GJ: Could you please tell us a little about your journey to becoming a Superforecaster?

AD: I heard about GJP and the ACE tournament from my sister. She had been recruited by a Superforecaster from Season 1 with whom she worked on a DOD project. She says she quickly knew it would be right up my alley and subsequently forwarded to me a recruitment link. I signed up immediately, catching the last several months of Season 3, earning Superforecaster status at the conclusion of Season 4. As a bit of a news junkie, I loved the geopolitical focus and the excuse to become more knowledgeable on a myriad of topics.

GJ: Good Judgment’s research consistently shows that being skilled in pattern recognition correlates with being a good forecaster. Have you found that to be the case? Did your former military job help you hone this skill, in your opinion? (If that’s not classified!)

AD: I’m not sure how much pattern recognition plays into my forecasting success. As a naval analyst, I was part of a team that had to provide timely and accurate assessments. It was essential to be thorough and thoughtful, to look for context, to evaluate potential interrelated events, to discern possible outcomes, and to provide regular, concise updates as a situation unfolded. This skill set has certainly come in handy.

GJ: 3. You are frequently a valuable member of Good Judgment’s Red Team—a small group of Superforecasters who, rather than forecasting on a set of questions, question other forecasters’ reasoning and challenge them to consider alternative perspectives. What do you think is the value of red-teaming in forecasting? Are you inclined to play devil’s advocate outside of forecasting as well?

AD: I truly enjoy red-teaming and believe it to be a critical part of good forecasting. A lot more goes into each forecast than our usually brief comments might suggest, so I don’t take an adversarial approach but rather try to think outside the box for potential factors that might appear to have been missed or undervalued in the aggregated forecast. I’ve ended up down many a rabbit hole in the search for alternate angles or viewpoints!

In my personal life, I am surrounded by some very widely read family members and friends who constantly challenge me, exposing me to a diverse array of facts and opinions!

GJ: What type of forecasting questions do you enjoy working on most?

AD: In the ACE and HFC tournaments, I stuck mostly to my comfort zones of military-, political-, and health-related questions. I particularly enjoy forecasting on election outcomes as it is an opportunity to look at historical factors within a country and the intricacies of different electoral voting systems (first-past-the-post, proportional, ranked, two-round). My only C grade in college was in economics and I initially avoided questions in this area like the plague! But two members of Good Judgment’s management team separately challenged me to expand my horizons and try these. Now, I feel less intimidated by the potentially steep learning curves for unfamiliar topics. Learning is an intrinsic part of the forecasting process, so when I know next to nothing about something, that means the first step is to dive right in and become more informed.

GJ: When you work on multiple questions simultaneously—as many Good Judgment Superforecasters do—how do you organize your process? How do you manage to keep track of everything?

AD: I think of myself as a very organized, methodical person. I block out time on my calendar for my forecasting work and generally try to update at least weekly each question that is due to close within six months. And, I keep track of when certain reports are issued that are key to longer-term questions. Each time, I start by reading the comments of my fellow forecasters since my last forecast on a question. Then, I hit the internet to see what else I can find that might cause me to re-evaluate my position. Bottom line: I read, read, read.

GJ: What advice would you give those starting out as forecasters and wanting to improve their skills?

AD: Don’t fall into the trap of relying only on sources that support your current viewpoint. Global news outlets are wonderfully convenient, but do look for local or regional media to round out your understanding. Also, it’s important to recognize the media bias of potential sources, but even a slanted assessment or pure opinion piece can offer insight you might not have gleaned elsewhere.

Regularly re-examine the questions. One of the top features of Superforecasters is the willingness to reassess and recalibrate a forecast as more information becomes available. As a group, we bring a wealth of varied knowledge, experience, and worldviews to the table. Clearly, there are folks with subject matter expertise, but most of the time it is fair to assume that any individual’s initial forecast is incomplete at best.

Try to provide a visual or written explanation of your forecast. Later, you can look back and see how your views evolved over time and see what you got right or failed to take into account. In forecasting, write-ups can better inform the group as a whole, leading to a more accurate aggregated forecast. I like to quote excerpts from articles that I find informative, including the link for those who might want to delve deeper.

Play to your strengths. While I have never figured out how to set up an RSS feed and you’ll not find me writing a little program in R, or generating clever graphs and charts, those have proven to be useful tools for other forecasters. If that is your thing, then do it!

GJ: Thank you for sharing your insight with our readers, Alice.


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