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RS 214 - Anthony Aguirre on "Predicting the future of science and tech, with Metaculus"

Release date: August 5th, 2018

Anthony Aguirre

This episode features physicist Anthony Aguirre discussing Metaculus, the site he created to crowd-source accurate predictions about science and technology. For example, will SpaceX land on Mars by 2030? Anthony and Julia discuss details such as: why it's useful to have predictions on questions like these, how to measure Metaculus' accuracy, why Anthony chose not to run it like a traditional prediction market, and how to design incentives to reward good forecasters.



"Why We Should Think Twice About Colonizing Space" by Phil Torres

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science


Full Transcripts 

Reader Comments (3)

If Julia really did hedge on Trump winning in 2016, she probably made a boat load of money, since almost NOBODY thought he could win.

Anthony Aguirre is a really kool guest and Metaculus is has a really slick design and friendly user interface. Although not the focus of this episode, FQXi is phenomenal, and Future of Life Institute just recognized Soviet Naval Officer Vasili Arkhipov:

Vasili Arkhipov and his family deserve the praise, since he probably averted WWIII !!

Metaculus has a lot of obvious benefits: (1) It can help people to learn to think in terms of probabilities instead of in absolutes, (2) It can prove or disprove the wisdom of crowds, (3) It can provide a forum for people to discuss really important questions about technological progress, (4) It looks like it will be a lot of fun, (5) it might help people learn to more accurately analyze risks and opportunities.

Aguirre should probably just keep the money out of Metaculus in order to avoid hedging distortions. People will cooperate with each other and discuss probabilities solely for the benefit of the participation, without the need for financial or reputational reward.

People definitely should more often try to listen to each other and attempt to understand each other.

Humans have already clearly demonstrated their tremendous capability for dividing into factions and destroying each other, even without leaving planet Earth. Therefore, we could expect plenty more of that in space. However, space exploration might lead to a civilization that survives all the belligerence now found on Earth.
August 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJameson
I played on the Forecasting ACE site for the IARPA ACE program. I was in the top 1% at one point. Phil Tetlock's Good Judgment Project kicked our butt. Scoring and incentives are key, and Forecasting ACE kinda screwed the pooch there. I don't understand how Metaculus scores predictions. Will have to do the tutorial.
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