. The smaller the group, the harder it is to uncover. It is not a problem in the methodology overall, it is an issue of fine-tuning: Amplifying the error to make it easier to uncover. Finding where she went astray, issue by issue, state by state. This will take several weeks, so if you want to follow Polly’s journey, stay tuned!
Polly is going to have to do some deep studying to understand something we all know instinctively: humans are complicated.
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