Thursday, July 08, 2010

A Wisdom Tool to Predict Future Political Outcomes.

Dr. Bruce Bueno de Mesquitait, whether you want to call him political scientist or futurologist - because he uses objective scientific and mathematical methods to foresee future events within an 18-24 month time period - or the "Next Nostradamus", has created an amazingly accurate computer model that predicts the outcome of future events.

Bueno de Mesquitait teaches "game theory" or “rational choice theory,” at New York University and Stanford. He does not use a traditional approach when analyzing political situations, because he does not factor in culture, history, economics, or any of the other considerations that more traditional political scientists weigh, yet he makes predictions about various human affairs and conflicts with astounding accuracy. He uses a computer/mathematical model that starts with a set of assumptions (each actor’s motives in this case) and then breaks them down as mathematical equations and proceeds from there to see what follows logically from those assumptions.

A study, by the C.I.A., his most regular client by far, found that Bueno de Mesquita’s predictions “hit the bull’s-eye” twice as often as its own analysts did. The computer’s advantage over humans is its ability to spy unseen coalitions, but this works only when the relative positions of each actor are described accurately when he conducts his fact-gathering interviews. An astute observer, Bueno de Mesquita asks for clarification the moment an interviewee expresses doubt or contradicts himself.

“His ability to pick up on body language, to pick up on vocal intonation, to remember what people said and challenge them in nonthreatening ways — he’s a master at it,” -- Rose McDermott, a political-science professor at Brown
The Prisoner’s Dilemma, best explains Dr. Bueno de Mesquitait rational choice theory.
Two burglars are apprehended near the scene of a crime and are interrogated separately by the police. The police know these two goons did it, but they don’t know how, so they offer each one a deal. If they both confess and cooperate, they’ll both get a minor sentence of five years. If neither man confesses, they’ll both only get one year (for having been caught with some of the stolen loot on them). But, and here’s where it gets interesting, if one confesses and the other doesn’t, the one who confesses walks out scot-free while the other will do 10 years. What will they do? Will they trust each other and do what’s obviously in their best interest, which is not confess? Based on game theory’s assumptions about human nature, the math derived from this dilemma tells you squarely that the two goons will turn each other in.
Bueno de Mesquitait says “If you liberate people from the constraint of having to satisfy other people in order to advance themselves, people don’t do good things.” In other words, his model assumes the worst of people, and thus far, it's proven itself very capable of providing a correct reading.
“When people are asked to make personal sacrifices for the greater good in the longer term, they seem to find 1,001 reasons why their particular behavior is so virtuous that this one particular deviation is really O.K. I have to drive an S.U.V. because I want to protect my little children from a car accident! ”-- Bueno de Mesquitait
There is much skepticism that a computer model can truly predict the outcome of any situation in which parties can be described as trying to persuade or coerce one another. Yet it seems that his model has continuously proven itself since the 1980s, however it also appears as if it's accuracy is very dependent on it's inventor.

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