I don’-t really think the comparison with sports/business/weather forecasters really holds up, for a prosaic reason —- in particle physics, the timescale for experiments is years and decades, not days. There is no way to efficiently grade/reward people on the accuracy of their predictions, and correspondingly no real incentive for anyone to make very quantitative predictions.
On the other hand, it’-s not as if there is no incentive to be right. If you devote your life to working out the ramifications of low-energy supersymmetry and it’-s not there, you won’-t get fired (if you have tenure), but on the other hand your life’-s work will be useless. Which is a pretty big incentive.
Posted by: Sean Carroll [from Cosmic Variance] | August 11, 2008 at 12:25 PM
Sean, I don’-t understand the relevance of the timescale to the efficient grading of predictions. Given enough forecasts we can see a signal of accuracy above the noise of luck in individual forecasts. I agree that the longer the timescale the weaker are incentives from any given reward tied to scoring. But I’-m not really focused on incentives in this post – I’-m focused on whether it is reasonable for folks to crow about being vindicated when they weren’-t willing to make scoreable forecasts.
Posted by: Robin Hanson | August 11, 2008 at 12:35 PM
Scientists don’-t want to make scoreable forecasts.
Hence, it is impossible to collect track records.
Robin Hanson’-s idea has no application —-over than vanity blogging.
Let’-s go back to our prediction markets (where traders work, for free, as info collectors).
Let’-s not waste our precious time on fruitless ideas.