Tag Archives: Bitcoin

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish!

SciCasters:

Thank you for your participation over the past year and a half in the largest collaborative S&T forecasting project, ever. Our main IARPA funding has ended, and we were not able to finalize things with our (likely) new sponsor in time to keep the question-management, user support, engineering support, and prizes running uninterrupted. Therefore we will be suspending SciCast Predict for the summer, starting June 12, 2015 at 4 pm ET.  We expect to resume in the Fall with the enthusiastic support of a big S&T sponsor. In the meantime, we will continue to update the blog, and provide links to leaderboard snapshots and important data.

Recap

Through the course of this project, we’ve seen nearly 130,000 forecasts from thousands of forecasters on over 1,200 forecasting questions, and an average of >240 forecasts per day. We created a combinatorial engine robust enough to allow crowdsourced linking, resulting in the following rich domain structure:

Near-final questoin structure on SciCast, with most of the live links provided by users.

Near-final question structure on SciCast, with most of the live links provided by users. (Click for full size)

Some project highlights:

  • The market beat its own unweighted opinion pool (from Safe Mode) 7/10 times, by an average of 18% (measured by mean daily Brier score on a question)
  • The overall market Brier was about 0.29
  • The project was featured in The Wall Street Journal and Nature and many other places
  • SciCast partnered with AAAS, IEEE, and the FUSE program to author more than 1,200 questions
  • Project principals Charles Twardy and Robin Hanson answered questions in a Reddit Science AMA
  • SciCasters weighed in on news movers & shakers like the Philae landing and Flight MH370
  • SciCast held partner webinars with ACS and with TechCast Global
  • SciCast hosted questions (and provided commentary) for the Dicty World Race
  • In collaboration The Discovery Analytics Center at Virginia Tech and Healthmap.org, SciCast featured questions about the 2014-2015 flu season
  • SciCast gave away BIG prizes for accuracy and combo edits
  • Other researchers are using SciCast for analysis and research in the Bitcoin block size debate
  • MIT and ANU researchers studied SciCast accuracy and efficiency, and were unable to improve using stock machine learning — a testimony to our most active forecasters and their bots. [See links for Della Penna, Adjodah, and Pentland 2015, here.]

What’s Next?

Prizes for the combo edits contest will be sent out this week, and we will be sharing a blog post summarizing the project. Although SciCast.org will be closed, this blog will remain open as well as the user group.  Watch for announcements regarding future SciCast.

Once again, thank you so much for your participation!  We’re nothing without our crowd.

Contact

Please contact us at contact@scicast.org if you have questions about the research project or want to talk about using SciCast in your own organization.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

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Bitcoin/Amazon question has resolved

The question, Will bitcoin be accepted at online retailer, Amazon, by March 31, 2014? has resolved “False/No” because bitcoin has NOT been accepted by online retailer, Amazon. However, for information on how to use bitcoin to shop on Amazon (via digital gift card purchase) view this Forbes article.

Analysis of the Predictions

Analysis

Our raw market Brier Score1 (before smoothing or adjustments) was 0.02.

The Brier Score (Brier 1950) is a measurement of the accuracy of probabilistic predictions. As a distance metric, a lower score is better than a higher score.  The market Brier Score ranges from 0 to 2, and is the sum of the squared differences between the individual forecasts and the outcome weighted by how long the forecasts were on the market. On a binary (Yes/No) question, simply guessing 50% all the time yields a “no courage” score of 0.5.

There were 214 forecasts made by 86 unique users.

There were 12 participants’ comments. Here are a few:

Apple recently moved to remove iOS apps that handle bitcoin, apparently to avoid legal issues related to bitcoin’s current ambiguous legality. I would not think Amazon would move in the opposite direction by March 31.

 

More woes for Bitcoin: Bitcoin Trading Technology In Question As Currency Dives After Glitch

 

It is still too early for bitcoin. It will take at least another 4 or 5 years for a company of size or a country to accept bitcoin. Changes in currency, let alone international, having in many cases required more than decades to make decisions regarding changes which result in acceptance. How many years did it take the Euro?

 

I don’t see the Euro as a great comparison point. At this stage, Bitcoin isn’t trying to replace another currency, even if that’s what some of its more ardent supporters see as its endgame. For this question to resolve as true, there doesn’t need to be any massive shift in public policy. Amazon doesn’t need to stop accepting dollars. It just needs to do what overstock.com did.

Check out these related forecasting questions that are still active on the market.

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1. The Ordered Brier is officially known as RPS.
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LinkFest

SciCast Update:

Last week we created 10 new linked clusters for “Related Scenarios.”

  1. Arctic Ice: 3 questions linked
  2. Photovoltaics: 3 questions linked
  3. Multijunction solar: 4 questions linked
  4. Fusion: 4 questions linked
  5. ADMX: 3 questions linked
  6. Superconductivity: 2 questions linked
  7. Mars: 2 questions linked
  8. Internet traffic: 2 questions linked
  9. ISS: 3 questions linked
  10. Bitcoin: 5 questions linked

Here is how it works:

Select your question (as usual):

Arctic_Ice

If you like, view the discussion, background, and/or trends & history by clicking on the applicable tab(s), as usual:

Arctic_Ice_Background

Make your forecast and see how you affected the chances — if you want to select a related scenario only, just forecast the current value. You will now be able to select (assume) an outcome.

Related_Forecasts_1

After selecting an outcome, you will see a related forecast question.Related_Forecasts_2

Select your answer to the related question, in this assumed scenario:

Related_Forecasts_3

Repeat as you like with different scenarios (assumptions).

We hope to add links roughly weekly. Feel free to make suggestions via the Comments feature.

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