27 minutes | Jul 1st 2020

Modeling, Economists And Predicting The “New Normal”

Modeling plays a key role in the development of the future car and in this new pandemic world in which we live. Preventing the spread of this disease permeates everything we do from how we manage our health to how we dine out, and even how we get around - everything is changing. While scientists race to find a vaccine and the world must adapts to a new normal, modeling and simulation help us predict how that new normal will unfold. 

Putting new systems in place and altering urban infrastructure is costly. Particularly during an economic shutdown, we need to make sure our decisions have the intended effect of keeping us safe as we return to some version of normality. So, what role does modeling play in helping us make those decisions, and who is doing the modeling? Join Ed Bernardon, host of The Future Car Podcast, discover how economists are shaping the models that try to predict the new normal.

Our guest today is Ashley O'Donoghue, a Ph.D. economist at the Center for Healthcare Delivery Science at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. She talks with us about some of the models that are currently being used to help us predict what the new normal might look like. She’ll also help us answer one of life’s great questions: What exactly does an economist do?

Some Questions I Ask:

  • What is the role of an economist in the healthcare sector? (3:02)
  • When do you know your model is good enough? (6:35)
  • Can models help us predict the future? (7:37) 
  • What is a “super spreader”? (11:10)
  • Which environments are more likely to create super spreader events? (13:24)

What You Will Learn:

  • What an economist actually does (1:49)
  • What we learn from “causal inference” (3:41)
  • Examples of Natural Experiments in hospitals and what we can learn from data (4:56)
  • What the current models are predicting about transportation (8:54)
  • The unintended side effects of the pandemic in the healthcare sector (9:26)
  • What changes cities are already making to adapt (10:01)

Learn more about Ashley O’Donoghue:



Super Spreader Study

Harvard Business Review on Ashley’s Model

AI in Health Care

Learn more about your host Ed Bernardon:


Future Car: Driving a Lifestyle Revolution

Motorsports is speeding the way to safer urban mobility

Siemens Digital Industries Software

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