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Will Metaculus's predictions significantly improve in the next 6 months?
One of the goals of Metaculus is to produce well-calibrated probabilistic forecasts. According to the Metaculus FAQ: "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, predictors can improve their skill and accuracy, as well as develop a quantified track record." So, as the size and experience of the Metaculus community increases so should the quality of the predictions generated by it.
Recently, Metaculus assembled an interactive display of its track record so far. Several metric are given, including the Brier score, which is essentially the mean square difference between the prediction and the actual outcome:
where are the predicted probabilities and are the observed outcomes, equal to zero if the question resolved negatively and equal to one if it resolved positively. Brier scores range from zero to one and smaller scores are better, with the ideal score being zero and the worst possible being one.
As of question launch, the mean Brier score for the "Metaculus prediction" is 0.150. The Metaculus prediction was the same as the community prediction until June 2017; thereafter it began to use a more sophisticated aggregation and recalibration scheme that promises more accurate predictions.
But how much more accurate? The "Metaculus post-diction" applies the current aggregation method to old data (excluding each question from the data used for "training"), and should give an estimate of future performance if future questions and predictors are comparable to past ones. As of question launch the "postdiction" Brier score is at 0.10.
Over the next 6 months prior to Jan 23, 2018, of order 25-75 binary questions are likely to resolve, about 1/3 to 1/2 as many as have previously resolved. If the community (and the aggregation) is steadily improving, we'd expect the mean Brier score to steadily drop. We'll ask:
Will the mean Brier score of the Metaculus prediction on Jan 23, 2018 be lower than 0.13?
Resolution will be determined via the Metaculus track record page.
Metaculus help: Predicting
Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.
The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available. With tachyons you'll even be able to go back in time and backdate your prediction to maximize your points.
The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.
This question is not yet open for predictions.
Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.