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Website tests predictive powers of the hive mind

Metaculus.com users help estimate probabilities of future events

By
6:00am, July 26, 2016
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FUTURE FORECAST  The website Metaculus asks people to weigh in on questions about the future, such as whether 2016 will be the hottest year on record.  

As the saying goes, “It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” The website Metaculus.com aims to make this challenging task easier by harnessing collective wisdom.

Metaculus solicits answers to questions about the future — on topics spanning science, politics and economics — and combines these predictions to infer the likely outcomes. Will 2016 be the hottest year yet recorded? Will we find evidence for aliens soon? Will we hail self-driving taxis in the next few years? The hive mind might provide answers.

The website, created by physicists Anthony Aguirre and Gregory Laughlin of the University of California, Santa Cruz, along with former postdoc Max Wainwright, is an experiment to test whether our pooled instincts can produce reliable predictions. The site may also help scientists make informed decisions about which research to prioritize. Organizations funding

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