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!

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

  1. Maybe, the swedes are not into reading News Media..maybe they tuned many Other People that have lost Belief in what the Elites and their Media tell is caused by the Results of their Leadership where many have been left on the Street Corner, Homeless, unemployed, often badly -nourished, ill and left abandoned..It is what we call ''Smart Cities''…lol… more Homelessness that is clearly visible no matter what your Statistics Say… University Profs at McGill have argued for 25 years in Courts that Asbestos was Harmless, not a Danger that justified its Abandonmentt..well, they were wrong, as much wrong as those doctors that recommended we smoke cigarettes… so the traditional elites have lost their Credibility…with all their Graphs and Pie Charts..hey, it's cute…lol. We need solutions beyond Harvard Graphics…lol. We need Open Source Public Platforms, like Youtube, Vimeo that Give us the Facts. Hopefully, platforms and strong online and offline communities are emerging. I see it in the Coaching Space..true in other industries as well.

    He who controls the MEDIA controls REALITY.

    ..So , unemployment rates, as officially measured..they say currently at 4.5% in the USA,,..however, look around and it is much higher, probably in the teens, and higher for Minorities, Blacks or Muslim Women, where unemployment is 30% +. If things were getting Better, we would NOT have Populism..Get beyond the Statistics..Go into the Neighborhoods and See..PS" I think in the end, its American Citizens, possibly in a Community, tiny Housers, Earth shelter Pros or other corporate endeavours with their Volunteer Employees. Send them overseas to Senegal for a month to build a School and community Center..use it as Training of People, to build Cohesion in the Group, to coach, to film, to learnm, to Grow..Hands On.

    Good place for Product Development, ..for Startups..test that Elevator, build it, launch it … Materials, Systems, test them Here. but also Help the Locals and Help your employees feel that they 've improved the world Somehow..after this Leadership Training in a Foreign should be Obligatory and one Village at a time, we will change the World. Adopt-a-Village. ..a challenge I set for all my Pals in Coaching as well as other Sectors. Be the Change you Want to See…Love Life Loud and Clear

  2. people who earned 1 dollar in 1975 could buy more for that dollar than people who earn 1 dollar today. i wonder if he took this info consideration when measuring the world's poverty. almost nobody can afford to buy a house these days without a mortgage but people could afford to buy houses in 1975. it would also be more interesting to go way back in time

  3. Wow, it's great that those people like Hans Rosling exists! :)) We are going the right direction, I hope more people will be involved and avarice of money will slowly disappear.

  4. To know and rate levels of Ignorance & Misinformation?
    Just ask most Americans about AFRICA, Asia or Latin America. You'll get a single-sided viewpoint coined by the media

  5. I wish that everyone in the comments would acknowledge the fact that despite upwards trends in living conditions and other statistics worldwide, these improvements Roslings keeps alluding to follow correlating data in carbon emissions worldwide. Roslings statistics reflect a downwards trend in the worlds carbon budget, only more so as our 'carbon budget' is rapidly depleting and was rapidly depleting in 2014. The IPCC, which is unreservedly supported by the majority of scientific organisations over the world, estimates that we have less than eleven years to prevent a catastrophic global chain of events in the climate crisis which are outside human control. If things have been getting better in the world, I would argue that it won't be for long, that this is the pride before the fall and we need to stop global carbon emissions, reduce them by atleast 50% for starters or else all of this 'progress' will be rapidly undone for the next generation.

  6. Thanks Dr. Pangloss! Next can you explain why liberal democracy is in global decline! And how to avert the existential threat of climate change! Or we can just leave it to the chimps!

  7. the future prognoses leave out all considerations of the natural and mental degradation of humanity on this planet; – therefore, I am sorry to say, the future prognoses can be very wrong and misleading …. unresponsible really …

  8. Sweds have minds like sheep. I notice a differance between swedish and UK mainstream media. In Sweden the news is just served up where as in the UK the News presented in a discussion form presenting differant view points in debate. Sweds are too frightend to takeup confict. History speaks for its self Sweden has not been in a war for 150 years. During the 2nd world war Sweden waited to see who was winning before committing support. That sumerised the swedish sheep mentality. Don't compair Sweds to chimps as you insult the chimps.

  9. The one on Natural Disasters can be misleading though. Since it only talked about deaths from natural disasters, it doesnt really say anything about severity and frequency of natural disasters and their lasting impacts but only how good we have gotten at taking care of people when they happen. ofc less people die when we have advanced news forecasts telling us whats coming and cell phones etc. But besides now vaccinated diseases… have natural disaster like hurricanes, floods, fires, droughts gotten worse in severity and frequency? and natural disasters under water that we don't even see affecting marine life?

  10. The chart about income distribution at 6:00 min is highly missleading. the way the x-Axis is scaled gives a falls impression of income gape and income raise for low income population in relation to the raise of income for the minuscule high income population. supported by a very odd decision, to choose the x-Axis amout of money per day and the y-Axis amount of people. this way it seems like the incomegape is closing. if the X-axis would have been linear scaled and included the top incomes (minuscule in numbers but hilariously high in amout) the impression would have been starkly diffrent. it seems to me like an "trickeldown economics"-works-argument, its your reception of the matter thats wrong. but what do i know.

  11. "You must not compare yourself the swedes, you must have higher ambitions"
    Oh man…so humble! Sweden is one of the best countries to live in currently!

  12. What on earth could go wrong with a centralized service providing "facts" for the rest of us to learn?! I guess this guy hasn't heard of Google.

  13. Concerning the Wold Income Distribution: The image that is displayed in the video at minute 6 following uses an exponential measure! The same distance is used to signify 0 to 1$ as from 1$ to 10$ and as from 10$ to 100$!!
    Which simply means that the differences are appearing WAY smaller that they actually are!!
    A very manipulative thing to do!
    And this ricked (I think you can say that here although it isn't "wrong") image is replicated all over the internet!
    Does anyone have a linear graph to show the distribution?

  14. i aced it, and here's my rule of thumb-
    find the answer which would most outrage people, and pick the furthest opposite from it.

  15. The West donated their technology and manufacturing jobs to China – come on people! There's a correlation to manufacturing skyrocketing in China and Global Warming. Bravo.

  16. Something wrong w/ this rosy picture. When job searching in U.S., companies pay SAME salaries as 30 yrs ago, while costs of necessities (healthcare, education, housing, transport, utilities) have exploded, and pension plans replaced w/ 401(k)s that many have no money to contribute toward. Am I alone in this knowledge? Comments say these guys are brilliant and future is bright.

  17. way more than 50 % of people in western countries can afford a plane ticket. WIth these lowcost airlines coming into popularity you can travel at the cost of a train ticket (less even in a lot of cases) around 50-60 $.

  18. I was already aware of most that's been said, but I've been obsessed with Brexit for the last years. We need proper journalism

  19. Unlike most of the world, our huge hump in the middle is now over the animal's rear hips, with a boil over the front. Your chart is either old data or does not apply here.

  20. U.S. – 65% thought poverty almost doubled? Only 5% realized the correct answer that it almost halved?

    This is what happens when you let socialist morons take over your education system.

  21. Wow, hätte nicht gedacht dass es bei TED auch deutschsprachige Inhalte gibt! Aber ich höre ehrlich gesagt kein deutsches Wort, auch wenn die Überschrift das suggeriert. Shame on you, YouTube.

  22. Great talk! It's interesting to see how they framed the hump by using a logarithmic scale instead of linear scale. While this doesn't change the conclusion of their talk, it does show how facts can be 'massaged' to show a certain perspective. It's a great time to be alive to be able to nitpick about these kind of details!

  23. I watched the first 9 minutes, got every question right with little thought, then started this comment while listening to the rest. But I read a lot, haven't owned a TV in 30 years, have traveled to many countries. We home-schooled our 8 children, all succeeding. We are pro-education. Been to all 48 contiguous United States, with my wife and kids, most multiple times. Those are our field trips. I also taught engineering at the college level 10 years. I consume history books and documentaries. I know how to gather and review data as a licensed professional engineer. So I ask, who are the ones in the TED audience? How can so many people be misinformed? I am a Christian conservative, Republican. But that's because I look at the data. Board chairman of a non profit that goes around the world and local helping people. Just got back from Niger. Fed 1,300 prisoners and donated 50 lbs of medical supplies (they had virtually none). Life is good and it's fun being a participant. (But I don't know much about the movies or modern singers…)

  24. Hans who? Famous demographic graphs you know…Hmmm, I must be an ignorant then. But, is knowing that new info makes me a knowledgeable person again?

  25. I’m thrilled I got all the answers right. I’m also thrilled to have my theory confirmed — after living in Sweden for 7 years — that Swedish people are morons. Unbelievably narrow-minded and racist people, while thinking themselves progressive.

  26. The common ignorance described in this talk goes a long way to explain the renaissance of enthusiasm for socialism, especially among supposedly educated people in the west.

  27. Sharks kills higher percentage in my surf community ✌️😋 i think airplane travel is not a good option bc the aviation became surprisingly cheap.

  28. Hello, I would recommend to investigate these « facts ». Here is an interesting article I’ve found about the one hump world :

    Edit : I’ve forgot to explain that the facts presented in the video might have been misinterpreted

  29. yes but regarding your graph of o$ 10$ 100$; in 1975 10$ was worth a lot more than $10 today. In 1975 I could buy a meat pie (Australian lunch meal) for 20cents, now in 2019 that same meat pie costs me between 6 & 10$ (let alone the quality of the pie being poorer nowadays) so that sliding hump isn't even keeping up with the true dollar value, as you did NOT change the dollar value in your graph. Ergo yes, there are likely MORE people living in poverty than your template gives credence to as those earning 10$ today are earning the equivalent of LESS than 1$ in 1975.

  30. People can jibber all they like on stage but the reality is more people live in real poverty today than ever before. In my youth 50 years ago I knew lots of poor people but sadly today due to the ridiculous costs of living there are many now in deep poverty. Everything is off the scale. Water prices, GP visits, utilities, cost of produce, education fees, fuel prices etc etc etc. Single incomes to support the Family are rare today. Back in 1970 most mom's stayed at home to keep the family nurtured. Now partners are so exhausted after their daily shift they can't be bothered cooking so survive on crap takeouts. Sorry Ole, it's much worse today.

  31. WELL u forgot to say the CHINA and INDIA together outnumber us by far , so their economy is improving, it doesn't mean is changing for the other countries. Another thing u not talking about in number of population your data was based in region, if so why we have an immigration crisis now?
    your information was build to prove your theory and not the other way around. Is the same technique christian minister uses at their church.
    obviously the world has gotten better, there's no arguing in that. What I believe is incorrect is your view of money distribution . what is happening the middle class grew but we have now higher concentration middle class works more for less.

  32. I disagree with outdated facts, no fact is ever outdated, it is possible that the facts are being misrepresented as current fact when they are a fact from a different time.



  35. These outcomes aren't too surprising, given the extreme left politics of Sweden. EU media (propaganda) also doesn't surprise at all (I live in The Netherlands BTW).

    Also a big problem with organizations like Amnesty, WWF, etc is: they make money because of specific problems. Problem gone? Money gone. It's the same with modern medicine: treat, don't cure; don't make the well dry up. It's a business model, not pure science. These guys have money at stake, so it's not in their best interest to be completely honest about the facts.

    You can call this cynical, but here's my proof:

    So either Hans and Ola are lying about the income gap or Oxfam is. It's as simple as that. Who is lying? Your guess is as good as mine, but my guess is Oxfam.

  36. Here's what I know about the "world" it's a fake secular term, This is not the world it is the earth.
    Secondly most dumb phucks like you see on TED don't know wtf they're talkin about. ( with the exception of the talks on water )
    Lastly there is a hidden kabbal at work behind the scenes with names like rothschild and epstein.
    Their motive is a salvation through chaos ideology. They believe they can force the hand of the supreme being.

  37. His presentation about immigration with gum balls was incredibly ignorant, misleading people about a simple fact of cultural exchange between immigrants and their home countries.

  38. Capitalism has raised so many out of poverty. With the crony capitalism we have now the gap between the ultra rich and everyone else is increasing but overall everyone's standard of living is being raised as well. Socialist and Communist countries there's still the gap between ultra rich elite and everyone else but overall everyone gets poorer.

  39. If only so many people weren't ignorant to the fact that the whole Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis is a scam, a giant lie.

  40. Those questions are horribly phrased and missing their context.
    For example:
    Are we talking about reported deaths or estimated deaths.
    Does the time in school average with people who didn't get to attend school?
    What a waste of time…

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