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Astral Codex Ten Podcast

Jul 25, 2023

This month’s big news in forecasting: the Forecasting Research Institute has released the results of the Existential Risk Persuasion Tournament (XPT). XPT was supposed to use cutting-edge forecasting techniques to develop consensus estimates of the danger from various global risks like climate change, nuclear war, etc.

The plan was: get domain experts (eg climatologists, nuclear policy experts) and superforecasters (people with a proven track record of making very good predictions) in the same room. Have them talk to each other. Use team-based competition with monetary prizes to incentivize accurate answers. Between the domain experts’ knowledge and the superforecasters’ prediction-making ability, they should be able to converge on good predictions.

They didn’t. In most risk categories, the domain experts predicted higher chances of doom than the superforecasters. No amount of discussion could change minds on either side.