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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Session 11: Predict- Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

He called Tienamen Square before it happened. He sees a bigger picture with great clarity. Prediction of the future affect our ability to change it.

There are many ways of predicting but they are all mumbo jumbo (horoscopes, casting bones etc). We need to use and believe the wisdom of science. (That’s what Nate Silver did!)

We can scientifically engineer the future!

Who is rational? (Do what they think is in their best interest.) Most people are.

Who are influencers? Exhort them to be better. But we can’t look only to the leaders. We can look to their advisors. And the people who influence them. With 5 decision makers you get 120 interactions. The matrix of learning and influence 10 decision makers means 3.6 million interactions. We need the help of computers to examine such a great number.

What percent of the time is the model right when even the experts are wrong?: 90%!

What must we know in order to predict? Not much:
Who has a stake in the dcision
What they say they want
How focused are the issue- their priorities?
How much clout do they have with their opionions?

We all care about two things: outcome and credit.

We can get the information we need from the experts.

Now, Iran’s nuclear policy… what’s likely? Their ability to build is lower than their clout among their own people is. If we left them alone, their need for machismo among their people. Of course the world can’t/won’t do it. If Iran made enough weapons grade fuel they could get the clout they want without having enough to build the bombs. They gain power in their people when pushing towards building but drop entirely radically if they test.

Say to others: “If you say that’s impossible you’re confused with I don’t know how to do it.

Chris asks if saying these predictions out loud will this discourage action against what we fear?

The short answer? No. With good reasons [I need help quote them here fellow bloggers/TEDsters.]

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