Book Review | Superforecasting - The Art and Science of Prediction
September 7, 2021
By Jared Tilley | Senior Investment Analyst at NAOS Asset Management
Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner provide a masterclass on prediction and forecasting as they try to solve the question, what makes some people better than others at forecasting.
Following the devastating World Trade Centre attack and the invasion of Iraq, the American Intelligence Community commissioned a research project to improve how they could research, judge and make better predictions. A new agency was set up, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), in which a competition was established with five teams tasked with forecasting daily events over four years. Of those five teams, Tetlock coordinated the Good Judgement Project (GJP) which was a team made up of hundreds of ordinary people.
In the book Tetlock and Gardner deep dive into key areas like group think which was non-existent within the GJP given his forecasters were participating solo. At the same time Tetlock explores key behavioural biases and provide practical ways to improve one’s forecasting ability.
For anyone who likes a challenge and wants to test their own forecasting skills, here is the link to the website in which anyone can participant. Although, I would recommend reading the book first. https://www.gjopen.com/
More often than not forecasts are made and then…nothing. Accuracy is seldom determined after the fact and is almost never done with sufficient regularity and rigor that conclusions can be drawn. The reason? Mostly it’s a demand side problem: the consumers of forecasting – governments, business, and the public – don’t demand evidence of accuracy. So there is no measurement.
We have been all too quick to make up our minds and too slow to change them.
Knowing what we don’t know is better than thinking we know what we don’t.
Finally, I am a big believer that books should be shared and not left on a book shelf to gather dust. So a small reward for anyone who made it this far, if you are interested in reading the above book, please reach out and I’ll organise delivery.