I’m interested in people’s thoughts on:
- How valuable would it be for more academics to do research into forecasting?
- How valuable would it be for more non-academics to do academic-ish research into forecasting? (E.g., for more people in think tanks or EA orgs to do research on forecasting that's closer in levels of "rigour" to the average paper than to the average EA Forum post.)
- What questions about forecasting should be researched by academics, or by non-academics using academic approaches?
- I imagine this could involve psychological experiments, historical research, conceptual/theoretical/mathematical work, political science literature reviews, etc.
(Note that I don’t mean “What questions should people forecast?” For that, there’s this post.)
Many EAs have appreciated and drawn on Phil Tetlock’s research into forecasting. Some people in the EA community or related communities are now doing non-academic work on forecasting, such as:
- building tools for forecasting (e.g. Foretold)
- running forecasting projects (e.g. Foretell [no relation])
- experimenting/playing around with different forecasting techniques and methods (e.g. here and here)
- researching and writing about forecasting (e.g. here and here)
And some people in the EA community or related communities are doing academic work:
- To forecast specific things (e.g. Grace et al.; Manheim)
- About forecasting itself (e.g. Beard et al.; Baum [see also])
But I’m not aware of much academic research on forecasting itself from EAs. I imagine there might be room for more. And two things I’m considering trying to do in future are:
- A PhD in psychology, focusing on forecasting or other things related to improving institutional decision-making
- Research on forecasting in a job in an EA organisation or with a grant
But I don’t know how valuable that would be - e.g., maybe non-EA academics are covering this area well already, or maybe what’s really needed is just people in government/business trying to actually implement or make use of forecasting projects. Nor do I know what the important open questions or topics would be. And I haven’t engaged much with the academic literature on forecasting, other than reading Superforecasting, Expert Political Judgement, and various summaries by EAs.
So this leads me to ask the above questions, both for my own benefit and (hopefully) for the benefit of other people who might be a good fit for research into this topic. (To help capture that benefit, I’ve added this post to A central directory for open research questions.)
The 80,000 Hours profile on improving institutional decision-making has some great analysis and ideas on this, but it’s now almost 3 years old, and I’m interested in additional perspectives.
(I also posted these three questions to the Improving institutional decision-making Facebook group, and there was some discussion there.)