We announce the launch of SciCast, a federally funded research and development project run by George Mason University to develop new methods for improving the accuracy of science and technology forecasts.
SciCast invites scientists, technologists, and technology watchers around the world to forecast key science and technology trends, and contribute relevant forecasting questions.
SciCast is a community-driven initiative. Participants work alongside subject matter experts from various fields to develop their own questions in an online collaborative environment and work to publish them on SciCast. Uniquely, SciCast can create relationships among questions that may influence each other. Examples of questions include:
- When will a fusion research laboratory officially confirm that they have conducted an experiment in which the amount of energy released through a fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel?
- When will Tesla Motors complete the US coast-to-coast configuration of its network of supercharger stations?
- Will any government officially accept a digital currency for circulation in their country in 2014?
Once a forecasting question is available, SciCast participants can make forecasts. Unlike a survey, participants can update their forecast at any time in reaction to new information. In this way, SciCast is a real-time indicator of what participants think is going to happen in the future.
SciCast is based on the idea that the collective wisdom of an informed and diverse group is often a better predictor than the judgment of a single expert.
Principal Investigator Dr. Charles Twardy explains, “In SciCast, your influence depends on your performance. Everyone starts the same, but the system improves as forecasters specialize: you gain influence by being accurate. With so many S&T questions, there are many niches. We seek scientists, statisticians, engineers, entrepreneurs, policymakers, technical traders, and futurists of all stripes to improve our forecasts, link questions together, and pose new questions.”
SciCast is part of the Forecasting Science and Technology (ForeST) Program funded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). Questions are generated by SciCast participants, as well as by other ForeST teams at Inkling Markets, BAE Systems and SRI International. According to Dr. Jason Matheny, ForeST program manager at IARPA, “George Mason University has succeeded in launching the world’s largest forecasting tournament for science and technology. SciCast can help the public and private sectors to better understand a range of scientific and technological trends.”
Over 1,000 individuals have pre-registered from science and technology-related professional societies, university departments, and interest groups. Additionally, SciCast has partnerships with AAAS and IEEE.
The call for participants continues. Interested individuals or parties at least 18 years of age may register to participate in SciCast at http://www.SciCast.org, or can contact SciCast via email at [email protected].
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