James Bosworth on Latin American Politics

In this episode (recorded 3/17/22), we talk with superforecaster and Latin American politics expert James Bosworth. Boz is the founder of Hxagon, a consulting firm that does political risk analysis in emerging markets. He is writes about Latin America on Substack at Latin America Risk Report.

We talk with Boz about the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Latin America (2:35); authoritarian populism in Latin America (15:22); the impact of the pandemic on Latin America (19:16); the anti-incumbency wave in Latin American politics (23:22); what Jair Bolsonaro will do if he loses the upcoming election in Brazil (33:51); the prospects for addressing corruption in Latin America (45:13); and whether the US pays enough attention to the region.

You can find NonProphets on BlubrryiTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play. You can read Robert’s Substack on forecasting, Telling the Future, here. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use our contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophetspod [at] gmail.com). If you enjoy this podcast, please rate us and recommend us to your friends.

Milo Jones on Intelligence Analysis

In this episode (recorded 2/4/22), Scott and Robert talk to Milo Jones about intelligence analysis. Milo is a Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Changing Character of War Programme, as well as a Visiting Professor at the IE Business School in Madrid. He is also the author of Constructing Cassandra: Reframing Intelligence Failure at the CIA, 1947-2001.

We talk with Milo about the value of cognitive diversity in intelligence work (2:04); how asking the right questions can help us avoid strategic surprise (14:48); the importance of communicating intelligence analysis (24:19); whether Putin is in Zugzwang in Ukraine (31:01); whether Chinese mediation could provide an off-ramp for Putin in Ukraine (35:11); improving strategic empathy for other identities and cultures (42:02); the role of psychological profiling (56:26); and the advantages of living in a free society (1:00:20).

You can find NonProphets on BlubrryiTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use our contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophetspod [at] gmail.com). If you enjoy this podcast, please rate us and recommend us to your friends.

Ukraine

In this episode (recorded 2/25/22), superforecaster Balkan Devlen joins us to talk about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Balkan is a Senior Fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, where he leads the Transatlantic Program, as well as the Director of the Centre in Modern Turkish Studies at Carleton University. We discuss how likely we thought the invasion was; Putin’s goals and state of mind; how Russia’s relationship with China shapes the conflict; the “Animal Farm” approach to sovereignty; and the possibility of escalation.

You can read Balkan’s Substack newsletter Hindsight 20/20 here and follow him on Twitter here. His Soundcloud is here. Robert’s new Substack newsletter Telling the Future is here.

You can find NonProphets on BlubrryiTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use our contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophetspod [at] gmail.com). If you enjoy this podcast, please rate us and recommend us to your friends.

2022 Forecasts

In this episode (recorded 1/3/22), we discuss what we think will happen in 2022. We start off by acknowledging our failure in our previous podcast to correctly predict this year’s Pantone Color of the Year. We go on to agree that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely—but not certain—to become less severe by the end of 2022; consider whether boredom leads to conflict; discuss the possibility that Russia will invade Ukraine (and mention the classic video game Balance of Power); express skepticism that Erdogan will leave power in Turkey; talk about the likelihood that Roe v. Wade will be at least partially overturned; and guess what the biggest stories in 2022 might be.

You can find NonProphets on BlubrryiTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use our contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophetspod [at] gmail.com). If you enjoy this podcast, please rate us and recommend us to your friends.

Forecasting the Pantone 2022 Color of the Year

In this episode (recorded 12/3/21), we continue our annual holiday tradition of forecasting the Pantone Color of the Year. Although we’re less confident this year than we were last year—when Scott and Robert correctly predicted Pantone would choose Illuminating—we collectively narrowed this year’s color down to Bubblegum, Fragile Sprout, and Poppy Seed, although Atief for some reason went with Gossamer Pink anyway.

You can find NonProphets on BlubrryiTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use our contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophetspod [at] gmail.com). If you enjoy this podcast, please rate us and recommend us to your friends.

Triumphant Return for Some Quick Advice

In this episode (recorded 10/24/21), we give Atief advice about where his family should move, considering political stability, good governance, and climate change. Atief talks about the Simon-Ehrlich wager (although he sort of confuses it with a Tuesday Morning Quarterback column). We close with a preview of our upcoming Pantone Color of the Year prediction podcast and brief discussion of the Mandela Effect.

You can find NonProphets on BlubrryiTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use our contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophetspod [at] gmail.com). If you enjoy this podcast, please rate us and recommend us to your friends.

Kjirste Morrell Interview

In this episode (recorded 5/14/21), we interview superforecaster Kjirste Morrell. Kjirste is a mechanical engineer and was interviewed for Adam Grant’s recent bestseller Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know.

We talk with Kjirste about what it was like coming to forecasting as an engineer; the value of comments on a forecasting question; what she meant by the phrase “the joy of being wrong”; how to combat bias in forecasting; a couple of long-term Metaculus questions (on when global economic growth will radically accelerate and how many people will and on the Moon by 2030); and her experience working on the Segway at Dean Kamen’s DEKA Research. Kjirste flatly refused to help us remove the speed restrictions on our Segways.

You can find NonProphets on BlubrryiTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use our contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophetspod [at] gmail.com). If you enjoy this podcast, please rate us and recommend us to your friends.

Forecasts Inherently Have No Value

In this episode (recorded 4/30/21), we interview John Bravender, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warning coordination meteorologist at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu. We talk to John about what they forecast at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center; how they forecast hurricanes; what a “spaghetti plot” is; how they evaluate the accuracy of hurricane forecasts; how they make sure they communicate their forecasts in a useful way; how to communicate low-probability-high-impact events; why they don’t use the term “vivid lightning”; why forecasts inherently have no value; and how to prepare communities to be resilient.

The paper we discussed in the podcast is Allan H. Murphy (1993), “What Is a Good Forecast? An Essay on the Nature of Goodness in Weather Forecasting,” Weather and Forecasting 8(2), 281-293.

You can find NonProphets on BlubrryiTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use our contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophetspod [at] gmail.com). If you enjoy this podcast, please rate us and recommend us to your friends.

Get the Damn Vaccine

In this episode (recorded 3/20/21), we talk about our experiences with the vaccine rollout; when we think things are likely to return to normal; the prospects for bipartisan legislation in US politics; and whether it depends on filibuster reform in the US Senate.

You can find NonProphets on BlubrryiTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use our contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophetspod [at] gmail.com). If you enjoy this podcast, please rate us and recommend us to your friends.

Illuminating the Final Days

In this episode (recorded 1/10/21), we talk about the final days of the Trump presidency and the aftermath of the attack on the US Capitol. We start by congratulating ourselves for predicting that Illuminating would probably be the 2021 Pantone color of the year, although we didn’t anticipate that it would be paired with Ultimate Gray. We go on to look back at our 2016 Trump administration forecasts; look forward at how the Biden administration will compare; speculate about the possibility of a serious crisis during the Biden administration; consider whether there will be violence before Joe Biden’s inauguration; and discuss the future of the Republican Party and Trumpism.

You can find NonProphets on BlubrryiTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play. As always, if you have questions, ideas for future episodes, or would like to suggest a possible black swan event, you can use our contact page or e-mail us at (nonprophetspod [at] gmail.com). If you enjoy this podcast, please rate us and recommend us to your friends.