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Will NATO accuse Russia of chemical weapon use in Ukraine? Will air travel in the US approach pre-pandemic levels this year? Will office vacancies remain high? These remain among the most read reports on our subscription-only FutureFirst™ monitor in the past 30 days. We highlight these questions with a limited version of the reports below. Many more great forecasts, including questions and forecast rationales on key elections, inflation, interest rates, and taxes, are available through our paid subscription FutureFirst.
Our Public Dashboard features a small sample of our probability forecasts. Some questions are rotated onto the Public Dashboard temporarily from FutureFirst™. For subscription access to FutureFirst, please contact our sales department. Media and government organizations can request partial access here. Probability values are updated daily at 7am EST.
According to Good Judgment’s professional Superforecasters, there is a 13% probability as of 23 May 2022 that a NATO member state will accuse Russia of using a chemical or biological weapon in Ukraine within the next three months. On the one hand, Russia’s history of using chemical weapons in Syria and Chechnya and the appointment of General Alexander Dvornikov to oversee operations in Ukraine make such a use plausible in the time frame of this question. On the other hand, the Superforecasters point out that there are ambiguities over what counts as a chemical weapon; the relatively short forecasting window leaves little time to verify any claims coming from Ukraine; and NATO member states may have political incentives to not make such an accusation if they seek to stay out of the direct conflict.
The Superforecasters see a 6% probability that Vladimir Putin will cease to be the president of the Russian Federation this year. This forecast is based on such factors as health and actuarial life tables, a low probability of a successful palace coup, and an even lower probability of a mass uprising in this time frame. Nevertheless, a military defeat in Ukraine or an economic meltdown at home could undermine Putin’s pillars of power, especially in the medium term. The Superforecasters would change their forecast if they see signs of discontent in the military or the FSB (Russia’s security service) or if the war in Ukraine ends in Russia’s defeat or a stalemate in the near term.
Good Judgment’s Superforecasters see a 2% probability that a NATO member state will accuse the Russian government of conducting a lethal cyberattack in this period. Cyberattacks will almost certainly happen, the Superforecasters say, but it is unlikely that they will directly cause fatalities or will be linked to the Russian government.
According to Good Judgment’s professional Superforecasters, despite Omicron and subvariants, US air travel will return to the levels seen in December 2019 before October 2022. They see an 86% probability (as of 23 May 2022) the TSA will screen 2.3 million or more travelers per day for three consecutive days between 1 April and 30 June 2022. Pent-up demand and the flexibility afforded by work-from-home trends are some of the factors contributing to this forecast. Risk factors are continued spread of Covid-19, staffing shortages that several airlines are experiencing, and muted business travel.
This question was developed in collaboration with The Economist.
Good Judgment’s professional Superforecasters see a 56% probability (as of 23 May 2022) that the US office vacancy rate for Q2 2023 will be higher than 13% but lower than 14%. There is also a 35% probability that this rate will be 14-15%. In addition to work-from-home trends, the Superforecasters say energy and labor costs may force some businesses to scale back on office space. Creative city policies, such as incentives for businesses to return to offices, on the other hand, may help offset this trend to an extent.
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