2016 is coming. There are probably a few things you know for certain. But what about big political questions. How well can you predict if either Turkey or Russia will officially suspend or cancel the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project before the end of 2016? What about who will win Uganda’s next presidential election? While most of us are no better than a chimpanzee with a dartboard at making predictions… and even experts are sometimes no better than the chimp… there are a few people who have an extraordinary ability to make predictions with greater than normal accuracy. And I don’t mean 1-2% greater accuracy. I mean 30-40% greater accuracy than intelligence community analysts who have access to secret data. These are the superforcasters. I predict that at least one of you is a superforecaster.
Whether it is ESP or refined judgment trained over years, superforecasters (a term coined by Canadian expat Philip E. Tetlocks, now a U Penn prof), have what seem to be oracular skills. They’re not geniuses — they are above average in intelligence, generally curious and able to update their beliefs as new information comes their way. Most of them use Google searches to find information to make their predictions. Sounds like you, right?
To identify superforecasters, a beta website called the Good Judgement Project holds “tournaments” to identify those who can most accurately answer questions about world events. Anyone can register and try their skills as prediction. There are even some videos to train you in the art and skill of making predictions. At the end of the year, the top participants are identified as the superforecasters. Their names
Those who register are asked to make predictions about specific questions. The Good Judgment Project runs what it calls a “Classic Geopolitical Challenge” that asks questions that are more global in nature. “Will anti Islamic State forces retake Mosul before 1 January 2017?” and “Will Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff resign or be impeached before 1 April 2016?”Some are more open ended, such as “Which toy will win the Innovative Toy of the Year Award for 2016?” and “Which main character will be the first to die in Season 6 of the Walking Dead?”
Selecting a question provides the predictor with some background information and relevant links about the topic. Then the superforecaster gives a prediction on how likely a “yes” is on a scale from 0-100%. There is an opportunity to provide your rational underneath. There are also some graphs and stats about the consensus of probability over time.
The Good Judgment Project began in 2011, so it’s been around awhile. It has ties to a number of US programs like the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) and the Aggregative Contingent Estimation (ACE), the
While it takes awhile before you can find out your success as a superforecaster, if you’re looking for something to do in the next few days that will eventually prove to everyone that your ability to foretell the future isn’t just an accident, check out The Good Judgement Project. It may take some time before the site lets you know your status, but if you really are a superforecaster, you probably already know what’s coming with 90% probability.
Check out the Good Judgement Project here and let us know how you do in the comments section below.