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About Metaculus

Metaculus is a forecasting technology platform that optimally aggregates quantitative predictions of future events.

Research shows that with the right incentives and feedback, groups of people can make remarkably accurate predictions of the probability of future events. Enabling this capacity is the aim of Metaculus.

What makes us different?

  • We are a reputation-based online community of experienced forecasters and new learners.
  • Metaculus brings together a highly engaged network of thousands of forecasters.
  • Our proprietary aggregation engine is the basis of our established forecasting track record, which has been publicly available since 2015.
  • Unlike traditional prediction markets, incentives and scoring rules on the Metaculus platform are aligned for accuracy in the long-term.

How does Metaculus generate accurate forecasts?

The human mind is an incredible engine for forecasting. But the world is complex, and many predictions are hard to make. Science has developed largely to fill this gap, making stunning predictions about systems that can be accurately modeled mathematically or numerically using theoretical constructs, but there are times when it still cannot predict the behavior of complex systems.

It is often assumed that events within such systems are simply unpredictable. But they aren’t. Of all the numerical ranges that Metaculus has forecast, 94% were more accurate than random guessing. You can see the Metaculus track record across all questions since 2015.

People

Team

Gaia Dempsey Gaia Dempsey — CEO — (Previously co-founder and international GM of DAQRI)
Gaia is an experienced entrepreneur and leader in technology and innovation-based startups. She co-founded DAQRI, an AR hardware company offering a complete professional AR platform to the industrial and enterprise market, serving as a senior executive there from 2010-2017. She helped build the company to 6 international offices and 500 employees, through various leadership roles in marketing, general management, and government relations.

Anthony Aguirre Anthony Aguirre — Founder & Chairman of the Board — (Prof. of Physics, UCSC; PhD 2000, Harvard)
An astrophysicist and cosmologist, Anthony co-founded the Foundational Questions Institute and The Future of Life Institute. Fascinated by deep questions in physics and a belief that the long-term future of humanity hinges upon the next half-century, Anthony’s work with Metaculus is driven by his belief that it will help us navigate the coming crucial decades.

David Levine David Levine — Founder & CFO — (President and CEO of Choice Yield Inc.; co-founder of Goodsource Solutions and former Vice President of Sales and Marketing)
David brings 30 years of experience in growing and operating successful businesses.

Greg Laughlin Greg Laughlin — Founder & R&D Fellow — (Prof. of Astronomy, Yale; PhD 1994, UCSC)
A planet-finder, astrophysicist, and expert on numerical computation and time-series analysis from accretion disks to trading and finance. Greg has probed the limits of predictability, from microseconds in markets to the ultra-long term cosmic future.

Max Wainwright Carroll “Max” Wainwright — Founder & AI Advisor — (AI Researcher & Data Scientist, PhD 2013, UCSC)
Max is a Research Scientist at Partnership on AI where he focuses on technical aspects of AI safety. Prior to joining PAI, Max worked as a physicist, data scientist, and software engineer. He earned his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2013 where he studied phase transitions in the very early universe.

Tamay Besiroglu Tamay Besiroglu — Strategy and Operations Lead — (MPhil 2020, University of Cambridge)
Tamay joined us in 2018. He helps organisations use quantitative forecasts, coordinates the running of the platform, helps organise research projects, and works to promote forecasting and estimation tech within Effective Altruist organisations. Tamay has previously interned at Bloomberg, the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, and consulted for the UK government.

Alyssa Stevens Alyssa Stevens — Product Marketing Associate
Alyssa is a student at Grinnell College majoring in Economics with an interest in understanding the intricacies of human behavior and decision-making. Alyssa began working at Metaculus this summer as an intern doing various things including question development, moderating, working with customers, and interpreting user data. Alyssa recently developed a question series on the future of higher education amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the new Solar Cycle 25 series.

Matthew Barnett Matthew Barnett — Data Science & Software Engineering — (BA 2020, University of California, Berkeley)
Matthew recently graduated UC Berkeley with a bachelor's in computer science. In the last few months he's been working on improvements to the Metaculus prediction, with an aim to produce very high quality forecasts across the platform. He's personally interested in future forecasting for a variety of reasons; at the moment he wants to better understand the future landscape of AI.

Matthew Barnett Juan Cambeiro — Content Coordinator
Juan is the content coordinator for subjects relating to biology and infectious disease and is currently focusing on forecasting vaccine and therapeutic solutions to COVID-19 and the pandemic’s long-term effects. Juan is finishing a BA/MA in biotechnology at Macaulay at Hunter College. He has experience in RNA biology and epidemiological research. Juan has also placed first in the GJP 2.0 COVID-19 Forecasting Tournament and hopes to continue doing work at the intersection of forecasting and biosecurity.

 Matej Vrzala Matej Vrzala — Web Developer
Matej is a self-taught web developer who joined Metaculus after working for a green energy startup in Prague. He became interested in Effective Altruism at the beginning of his career and took Giving What We Can pledge. Since joining the team, at the end of 2019 he was involved in developing most of the new features.


How do I start forecasting?

You can dive into the questions right away to start exploring, but if you want to make predictions and track your score we encourage you to sign upsign up for a Metaculus account. We have tutorials that will help you get a handle on the basics and hone your forecasting skills, and if you're ever confused about how things work you can find many answers in the FAQ. You can see your personal track record on your profile page to keep track of how you improve over time. Happy predicting!

How does Metaculus work?

Metaculus poses questions about the occurrence of a variety of future events, on many timescales, to our growing community of participating forecasters. Like many mental capabilities, prediction is a talent that persists over time and is a skill that can be developed. By giving steady quantitative feedback and assessment, forecasters can improve their skill and accuracy, as well as develop a quantified track record. Then, probabilities of future events can be reliably drawn by optimally aggregating predictions — counting more heavily those with domain expertise and a strong track record.

Some events — such as eclipse timing and well-polled elections, can often be predicted with high resolution, e.g. 99.9% likely or 3% likely. Others — such as the flip of a coin or a close horse-race — cannot be accurately predicted; but their odds still can be. Metaculus aims at both: to provide a central generation and aggregation clearinghouse for predictions. With these in hand, we believe that individuals, groups, corporations, governments, and humanity as a whole will make better decisions.

As well as being worthwhile, Metaculus aims to be interesting and fun, while allowing participants to hone their prediction prowess and amass a track-record to prove it.