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A CIA-funded project recruits ordinary people to predict future disasters

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The "wisdom of the crowd" is a well-known idea: if you ask a large number of people to answer a question and average their answers, they'll often be much more reliable than a single expert. It's also how the Good Judgment Project, a four-year study sponsored by the CIA and other intelligence agencies, thinks it can predict North Korean missile attacks, the flow of refugees from Syria, and other major events.

Thousands of people participate in the Good Judgment Project, which echoes the Defense Department's quickly canceled plan to create a prediction market for terrorist attacks. But unlike what became known as the "terror futures market," there's no profit here, and the participants aren't considered experts — they don't even need to do any significant research. NPR explains exactly how the project works and follows "superforecaster" Elaine Rich, a pharmacist with an uncanny ability to turn Google searches into accurate predictions.