Crowdsourced Guesses Predict World Events Better Than The CIA

Crowdsourced Guesses Predict World Events Better Than The CIA
technology

The Good Judgement Project calls on the "wisdom of the crowd."

Ross Brooks
  • 4 april 2014

The Good Judgment Project, a four-year study sponsored by the CIA, draws on the “wisdom of the crowd” to help predict significant world events such as missile attacks and foreign invasions. While it’s easy to think experts would have the best predictions, it’s actually more accurate to average out the answers to important questions taken from a selection of “normal” people.

Elaine Rich is one of those “normal” people, a pharmacist who lives in suburban Maryland and answers questions such as “Will Russian armed forces enter Kharkiv, Ukraine, by May 10?” from her kitchen table. All it took to get involved was a bit of training in probabilities, access to a website which houses the questions, and the ability to perform a Google search.

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The project has even assembled a team of “superforecasters” who have proven to be better than intelligence officers who have access to actual classified information. it’s unclear whether the wisdom of the crowd can be applied to every situation, and there is no threat of it replacing intelligence agencies just yet, but it does raise interesting questions about those with so-called “expert” status.

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