Superforecasting

The latest Seminars About Long-term Thinking at The Long Now is Philip Tetlock on testable methods of Superforecasting the future (.mp3 link)…

The pundits we all listen to are no better at predictions than a “dart-throwing chimp,” and they are routinely surpassed by normal news-attentive citizens. So Philip Tetlock reported in his 2005 book, Expert Political Judgement — and in a January 2007 Seminars About Long-term Thinking talk [which has lots of details on the ‘foxes vs. hedgehogs’ debate]. It now turns out there are some people who are spectacularly good at forecasting, and their skills can be learned. Tetlock discovered them in the course of building winning teams for a tournament of geopolitical forecasting run by IARPA — Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity. His brilliant new book, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, spells out the methodology the superforecasters developed.

Here’s a sample of the dart-throwing doomist chimps…

“A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.” — The Observer newspaper (Sunday version of The Guardian), 22nd February 2004.

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