IARPA, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, has awarded Raytheon BBN Technologies a $14.5 million contract to develop a system capable of enhancing the accuracy of geopolitical predictions, from snap elections to sudden conflicts and disease outbreaks.
While human analysts are flexible and able to apply context to their event forecasting models, machines can quickly processes vast amounts of date to make an unbiased prediction. For Raytheon BBN, a hybrid forecasting system is the best method of enhancing the predictive powers of both by providing:
- Automated aids that are able to increase human forecaster efficiency, including intelligent search, automatically computed indicators and alerts about changes or new information.
- Tools for sharing machine reasoning and results with human forecasters.
- An automatic combination of varied human forecasts, with more weight assigned to predictions from historically accurate forecasters.
“Event forecasters have struggled with the best way to combine the capabilities of human and machine analysts,” said Lance Ramshaw, Principal Investigator and Lead Scientist at Raytheon BBN Technologies. “We’re identifying the optimal combination to develop the best forecasting system possible.”
As prime contractor, Raytheon BBN will lead a specialist team that includes Lumenogic and Wright State Research Institute, which will contribute to the technology research. Subject matter expertise related to elections and opinion, military events, science, disease outbreak, conflict and leadership and macro-economics will be sourced from the American Center for Democracy, Ipsos Public Affairs, Systems and Technology Research and Tufts University.
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