Forecasting Tournaments

Edge Master Class 2015: A Short Course in Superforecasting, Class I by Philip Tetlock

It is possible to make more subtle and granular distinctions among degrees of uncertainty on questions that are of interest to the U.S. intelligence community. That’s an empirical demonstration from the IARPA tournaments; it’s pretty solid. The juxtaposition of President Obama on the Osama problem and on the March Madness problem illustrates that it’s not that he can’t think in a granular way about probability. He may be implicitly thinking it’s impossible to think in a granular way about national security, or it’s not even normatively appropriate to become all that granular in the national security domain. Different epistemic norms seem to govern what is or is not appropriate to say about uncertainty.    

Among the best forecasters in the IARPA tournament believe change tends to be quite granular. They think that Hillary Clinton has a 60 percent chance of being the next President of the United States today, and then some information comes out from the State Department Inspector General about Hillary’s emails and her possible culpability for her email policy: “Okay, I think I’m going to move it down to .58 now.” That’s the sort of thing superforecasters do, and the cumulative result is that their probability scores, as defined in these handouts here and in the book, are much better. The gaps between their probability judgments and reality are smaller where your dummy code reality is 0 or 1, depending on whether the event didn’t occur or did occur.         

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Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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