Power & Security, Technology, United States Keeping Score: A New Approach to Geopolitical Forecasting

February 24, 2021
By Michael C. Horowitz, Julia Ciocca, Lauren A. Kahn, Christian Ruhl | Perry World House

Cassandra, the Trojan priestess of Greek mythology, was cursed; she could see the future, but no one – not even her father, King Priam – would believe her prophecies. Today’s policymakers, like King Priam before them, also want to see the future, but making accurate predictions persists as a challenge. 

Perry World House's new white paper proposes a novel approach to developing forecasts about geopolitics and global crises. The authors argue that by using rigorous crowdsourced methods, the U.S. government will be better able to know what lies ahead and how to prepare to meet the future's challenges and opportunities.

From prediction polls to team competitions, experiments conducted by the U.S. intelligence community over the last decade demonstrate the potential for crowdsourced forecasting. When used alongside existing approaches, crowdsourcing can significantly improve current analytic technique in government forecasting. To get the most out of these tools, the reports authors recommend the U.S. government should:

  • Keep score of its own geopolitical forecasts;
  • Promote crowdsourced and quantitative geopolitical forecasting to complement existing approaches;
  • Design communications system to effectively translate probabilities into useful information for policymakers;
  • And fund additional research and development to improve the accuracy of crowdsourced geopolitical forecasting methods.

This report was written with support from Open Philanthropy. 

Perry World House is also launching a new initiative to research and promote the use of crowdsourcing in government forecasts. This new research will be a part of our new Emerging Technologies and Global Politics Project.

Click here to read the white paper.