Dash Talk

Can you learn to navigate uncertainty?

The participants were allowed to share their thinking with other forecasters, and both Alderton and Dash emphasise that civility was essential. “Even if you disagree with [someone’s] view, you can learn something from it,” says Alderton. “But it’s very easy to trigger people and get into an argument. And so I learned that if you take care when challenging or questioning somebody’s forecast, and you get much better response that might improve your own forecast.” Just simple things – such as emphasising the fact that you are not criticising someone personally – were important for creating a more constructive discussion, he says.

And this can have some interesting effects on the way you see the world. Barbara Mellers, at the University of Pennsylvania, has found that the participants in forecasting tournaments tend to become more moderate in their political views – perhaps because, as Alderton and Dash both say, they regularly step into others’ shoes and deliberately look for information that challenges their assumptions.

“Now, as a result of this, I instinctively seek out the opinion of people that I know I disagree with,” says Alderton. “You just get so much more out of it.”

In today’s uncertainty, an ability to see beyond partisan divides could be more important than ever before. The You Predict the Future challenge is over. But if you are curious, humble and open-minded, there are many more opportunities to hone your forecasting skills at Good Judgment Open.

* To learn more about the results of the You Predict the Future challenge, read this detailed update from Nesta.

David Robson is the author of The Intelligence Trap, which examines our most common thinking errors and the ways we can all improve our learning and decision making. He is d_a_robson on Twitter.

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