Predictions: CIA vs. "ordinary folk"

Well, it really isn't about the CIA in particular but about the concept that a group of ordinary people can be better than the experts at predicting things. It's interesting as are the comments.

An NPR blog offers up the article. The project is an experiment that seems to have some pretty interesting results.

For the past three years, Rich and 3,000 other average people have been quietly making probability estimates about everything from Venezuelan gas subsidies to North Korean politics as part of , an experiment put together by three well-known psychologists and some people inside the intelligence community.

According to one report, the predictions made by the Good Judgment Project are often better even than intelligence analysts with access to classified information, and many of the people involved in the project have been astonished by its success at making accurate predictions.

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Classified data

Experts not only have access to classified data, it is almost always given preferred treatment in the evaluation process. One problem is that classified data is rife with false information, routinely provided to confuse the evaluators. The average person, even with internet access to all freely available information, would not have access to this data. So, they needn't deal with "factual fraud" - much of which is very sophisticated, and only an expert could actually disprove it, etc.

Thanks for bringing that up, too.

Maybe it's "trust what we have that the general public doesn't have access to." Also, like all humans, and perhaps more than most humans because of the screening, they trend to follow group culture.

Rebecca Brown

nuking it

When I was in the Navy I was a Submariner. Submariners are said to be the brightest in the Navy as a whole. IF this is true, then the Nuclear engineers and technicians would be the brightest of the bright. We would often make fun of them because simple tasks and questions would often confuse and frustrate them. The reason this happened is because they are smart. They think about EVERYTHING. They often over think the simple things. We called this, "nuking it".

Too much information is a bad thing as much as it is a good thing. Information can conflict and cause doubt, confusion and hesitation. Even wrong decisions. I don't know, but I imagine the CIA or other intelligence services encounter this often. The advantage the ordinary person has over the intelligence professionals is the "KISS" principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

As Usual The

comments are more interesting than the article:

I'd like to see some predictions of these prognosticators and compare the results myself.. DOES Elaine the Maryland pharmacist believe that Putin will invade eastern Ukraine? Now is the time to make that prediction. WILL one of Iran's terror partners fly a nuke laden 777 into Manhattan?

Will the Republicans take back the US senate this year,, finally ending the recession and putting the country back on track? Is DO President for Life of Nicaragua? Will Mi Burro survive the CIA efforts to unseat him? Let's hear from Elaine . .

Comment: " . . . .Well, dang.....I can think of fifty people right off hand who are more intelligent than Barack Obama. Yet, that's how the system works. We have Barack Obama in the White House rather than someone with far superior intelligence.

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Avatar K P colt call • 3 hours ago

I can too, but none have the initials c c nor are any of them republicans or Tea Partyists. Warren Buffet is among them, one of my doctors, a neighbor, a friend who has been a rancher all of his 52 years, a professor who taught me statistical analysis, my wife and others. But, Obama is the most intelligent president we've had since probably Roosevelt or Wilson. He is also one of the most successful. He has brought us out of this recession which was almost as bad as the Great Depression far faster than Roosevelt and he has expanded health care insurance for everyone, something no other president has been able to do though many tried. He lags only behind Clinton and Reagan in job creation during their administration and will probably surpass Reagan before Obama's administration is over. He has prevented attacks on the Homeland, something his predecessor, the pseudo-Texan, couldn't do, and has expanded civil rights to tens of millions of Americans. He has responded to natural disasters better than any of his predecessors and has not let partisanship prevent him from helping those in states that didn't vote for him. ..."

The problem is that the CIA have friends and get confused ...

…by the friendships between themselves and their confidential informants, what other people in the organization say. Average people are going by what people do in general -- and there's no a whole lot of difference between anyone here and anyone there.

Obama is making a lot of racists froth at the mouth because he's not a bad president. In a way, that's all he had to do, be a decent president. Civil Liberties people aren't so fond of him, but Romney was more wrong.

Bush couldn't believe anyone Saudi would attack the US since some of his best friends were Saudis, including other members of the bin Ladin family. The CIA believed that the Cuban people would rise up when the guys landed at the Bay of Pigs because that's what their guys told them. Likewise people who don't kiss US butt are likely to be more problematic in US minds than people who court the US as Familia Somoza did. Beria never thought Khrushchev and friends would kill him.

None of us are that much smarter than human average, certainly not twice as smart as average. People just use their smarts to negotiate the world in different ways based on their circumstances.

By the way, I've had to deal recently with someone worse than you in another group. You just don't compare (I don't think you invent dying wives or sick granddaughters to pull out when people call you on your tendency to try to give more advice than you have information to share). This guy lies amazingly and is in a group of very technical people (I'm not the most technical former news admin there by a long stretch) who tend to be more trusting than the average ex-reporter or cop. He hates Google News because he doesn't want anyone to walk the cat backward on him.

I just finished walking the cat backwards on him. It was fun. Then a nice long bit of watching episodes of Twin Peaks.

Rebecca Brown

".....Dying Wives And

Sick grandaughters . . "

I have neither,, are you confusing me with someone else?

I really don't give people advice. I relate my experiences, what I've learned, what anyone does with that information is his business.

I really don't care.


hahahahhah. You've hha.a.ahhahaha. I'm sorry, this the funniest thing I've seen since someone told a group of ex-Usenet node runners, some who'd done it commercially, that Forte wasn't primarily selling binary Usenet access. (The guy who was worse that you).

That's LOL. I could start laughing again.

No, it's not about you on the imaginary granddaughter. It was someone worse.

Rebecca Brown

I remember

About 5 years ago, when people actually got along on this site. People would joke and offer advice and help to the Nicaliving community. I used to look forward to reading about a persons adventures and different slants on topics. We didn't really care if it was Nica related or not, as long as we got to shoot the bull. Now everything seems to get so personal and hateful. I am guilty too, but I have cut back on my time here because of this. Can't we all just get along? ;-)

Where did it go wrong?

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)


Check the posts from 5 years ago.......just as bad.

And the worst ones have been purged from the site

I told Susan at the time that we needed a few of those for the historical record.

Rebecca Brown

And I thought

If I left them we would never have new members!

You're probably right….

….but an archive of the offenders might have been useful.

Rebecca Brown

Yeah! I Remember Getting

into it with the Mujer Magnetica. She was a piece of work. I remember she called me a pervert and Shelley a Stepford Wife. I kind of miss her.

She then joined up with a true pervert on another CA site for a while -and then disappeared:

Truly strange bedfellows. Where IS Peter Christopher these days. All the fun ones leave.

Good point though, I'll tone it down.

This site has always had a lot of passion. It's a large part of it's attraction.

That - plus the solid information presented by a variety of posters (but a couple in particular, Phil and Juanno come immediately to mind) makes the site a valuable asset.

Like the old workplace joke

''You don't have to be nuts to live in Nicaragua, but it helps''

But even crazy people can be civil!

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher

Some people consider women to be uncivil….

….if the women don't fawn on them and take everything they say seriously. Expecting that is completely uncivil. I think I've basically been civil with people who were civil with me, though I do know that I've got a Manhattanized style of communications, and few people from the midwest get my sense of humor. Juanno and I went through differences (at one point, he wanted to throw me off the site) though I think we understand each other better now (possibly two people being too much alike). " 'The truly insane have enough on their plates without us adding to it.' That is, flaming someone with an obvious mental problem can't make it any better. Most often cited on alt.usenet.kooks as a reason not to issue a Kook-of the-Month Award."

I had a friend who said fairly upfront that he had mental health issues who was voted Kook of the Month and had people attacking him fairly viciously (not that he was particularly sensible, but his heart was in a better place than most of his attackers). He committed suicide a couple of years ago; I wish he'd retroactively been granted a Formosa's Law pardon. Stephen Boursy, for anyone who knows Usenet.

If someone's crazy, the kinder thing is to simply ignore them. Killfiles make this easier. As I said to friends privately after engaging filters in another venue, if someone I don't want to hear from says anything interesting or useful, someone else will respond to it.

Rebecca Brown


Key West is our Bastard Child?