Could Scientists Predict the Next Political Crisis?

Thanks to modern science and technology, we can predict what the weather will be like in 5 days, but it’s still a bit more challenging to predict what will happen to us and our societies.

Hosted by: Hank Green

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Sources: tetlock violence
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction (book, by Tetlock & Gardner)


luciferangelica says:

9/11 was very heavily foreshadowed

Cookie Panda says:

Experts aren’t really experts, who knew

Krissilla says:

I was hoping for a mention of the psychohistory mentioned in Asimov’s foundation series. I was wondering how realistic that was 😛

Lewis Massie says:

I’m currently reading Issac Asimov’s Foundation series, and the whole pretense of the books is Psychohistory, a mathematical expression of human behaviour.

It’s entirely fanciful of course, no-one can predict local politics 80 years in advance like Hari Seldon does, but I always allow some wiggle room in sci-fi

Michael Pollard says:

If an expert is no better then a coin toss then how are they even considered experts.

Duane Ferguson says:

If you’re in Australia at the moment… Wait 5 minutes.

Ondiavari says:

Ben Davidson came up with a pretty accurate earthquake detection method.

Lars Bohr says:

You jinxed it Hank…we’re gonna get hit by a planet

Arthur Withheld says:

I read some where one mathematician named Hari Sheldon is actually working on predicting future events and maybe using it to guide our society down certain paths.

Herbert Miller says:

Just kidding is the zombie apocalypse that’s going to get us.

Gregory Faust says:

An interesting answer. And a good use of words. However, can we dream about future events which hasn’t happened? Can we dream about people which we haven’t met? Can we be woken up to a disasters which hasn’t happened?

Three things which I’ve learned in life to be always skeptical about. Lies, Dam Lies and Statistics, the Georgian Stones (which it has to me be a pretty disturbing version of the future). And of the course, Nostradamus.

However, I can see that normal average joe shomoe are more realistic than most political Scientist about predicting the future which makes me laugh. However, it will increase your chance to score to talk about the weather than any discussion about elections, wars and crisis. Your date would thank you later.

So, have you come up a good answer in the last brief comment about what would happen if the bottom 50% of America get a higher pay checks? Or here is an another question! What would happen if Billionaire class pay there fair share of taxes?

Frail Heart says:

“What causes political violence?” That’s easy. Hardboiled lefties.

Esen Salamatov says:

This is one of the most interesting videos I have ever watched

Eric H says:

So… no chance for Asimov’s “Psycho History” any time soon? Bummer.

Googolplexking says:

you forgot to talk about prediction markets. and Which is the best way of predicting things.

JustinL614 says:

They could to an extent but unfortunately many of them are funded by the government and go along with bad ideas for profit. Hence why those who are willing to change their opinions do well.. they simply follow the money instead of looking at long term consequences.

FreeStyle says:

Will Serbia leave EU? They are not in EU???

Pere Bou says:

There is a fundamental diference between trying to predict say te weather or earthquakes and anything related to human behaviour, like stock market or elections. The first two can be described as level one caos, meaning that they really don’t care about the predictions. However, if certain predictions start to be accurate (for example, a model forecasts the fall of a public company, or currency) people will react to the predicion in advance, so the prediction will be ruined… by itself. This is what is known as caos level 2 (better explained by Yuval Noah Harari in his book Sapiens), and that’s the reason no scientist will ever make an accurate prediction on any social topic, including of course political crisis.

Josh Keating says:

This is a concept that makes me think of an episode of Scrubs. Here a doctor agrees to do a presentation of a specific medical issue of the heart. The issue she is no expert. She crams so much, going as far as lining her white coat with her notes so she can constantly refer and review them. She breaks down and says she isn’t ready and it is too late to back down. Another doctor quickly quizzes her on it and she gets everything right. He then says her cramming gave her enough, because an expert is someone who knows a lot about a subject. The thing is though you can only go based on what you know. Doctors may miss a diagnosis if they have never dealt with it before. Political experts may not adjust as fast of their thinking as society changes. So what they know may not align with what is happening.

Boris Stojanovic says:

Serbia was never in the eu to begin with but otherwise fun video.

Evil Nugget says:


Sarah Leonard says:

Holy crap! Could we PLEASE incorporate this good judgement training into public education? I know there would be a mountain of logistical problems with implementing it, but it would make such a difference!

Timothy Haldane says:

LOVE the reference to one of my favorite concepts toward the end there. I ran a D&D campaign wherein a secret society was able to predict the machinations of fate by running stellar motion through complicated calculations. In reference to their attempt to eliminate the unpredictable, they wore a pin that featured a white swan.

Milica Krunić says:

7:37 Wait, Serbia is not in the EU and never has been! Scishow , get your facts straight, these are serious subjects and it makes you look really bad if you get such simple things wrong!

René Zirkel says:

How about AI? Formula estimation in a mega-multi-dimensional-area?

Jerry Rupprecht says:

How well do politicians predict what they will do?

MrWombatty says:

Don’t you realise that an ‘ex’ is a has-been, & a ‘spurt’ is a drip under pressure!
Anyway, the problem is that no matter how much data is available to the experts who make predictions for the future, they usually have some degree of a vested interest in the outcome! Even the kudos alone from being right will have an effect on their future earnings!

Edward urbin says:

No references to Dune or The Foundation? For shame Hank, for shame.

Jackson Percy says:

10:43 What about Dungeon Man, the world’s first combination of human and dungeon?

Raymond K Petry says:

*_…prediction depends on the human tendency to maintain the status quo against improved predictions—and defining, that status quo, is like ‘Seldon’s psychohistory…_*

Gliese 380 says:

this is like foundation all over again

Harsh Parekh says:

Multiplicative Weights Algorithm rocks!!!!

Wolpertinger says:

The most surprising thing is that there were actually people that predicted black swans. But nobody believed them. :/

Iago Silva says:

4:41; yet 10:45 . Read it as you will – I personally recommend the funniest way

Two Cookies says:

The right *might* be right.

ClanWiE says:

The dead hand of Seldon moves us all…

Mika Rose says:

Did anyone else notice how conveniently this related to the Australian election/new Prime Minister?

Scishow is predicting the future yet again, thanks hank

Gyrre says:

In terms of political predictions, the show NewWorldNextWeek has a pretty damn good track record. I’ve been watching the news show for about 7 years now, and they cover some of the smaller stories that lead to some of the much bigger ones.

Roland Szöllősi says:

Where are you Hari Seldon?

edgeeffect says:

2016? Wasn’t that the year our politicians decided to completely abandon science and go back to reading the entrails of goats?

Aaack Aardvark says:

Soooo, Asimov was right and psychohistory is a thing.

Murat Can Baykal says:

It seems they are training to become Asimov’s psychologists

william polo valerio says:

so venezuela ….

Guntcheck says:

What a shock experts that aren’t bias, i.e. subscribe to an ideology and view all through that biased lense, are better predictors

Andy Falconer says: is a related website. They identify superforecasters.

Leggo MuhEggo says:

Can blood sacrifices predict political crises?

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