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January 27, 2009


Will Wilkinson

Hi HA, In my defense,I think I'm pretty explicit about there being no better alternative than expert advice. I've been knocking the expert non-consensus in macroeconomics in hopes of putting pressure on economists to do the sort of science that might actually lead to justified consensus.


I haven't seen any evidence that conservatives have more faith in prediction markets (and conversely that liberals have less). The right has adopted a sort of populist anti-intellectualism as of light, but even there I'd say distrust of expert consensus on either side is selective.

Henessy fails to understand that the reason the experts (or most published studies) are usually wrong is that there are so many possible ways to be wrong compared to the small space of correctness. Bryan Caplan (who seems something of a fan of betting markets and is more right than left) gives a defense of experts against Tetlock here. If you want to read that issue of Critical Review rather than just Caplan's excerpts, go here.

You note that relevant experts should point out the failings of both expert consensus and prediction markets. Why the asymmetry? Could we have prediction markets on the failings of both?

Hopefully Anonymous

TGGP, I wrote in a critique of Robin Hanson's earlier pro-prediction market propaganda (he's moderated it as of late) that expert consensus remains dominant to everything else, including prediction markets. Even prediction markets on the failings of both will ultimately be designed and judged at some level by the consensus of experts, as far as I can imagine. Peter McKluskey (sp?) hinted at that point on OB when he explained why he didn't have a preexisting prediction market on whether the economy would go into recession. I think Yudkowsky and others are right that only thing in our imagination with the potential to firmly displant expert consensus is sufficiently powerful AI. In certain sectors of human judgment I think that's already occured.


I googled this blog but I didn't find your critique. Do you remember what post it was at?

I'm intrigued by your mention of places where replacement has occurred. What sectors are you thinking of?

Hopefully Anonymous

"I haven't seen any evidence that conservatives have more faith in prediction markets (and conversely that liberals have less)."

Here's some evidence. In my opinion Greatest Living Economist Prof. Stiglitz should be embarrased by this literally pre-Obama whackjob on terrorism prediction markets. But I'm no superexpert.


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