By MARK PRIGG
Psychology and security experts are trying to identify 'superpredictors' among the American population who can predict world events better than security experts..
The 'Good Judgement Project' has already enrolled over 3,000 people, who are asked their opinion on a range of events and to forecast outcomes.
Experts say they have been 'surprised' by how accurate the predictions are - even though many of the participants admit they just use Google.
Participants have been asked to predict the outcomes of a number of world events. here, including Egyptian soldiers with a tank are seen deployed next to the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt.
HOW IT WORKS
Elaine Rich of Maryland has been taking part in the project, and believes the fact participants are under no pressure is the key.
'I'm just a pharmacist,' she told NPR.
'Nobody cares about me, nobody knows my name, I don't have a professional reputation at stake.
'And it's this anonymity which actually gives me freedom to make true forecasts.'
According to one report quoted by NPR, the predictions made by the Good Judgment Project are often better even than intelligence analysts with access to classified information, and many of the people involved in the project have been astonished by its success at making accurate predictions.
One participant even admitted 'I usually just do a Google search' to make predictions.
The project is even believed to have a special team with superforecasters whose predictions are reportedly 30 percent better than intelligence officers with access to actual classified information.
The Good Judgment research team is based in the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California Berkeley.
It has been running for three years, but is still recruiting new members.
The project is led by psychologists Philip Tetlock, author of the award-winning Expert Political Judgment, Barbara Mellers, an expert on judgment and decision-making, and Don Moore, an expert on overconfidence.
Participants are asked to comment on a range of areas, including economic indicators
WHAT QUESTIONS ARE ASKED?
Other team members are experts in psychology, economics, statistics, computer science and interface design.
It is part of a larger project called Aggregative Contingent Estimation and sponsored by the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity.
It claims to be aiming to 'dramatically enhance the accuracy, precision, and timeliness of forecasts for a broad range of event types, through the development of advanced techniques that elicit, weight, and combine the judgments of many intelligence analysts.
The Good Judgement project is unclassified, and the team say results 'will be published in traditional scholarly and scientific journals, and will be available to the general public.'
The Good Judgement Project where participants can still sign up to the project
'The Good Judgment Project is a four-year research study organized as part of a government-sponsored forecasting tournament,' it says.
'Thousands of people around the world predict global events. Their collective forecasts are surprisingly accurate.'
'Everyone has been surprised by these outcomes,' said Philip Tetlock, one of the three psychologists who came up with the idea for the Good Judgment Project