Turning to crowdsourced forecasting when you’re not sure who or what to listen to
By Faith Powell on December 05, 2023
I must admit – I had never heard of forecasting before joining the Cultivate team a couple years ago. With a background in social advocacy, I joined Cultivate because I believe in the power of everyday people – like forecasters – to come together to support and empower one another, and to make collective change for good. Today, that idea is more important than ever.
It has been especially difficult to watch and read the news these last few months. It’s even harder to compare and contrast news sources, many with conflicting or reprinted information. This creates confusion and a lack of clarity about what is actually happening in our world and where supportive efforts are most needed. Further, when this confusion involves human lives, cultures, experiences, and the future of our globe, people are left angry, disoriented, or turning away from the news altogether.
With the very concerning rise of disinformation in mass media, I see the promise and potential of crowdsourced forecasting to cut through bias and disinformation in our media. Here’s how…
At its core, crowd forecasting aims to reduce bias to reveal truth.
Forecasters across platforms are committed to scouring relevant and
reputable articles and information on all sides of the issue, cutting
through uncertainties and conflicting information. The act of forecasting
itself necessitates rationality and awareness of bias by asking for
thoughtful forecasting rationales and pre-mortems. With diversity of
perspective and a range of research, our crowd often reveals a clearer
picture of the issue at hand. Plus our platform now supports AI-generated
rationale summaries, which offers a quick review of the key points that
forecasters are highlighting.
Crowd forecasting gives us a better indication of who to listen
to. Our crowd forecasting platform creates both individual forecaster
track records and a collective leaderboard of people who have historically
been accurate in their forecasts. Regardless of background, education, or
personal beliefs, many forecasters have a proven several-year track record of
accurately predicting global conflicts and trends. Conversely, many news
sources and popular media experts are limited by cyclical reporting, personal
agenda, unchecked bias, or a desire to build viewership or audience
engagement. Our top forecasters, incentivized by improving their forecasting
and climbing the leaderboard, are cutting through disinformation to reveal
truth and most probable outcomes.
Crowd forecasting allows us to easily see critical changes in
real-time. For example, looking through INFER’s topic on Iran:
Threats & Influences, we can see that relations between Israel and
Muslim-majority nations appear more strained now than before the start of
the war between Israel and Hamas. We can see that the odds of Yemen’s
Houthi movement attacks against Israel are growing. We can also see that
Iran’s nuclear ambitions are alive and continue to evolve. Further, looking
at the crowd forecast over time for each question, reveals key trends and
understanding about how the issue has evolved.
- While the media is often focused on one issue at a time, crowd forecasting allows analysts and stakeholders to quickly monitor several complex and interconnected issues. Currently, the news is largely – and rightfully – focused on the Israel/Hamas conflict. However, crowd forecasting allows us to monitor other global conflicts that may be receiving less spotlight. For example, since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, INFER’s crowd reveals increasing odds that Russia will hold more than 17% of Ukrainian territory by the end of 2023.
With the rise of AI, disinformation in mass media will only continue to grow and evolve. Turning our attention to crowd forecasting is one way that we can better understand, monitor, and respond to global uncertainty – together.