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2019 is looking pretty uncertain. Can you predict what will happen?

Will Brexit happen? Will the pound collapse? Will Trump be impeached? Test and improve your powers of prediction in 2019 in our first ever crowd forecasting challenge. Join us and help forecast some of the major UK and global events of the next twelve months. #YouPredict2019

Put your prediction skills to the test

The start of a new year is always accompanied by a slew of experts making predictions about the future. This year, Nesta is giving you the chance to try your hand at predicting the big events and developments of 2019.

Join our crowd forecasting challenge and over the course of the year, you’ll be invited to make predictions on 10 topical questions - from Brexit, to the economy, politics and major global events. Each forecast you produce will be combined with those of other forecasters to generate a collective ‘wisdom of the crowd’ prediction. You’ll be able to see the forecast update in real-time and exchange analysis with other participants. You’ll get feedback on the accuracy of your individual predictions, find out how you compare to other forecasters and maybe even make the leaderboard. In an uncertain world, this is an opportunity to get smarter about the future.

Sign up to our crowd forecasting challenge

To register to take part, simply sign-up to Nesta’s challenge on the Good Judgement Open website.

Why predictions matter: provocations vs forecasts

Predictions tend to fall into two categories: provocations and forecasts. Provocations are designed to highlight an emerging issue, inspire, or challenge us to reflect on where we’re headed. At Nesta, our annual predictions series in this vein has been running for eight years.

Forecasts are about detecting what is most likely to happen in the future. They influence the decisions that affect our everyday lives, from the amount a company decides to invest in innovation, to the spending allocations of a local council and the interest rate set by the Bank of England. As individuals, we forecast all the time when making decisions: Should I sell my house now or wait? Is it a good time to leave my job? Should I take a course in computer science? With forecasts, accuracy matters. In a time of radical uncertainty, such as we now face, making accurate forecasts about what will happen becomes both more difficult and more important as individuals and organisations attempt to navigate their way through the unknown.

It is this second type of prediction - forecasts - that is one of the research interests being explored by Nesta’s Centre for Collective Intelligence Design in 2019. We want to understand how groups of people can work together with new technologies to predict the future, make decisions and create new solutions to address social challenges from food security to better delivery of public services.

New methods for forecasting the future

In the last few years there has been an explosion in new approaches to forecasting, and it is no longer the sole preserve of experts and pundits. New methods include human forecasting systems - techniques like prediction markets and ‘crowd wisdom’. They also include machine-driven systems - from machine-learning models to automated text analysis - and hybrid methods that combine the two types of forecast. We want to learn how these can bring more accurate insights for decision-makers.

Can ‘crowd wisdom’ create accurate forecasts?

The Good Judgement Project is a pioneer of one of these new methods - crowd forecasting. As part of a forecasting tournament sponsored by IARPA, the US intelligence agency, they engaged thousands of people around the world to predict global events. They found that the collective forecasts of the crowd were surprisingly accurate - at times more accurate than even those of the US intelligence officers - as documented in the book Superforecasters.

In 2019, we’re inviting you to join our forecasting challenge with Good Judgement Open, to predict the events that will shape the world in the next year and improve your powers of prediction.

In early 2020 we’ll announce the overall results - reporting on how successfully the crowd predicted developments during a year of radical uncertainty around the world; and one of profound but unclear consequence for the future of the UK. We also hope that this particular experiment will yield novel insights into the effects of geography and demographics on the accuracy of crowd forecasts.

Sign up to our crowd forecasting challenge today

To register to take part, simply sign-up to Nesta’s challenge on the Good Judgement Open website and start predicting away!

Author

Kathy Peach

Kathy Peach

Kathy Peach

Interim Head of the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design

The Centre for Collective Intelligence Design will be exploring how human and machine intelligence can be combined to develop innovative solutions to social challenges

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