Lesson From Jailed South Korean Blogger: Don't Be Too Good With Your Predictions

from the it'll-come-back-to-bite-you dept

There's been a fascinating story coming out of Korea over the past few months, concerning the (formerly) anonymous online commentator who went by the name Minerva. He accurately forecasted some of the early days of the financial collapse last fall, and suddenly the press talked him up and everyone wanted to know who he was. Then he claimed that the Korean government had told companies to stop buying US dollars -- forcing the government to put out a statement denying this was true. Then, following a few weeks of searching, he was arrested for spreading false information and (a week later) his identity was revealed (along with a background that shows he wasn't particularly well connected or knowledgeable -- he likely made some lucky guesses).

But, it does raise questions about the fine line between making predictions and spreading false information. Because he had been so accurate with his earlier predictions, many started to assume that he was well-connected, and any future predictions he made would also be equally accurate. It seems that, once again, the old saw that "past results is no guarantee of future performance" was ignored. Now, there may be a difference in terms of how the information was presented -- in terms of whether he specifically claimed to know for certain that the Korean government had done what he said, as opposed to just predicting that it was about to happen -- but it seems like the line between a prediction and "spreading false information" gets pretty thin once everyone thinks you know what's going on better than anyone else.
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Filed Under: blogger, forecasts, free speech, minerva, predictions, south korea, spreading harmful information

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  1. identicon
    Hulser, 13 Jan 2009 @ 8:18am


    This reminds me of a scam I saw on 60 Minutes or similar show a while ago. The scammer starts by calling a large number of people, telling half of them the stock of company XYZ is going to go up the next day and the other half that it's going to go down. If the stock goes up, he calls the first half back, again splitting the group in half, "predicting" that the stock will go up for some and down for others. At the end of a few days of the same process, the number of people has gone down dramatically, but whoever is left thinks he's a genius for acuratly predicting the performance of stock XYZ for so many days in a row. They practically beg the scammer to take their money to invest.

    Just another example of why past results are no guarantee of future performance.

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