Great forecasting with collective intelligence
Dr. Emile Servan-Schreiber teaches crowd forecasting at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University’s School of Collective Intelligence. At the helm of Hypermind since 2000, he has extensively researched and deployed many prediction markets and crowd forecasting innovations.

Masterclass: Great Forecasting with Collective Intelligence

How can we better predict the future? Cognitive scientists know that forecasting is the essence of intelligence.

Improving our forecasting skills will help us to become smarter, individually and collectively.

This masterclass will introduce you to the wisdom of crowds: a group’s ability to be smarter than the smartest person in the group, particularly when it comes to making accurate predictions.

You will learn how to improve your own forecasting skills with the ABC’s of champion forecasters.

1. Understanding the wisdom of crowds

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Script Emile Servan-Schreiber Animation Camille Larmanou Voice Camille Larmanou

Are crowds always stupid? No. When properly organized, a crowd can be smarter than even its smartest member.

We’ll take a closer look at the discovery of the “wisdom of crowds”, dissect the “diversity theorem”, and give you the recipe for collective intelligence.

  • Everyone can be right, even when each person is wrong.
  • Larger crowds are smarter.
  • Diversity and expertise are interchangeable and complementary.
  • Collective intelligence = diversity + independence + aggregation.

2. The superpower of crowd forecasting

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Script Emile Servan-Schreiber Animation Camille Larmanou Voice Camille Larmanou

Collective intelligence pushes the limits of forecasting. Especially when too many variables are involved for a single expert to handle, or when there is too little data to feed an artificial intelligence.

How do we know this? Before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, Hypermind teamed up with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in a large-scale research study aiming to test the epidemiological forecasting skills of several hundred public health experts and other medical professionals.

The results were astonishing!

  • An individual expert’s forecasting skills rival those of a dart throwing monkey.
  • But the crowd’s forecasts outperform the best forecasters in the crowd.
  • Reality seems to align itself with the collective forecast.

3. See the future like a weather forecaster

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Script Cara Widmer, Brandon Minnery, Emile Servan-Schreiber Animation Camille Larmanou Voice Shannon Wolfe

The future is not written, it is probabilistic.

So let’s discuss how to think about probabilities, and how to objectively assess the accuracy of a prediction.

  • The only valid forecasts are those expressed as probabilities.
  • A forecast is never simply right or wrong.
  • The Brier score measures the accuracy of a forecast.

4. Predict like a champion with the ABC’s of great forecasting

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Script Colin Widmer, Brandon Minnery, Emile Servan-Schreiber Animation Camille Larmanou Voice Camille Larmanou

Forecasting is a matter of skill, not luck. Discover the ABC’s of how champion forecasters think, recently validated by US intelligence agencies.

  • Attitude: the best forecasters love contradictory points of view, stay humble, and change their minds when the facts change.
  • Balance: champions approach a problem by combining a macro “outside” view, using base rates, with a micro “inside” view that considers particularities.
  • Break it down: a complex forecast should be divided into a set of simpler and more measurable elements.
  • Commitment: Forecast often, and in small updates. Don’t overreact to the news.

Test your forecasting skills. Get recognized. Win prizes.

Put theory into practice! To hone your forecasting superpowers, we invite you to participate in Hypermind’s forecasting contests. Participation is free, competition is fun, and prizes are plenty.