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How Charts Lie

Technical talk | English

Theatre 25: Track 1

Thursday - 10.55 to 11.35 - Technical

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We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if we don’t understand what we’re looking at?

Charts, infographics, and diagrams are ubiquitous. They are useful because they can reveal patterns and trends hidden behind the numbers we encounter in our lives. Good charts make us smarter—if we know how to read them.

However, they can also deceive us. Charts lie in a variety of ways—displaying incomplete or inaccurate data, suggesting misleading patterns, and concealing uncertainty— or are frequently misunderstood. Many of us are ill-equipped to interpret the visuals that politicians, journalists, advertisers, and even our employers present each day. We need to learn to not only spot the lies in deceptive visuals, but also to take advantage of good ones. In this talk, Alberto Cairo demystifies an essential new literacy, one that will make us better equipped to navigate our data-driven world.