In a keynote address at the recent Charles Street Symposium, George Mason University Professor Tyler Cowen presented his take on the theory of black swan events, the notion of seemingly surprising and unforeseeable major impact events that are then rationalized with the benefit of hindsight.
The technology was originally developed to track missiles. Now, SportVU systems hang from the catwalks of 10 NBA arenas, tiny webcams that silently track each player as they shoot, pass, and run across the court, recording each and every move 25 times a second. SportVU can tell you not just Kevin Durant’s shooting average, but his shooting average after dribbling one vs. two times, or his shooting average with a defender three feet away vs. five feet away. SportVU can actually consider both factors at once, plus take into account who passed him the ball, how many minutes he’d been on the court, and how many miles he’d run that game already.
It’s big data in a relatively small pool, and it has the potential to impact everything about basketball, from how it’s coached, to how it’s recruited–even to how we calculate a player’s worth. Sportvision, another sports data collection system based on the same underlying big data idea, has already massively impacted baseball since it came into play in 2006. Now SportVU is generating more basketball data than anyone ever has. And its potential has only begun to be tapped–health care researcher Kirk Goldsberry, who recently wowed the stats geeks at MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conferencewith his spatial analysis to determine the best shooters, has begun mining SportVU’s data for new insights. But only 10 teams in the NBA are currently using SportVU. Four of them made the playoffs. One even made it to the finals: The Oklahoma City Thunder.
Enrico Moretti of the University of California, Berkeley and the author of the New Geography of Jobs talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Moretti traces how the economic success of cities and the workers who live there depends on the education of those workers. Moretti argues that there are spillover effects from educated workers--increased in jobs and wages in the city. He uses changes in the fortunes of Seattle and Albuquerque over the last three decades as an example of how small changes can affect the path of economic development and suggests a strong role for serendipity in determining which cities become hubs for high-tech innovation. The conversation concludes with Moretti making the case for increasing investments in education and research and development.
Join along with us on our first ride aboard the 2012 BMW K1600GT and GTL. We share our first thoughts in real-time as we experience them. Learn about the bike, it's features, and how it all works and sounds with us. We show it like nobody else, you'll feel as if you're there riding.
Skull & Bones