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Jack Ophof

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How often do you guess right?

A prediction is basically an educated guess at best, and should have a success-rate about the same as someone who is blindly guessing. Yet, statistically some people should be higher on the success-curve then others. Why? Who are these persons and how do they have such good luck at guessing?

Me and a friend of mine explored that idea in a thought-experiment, and ended up building a tool to harvest some real data regarding the subject.

It would be an honor to invite the TED crowds to play with our little app.
The rules are simple:

• Make a prediction
• Bet on other predictions
• Win points if your prediction turns out to be true
• Rub it your friends faces yelling "I TOLD YOU SO!"
• Help us get the data we need for our thesis

http://bit.ly/KIj7ea (predictr.mutewitness.net)

Here's my (example) prediction:
Quantum Physics will be proven "wrong" (the new Theory will render indeterminism a proof of misinterpretation) (within 10 years)

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    Feb 6 2014: As often as randomness allows me to.
    Past tests have revealed that the more of an expert you are the worse your guess.

    Cab drivers often make better guesses at stock moves than expert brokers due to bias.

    I cant recall the studies now but can find them if you really want the proof.
    • Feb 7 2014: No doubt. The bookie for a fellow at work won't take his bets because he isn't persuaded to lose. He has a loose knowledge of the team but how he picks his winners is a combination of playing the available odds against his knowledge base. He says it's obvious but greek to me.
  • Feb 2 2014: An educated guess is that. You identify markers or pointers in which ever sector your making your predictions. You identify available resources. You anticipate how a resource or asset is to be used based on the strength of the resource or assets. You predict an outcome and allow for error plus or minus your prediction. Probably you will identify a pattern or what you want to understand or problem you think needs a solution. Time is used to define how much of an investment you need to allow for your prediction to become a reality. Playing the odds is a different math but uses the same principles in shortened time frame. Formulas or directions already existing can also be used for multidisciplinary solutions. Isn't a theory just that and empirical knowledge unfatigued.
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      Feb 6 2014: Using Mathematics to make decisiond under randomness rarely works. We tell ourselves it does, but when it doesn't we blame something outside the Math that we can't Model. Past data is not good for inference of future events unless the future closely matches the past.
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    Jan 29 2014: Thanks for telling me more about the study, Jack- I will explore it ASAP. May I suggest that you edit your conversation info and mention world events? "Big Picture" folks like me are Big Suckers for that kind of stuff, and TED is densely populated with such Denizens of the Deep... Best!
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    Jan 29 2014: Hi, Jack!

    I thought you guys might really enjoy this fun TED Talk that is very relevant to your study. Best!

    "Colin Camerer: Neuroscience, game theory, monkeys"
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      Jan 29 2014: Thanks Brendan! We've already seen that talk, but these predictions are about world events, not simple "heads or tails" guesses. These are kind of justifiable guesses

      Thanks for taking a minute chap!
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    Feb 10 2014: Brendan, thanks a lot for that entertaining story!
    There are many betting tactics and game theories created and as long as you play for money it will be a dangerous idea, as you demonstrated in your story. Luckily we don't encourage people to bet like that.

    Sure, you can make bets, but what if you've kept all that data from all the bets or little predictions you made in the last few years? You could see a certain trend emerge.

    For example, my predictions tend to be supported rather than opposed. These are 'safe bets'. (You win, but you get little to no points)
    My wife makes predictions that seem to cath people in the middle of the spectrum, evenly supported and opposed. (You will earn more points)
    And then there are the predictions where everybody thinks "no way!" (Here you will win the most points)

    So in the long term, you will see a grander view of your betting behavior, and ultimately, if you are a "better" better than the rest.

    Thanks again for your warm hearted response (:
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    Feb 10 2014: Hi, Jack!

    Judging by my many attempts to please my wife and granddaughters, I don't guess right nearly often enough! Quick story about one time I did guess right before this chat closes:

    1990 baseball World Series, defending champs Oakland Athletics heavily favored over my almost-hometown Cincinnati Reds. A longtime friend and I made a friendly $20. wager and I took the Reds. For several years my friend entered "Sports Speculator" as his occupation on his federal income tax form, right? Well, the Reds had swept the New York Yankees 4-0 in the 1976 Series, after a hard-fought 1975 World Series win over the Boston Red Sox, and Game 7 of that series is considered by most sportswriters to be the best game in World Series history. So I felt comfy betting a few bucks on my underdog Reds, who certainly justified my faith in them by sweeping the Oakland As 4-0 in the 1990 Series!

    I didn't see my friend again until about 3 years later, and his broad smile at seeing me quickly fell when I said, "You owe me twenty bucks, O Great Sports Speculator!" He starting cussing a blue streak and when he settled down I said, "But dude... it was only twenty bucks!"

    He apologized, explaining that I had reminded him of his worst financial setback, since he had bet heavily on that Series. He thought he was playing it safe only betting on one game at a time against the Reds, increasing his bet by quite a sum every game, figuring they had to lose at least ONE game, right? Well, that miscalculation cost him over $40,000, Jack. He was in a hurry and started to walk off, with apologies. But I stopped him in his tracks after a few steps when I said, "But there is still that little matter of $20., amigo!"

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    Feb 4 2014: On a educated guess more than half ... just a wild wag I'm guessing half or less.
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    Feb 1 2014: Why would you think an educated guess should have the same success rate as someone blindly guessing?
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      Feb 1 2014: Take entrepeneurs for example, they take a risk (educated guess). They do not blindy pick a choice.
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        Feb 1 2014: I understand what an educated guess is. I do not understand your claim that someone making an educated guess would likely have the same success rate as someone blindly picking a choice.
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          Feb 1 2014: Well thats what we want to find out, although I did not mean to claim that, it was a guess (:
          I should have stated that more clearly (I'm Dutch, so excuse my lapses in grammar)
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          Feb 10 2014: I agree Fritzie that an educated guess might be more successful than a guess that is made blindly.

          My personal practice, is to mindfully gather all relevant, available information, and listen to intuition/instinct. After gathering logical, reasonable information, I let the mind/brain rest and "feel" the choices. That is where instinct/intuition comes into play.....how does that choice "feel".....how do the other choices "feel", based on the information I have at the time. The better choice/decision simply "feels" right for me at that time. The choices and decisions more often than not work out really well.

          I do not "predict" outcomes because I prefer to "BE" in the moment. Once a "prediction" is made, humans sometimes tend to get attached to it with expectations, and are not open to other possibilities.

          Your English grammar is good. Perhaps it might be more helpful to be clear with your thoughts, feelings, ideas and perceptions?

          Thank you for the opportunity to visit your test site, and I have no desire to "Win points" or
          "Rub it your friends faces yelling "I TOLD YOU SO!"

          That serves no useful purpose in my perception.
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        Feb 1 2014: Your grammar is fine. You wrote: "A prediction is basically an educated guess at best, and should have a success-rate about the same as someone who is blindly guessing." If you meant to say that a person making an educated guess should have a HIGHER success rate than someone who is blindly guessing, you can edit your earlier statement. If you meant to say that you want to determine whether someone making an educated guess has the same success rate as someone guessing blindly, you could now edit to say that.

        It seems perhaps that your first sentence says the opposite of what you meant it to say?
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          Feb 1 2014: Thanks a lot, it seems you are absolutely right about your last statement and it should read "A prediction is basically an educated guess at best, and should have a success-rate higher than someone who is blindly guessing. Statistically some people should be higher on the success curve than others"

          So, while editing my post TED gave me an error about a CRFS Attack (dunno what that is)
          Any help would be appreciated.

          And thanks again, criticism is important (:
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        Feb 1 2014: I think notification of a CRFS attack might just be a bug and not mean anything, but I am not "techie." If you look at the bottom of this page, there is a link that reads Contact. You can ask at that link and get a response from an administrator.
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      Feb 1 2014: That's why you need to enter a time range, so you can make more reasonable guesses. Check out the site for examples.
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        Feb 1 2014: As Lilly took the time to respond to your question on TED Conversations, it would be nice if you were to respond more fully to her here on TED Conversations rather than using the platform only to steer traffic to your site.

        If you only steer traffic to your site, members of the community will likely start flagging your posts as a violation of the Terms of Use. http://www.ted.com/pages/conversations_terms
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          Feb 1 2014: Lillly took the time to list a couple of obviously problematic guesses. I added an example guess to my post to clarify the kind I was looking for. That's why I suggested to look at the page for more examples. Furthermore, I' m typing this on an iphone 4, and trust me, input is do slow here (: