[Link] "How feasible is long-range forecasting?" (Open Phil)

by Milan_Griffes 8d11th Oct 20197 comments

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https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/how-feasible-long-range-forecasting (a)

The opening:


How accurate do long-range (≥10yr) forecasts tend to be, and how much should we rely on them?
As an initial exploration of this question, I sought to study the track record of long-range forecasting exercises from the past. Unfortunately, my key finding so far is that it is difficult to learn much of value from those exercises, for the following reasons:
1. Long-range forecasts are often stated too imprecisely to be judged for accuracy. [More]
2. Even if a forecast is stated precisely, it might be difficult to find the information needed to check the forecast for accuracy. [More]
3. Degrees of confidence for long-range forecasts are rarely quantified. [More]
4. In most cases, no comparison to a “baseline method” or “null model” is possible, which makes it difficult to assess how easy or difficult the original forecasts were. [More]
5. Incentives for forecaster accuracy are usually unclear or weak. [More]
6. Very few studies have been designed so as to allow confident inference about which factors contributed to forecasting accuracy. [More]
7. It’s difficult to know how comparable past forecasting exercises are to the forecasting we do for grantmaking purposes, e.g. because the forecasts we make are of a different type, and because the forecasting training and methods we use are different. [More]