Stats Life

The title of this article was also that of a talk I gave at the RSS Conference in Sheffield this September. In a way, I was trying to provoke the audience and to some extent I succeeded, but maybe not enough as a lot of the audience seemed to agree with me. As the man who was disciplined by the RSS Professional Affairs Committee many years back for daring to suggest that statistics should not only be done by statisticians, I have a reputation to live up to.

But whilst it was a personal view, the talk had a serious theme. I argued that where we are today as a profession is not entirely the logical consequence of where we started from. So, the key questions are: Where are we today? Why are we here? Is it the best place for us, and where do we want to be in the future?

I argued that mega trends in statistics are driven by external drivers, whether the statistical profession fully participates or not. We (the profession) may not want to change, but we may have to in order to survive. Or we may chose not to. Like Scrooge confronting our origins, the reality of the present and the inevitable consequences of our attitudes, actions and behaviours, should help us face the future and be more worthy citizens.