By Phil Tetlock and Peter Scoblic
Welcome to “Polarization vs Prediction: Iran” for the first stage of the Good Judgment adversarial collaboration challenge.
As we wrote in the New York Times on October 2, 2015, the policy debate about the Iran nuclear agreement turned into “a contest between competing predictions” by the different partisan camps. The problem is that few of those predictions are specific enough to be testable. Politics as usual. We propose to try something new. With your help, we will find the common ground where vague forecasts can be replaced with testable propositions.
To get things started, we would be grateful if you would sign up HERE and include the following:
- Where do you see yourself on the spectrum regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action? Is it a good idea that will improve security? Or a bad idea that will make things worse? A simple phrase or sentence will suffice at this stage. This will help us estimate the distribution of opinions among participants.
- What are the most important questions we can ask to assess the impact of the nuclear deal on Iran’s future in the region and the world? Which topics would you like to nominate for the tournament where your position gives you an advantage over those with a different view? These will be questions that in your opinion are easy to answer correctly if you subscribe to the “right” mental model of Iran and the larger geopolitical forces in play – and virtually impossible to answer correctly if you subscribe to the “wrong-headed” opinions of the other side. Also keep in mind that the best questions are both rigorous and relevant: rigorous in the sense we can score answers as farther from or closer to the truth and relevant in the sense they address the larger questions driving the policy debate.
After you have sent in the form, to kick off the competition please head over to the Good Judgment Open and try out your forecasting judgment on an initial sampling of questions, including:
- Will any disputes over IAEA access to Iranian sites be referred to the Joint Commission before 1 July 2016?
- Will Iran release Jason Rezaian before 21 October 2015?
- Will Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani meet Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud before 1 September 2016?
Then the ball is in our court. Our job is to read your submissions and fine-tune the questions. We will get back to you with a provisional list of questions. Once we get everything in place, we’ll post the questions and formally launch “Polarization vs Prediction: Iran” on October 9.