The super forecasters: Some average citizens are better at predicting world events than the CIA is

When Rich, who is in her 60s, first heard about the experiment, she didn’t think that she would be especially good at predicting world events. She didn’t know a lot about international affairs and she hadn’t taken much math in school.

But she signed up, got a little training in how to estimate probabilities from the people running the program, and then was given access to a website that listed dozens of carefully worded questions on events of interest to the intelligence community, along with a place for her to enter her numerical estimate of their likelihood…

She’s in the top 1 percent of the 3,000 forecasters now involved in the experiment, which means that she has been classified as a super forecaster, someone who is extremely accurate when predicting stuff…

In fact, she’s so good she’s been put on a special team with other super forecasters whose predictions are reportedly 30 percent better than intelligence officers with access to actual classified information.

Rich and her teammates are that good even though all the information they use to make their predictions is available to anyone with access to the Internet.