Will Quants Rule the (Legal) World?

The quants are coming! And they are here to stay-so argues Professor Ian Ayres’ in his new book, Super Crunchers, which details the brave new world of statistical prediction and how it has already begun to affect our lives. For years, academic researchers have known about the considerable and at times surprising advantages of statistical models over the considered judgments of experienced clinicians and experts. Today, these models are emerging all over the landscape. Whether the field is wine, baseball, medicine, or consumer relations, they are vying against traditional experts for control over how we make decisions. To be sure, given its intended popular audience, Super Crunchers does not push the envelope in the judgment and decision-making field, spending most of its effort on summarizing and “translating” the recent successes in statistics and econometrics for the lay reader. But in this endeavor, it succeeds. Those who ordinarily cringe at numbers will find the book a delightful and educationally worthwhile read.