Recently I took part in a geopolitical forecasting study that was designed to help the US intelligence community improve upon their ability to predict the future. The study—which was organized as a tournament between thousands of forecasters—was funded by the office of the Director of National Intelligence through a government research agency known as IARPA. It was called The Good Judgment Project. Click here for articles if you're interested: The New York Times, The Financial Times, BBC, NPR, The Economist, The Washington Post.
In the tournament, my collective forecasts on over a hundred geopolitical issues proved to be more accurate than all but one of nearly 3000 other study participants. Which is partly why I'm posting this! In my spy novels, I try to give readers an insider's perspective on a whole host of cutting-edge geopolitical issues. So if my performance in this study leads potential readers to conclude that I'm not just one more half-informed pundit talking out his you-know-what, well, then I'm a happy man.
I'm also posting information about the study because I genuinely think the methods employed and conclusions reached point the way to a future where the forecasting aspect of intelligence analysis can be radically improved and depoliticized. I am in full support of any and all efforts to get us to that future and I encourage others to be supportive as well. If you're interested in learning more about the science behind effective forecasting, I'd recommend reading Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction and/or viewing this series of online lectures: Edge Master Class 2015: Philip Tetlock: A Short Course in Superforecasting.
Finally, I think the questions that were asked lend beyond-the-headlines insight into what the intelligence community was actually thinking about in 2014-15. Having had the pleasure of getting to know many of my readers, I'm guessing many of you will be as interested by the questions as I was. Here are links to them, organized by subject matter:
Note: Although my final forecasts are visible, they're not necessarily reflective of how I forecast over the course of a question.