Eli and Ozzie: Is Forecasting a Promising EA Cause Area?

Podcast Link

There was recently a lengthy thread on the EA Forum about the value of forecasting as a potential cause area, between Eli Lifland and myself. We thought it would be interesting to expand on this in a podcast episode.

Some Summary Points

  • Open Phil's expanded forecasting grant-making program has sparked debate about the value and impact of this area.
  • The definition and boundaries of "forecasting" in EA are unclear, leading to differing opinions on its importance versus other priorities.
  • AI could significantly change forecasting, and integrating AI into forecasting pipelines is a key consideration.
  • Improving "epistemic infrastructure" is important, but the best approaches are uncertain, ranging from forecasting tournaments to broader efforts.
  • More work is needed on judgmental forecasting of AI risk and other key questions, but the tractability and impact are debated.
  • The prioritization of forecasting and the resources it deserves remain complex, unresolved questions requiring further research and experimentation.

Some Mentioned Organizations and Projects

  • Open Philanthropy - A foundation that aims to do as much good as possible with its giving, including grants for forecasting research and programs.
  • Metaculus - A community forecasting platform that hosts predictions on a wide range of topics, including AI and other EA-relevant areas.
  • CSET-Foretell - A project by the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) that uses forecasting to inform policy decisions related to emerging technologies.
  • Manifold Markets - A prediction market platform that allows users to create and trade on forecasting questions.
  • The Good Judgment Project - A research project that studies the principles of good judgment and forecasting, and trains "Superforecasters" who demonstrate exceptional prediction skills.
  • The Effective Altruism Forum - An online community and discussion platform for topics related to effective altruism, including forecasting and AI safety.
  • The Good Food Institute - A nonprofit organization that promotes the development of alternative proteins, including plant-based and cultivated meat, to improve food sustainability and animal welfare.
  • Fatebook - An easy way to make and track predictions.
  • Future Search - A startup that’s working on AI-assisted forecasting.

We don’t have an edited transcript. We do have an autogenerated transcript and widget from Descript, but note that it has a lot of errors in it, and it includes a lot of filler words and phrases.