10th International
Conference on
Teaching Statistics
8 – 13 July 2018
Kyoto, Japan

Keynote 4 (Thursday 12th, 9:30-10:30)   Chair: Prof. Jung Jin Lee

Through a glass darkly



To “see through a glass, darkly” (origin, 1 Corinthians 13:12) is to have an obscure or imperfect vision of reality. It is a great metaphor for realities underlying coming to know anything through statistics and, in particular, for looking backwards in order to look forward – as forecasting does. It is also a great metaphor for realities underlying statistical graphics and thus links the two parts of this talk. We begin by riffing on big issues related to the theme of the conference, looking backwards in order to look forwards and asking “How can we chart or way into a bright future?” Along the way we ask who we are, what part of the investigative landscape we occupy and who our neighbours are. We look at major trends we are currently caught up in, and at dangers and lessons arising from confronting “short termism” and “the future of work”. Since graphics provide the best hope for making serious statistical capabilities accessible to a wide cross-section of people, this begins a transition into a music-infused celebration of graphics in which we start with the plain, home-cooked fare that are our most basic graphics (dot plots, bar charts, and scatter plots) and start to add spices (other graphic elements) – each with its own theme tune – reducing the obscuring darkness of our looking glass by increasing what we can see through it. Links will be at http://bit.ly/icots10.