How probability works in real life

What is probability? -

Probability is a term used in mathematics to describe the likelihood of something happening.

How is probability calculated? -

Probability is calculated in terms of percentages and fractions. Here are a few examples of how these are calculated and described.

It’s certain -

This is when there is a 100% probability of something happening. It’s the highest possible likelihood.

It’s likely -

When it’s “likely” that something will happen, this means that there is a 50% to 100% probability of it happening.

There’s an even chance -

This one is used to describe the exact middle. Meaning that there is a 50% chance of it happening or not happening.

It’s impossible -

Opposite to the “it’s certain,” this is when there is zero likelihood of something happening.

Types of probability -

Now that we’ve looked at how probability is calculated, it’s also important to understand the types of probability and what they mean.

Experimental probability -

This is calculated using the number of total possible outcomes by the total possible number of trials. E.g. heads or tails.

Subjective probability -

Subjective probability is based upon subjective elements such as feelings or emotions. E.g. betting on a sports team just because it’s a person’s favorite team.

Probability in real life -

Now, let's take a look at how these concepts apply in real life.

Weather forecast - For instance, if there is a 65% chance of rain, you are more likely to take an umbrella with you.

Sports outcomes -

Many coaches decide on the strategy and tactics for games based on probability.

Autocorrect software -

This is one most of us experience daily. Word suggestions as we type on our smartphones are calculated based on probability.

Games of chance -

A good example would be a card game. Probability (as well as statistics) play a role in how the game will develop and what are the chances of winning it.

Shopping -

Shopping suggestions use probability to target consumers with products they are more likely to buy.

Election results - Then exit polls and trends are added into the mix and a winning/loss probability is calculated.

Stock market -

The stock market relies on a number of analytics to calculate the probability of stocks going up or down in price.

Sales forecasting -

Companies predict future sales based on probability, and this is how they ensure they have enough stock.