Forecasting of Emerging Technologies Using Crowdsourced Tournaments

John Paul MacDuffie, Management, The Wharton School, and Rahul Kapoor, Management, The Wharton School

Abstract: We are working with Philip Tetlock and his team at Good Judgment Inc. (GJ) under the auspices of the Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation (PVMI), to design and host a pilot technology forecasting tournament focusing on emerging technologies in vehicles. The objective of this pilot was for us to get hands-on experience with how these tournaments operate in order to gain initial insights on their potential utility vis-à-vis technology forecasting.

Much of the present research on forecasting tournaments is centered on efforts to predict economic and political outcomes. Working on this pilot over the last 15 months has taught us several lessons about developing and running forecasting tournaments, and reinforced in our minds their value for technology forecasting, even if only as a complement to existing expert-centric approaches. At the same time, the automotive industry and, more broadly, the entire mobility ecosystem is currently undergoing a paradigmatic technological shift that will have wide ranging consequences for companies, consumers and policymakers. We hope to be able to continue studying this important context.

To do so, we plan to continue our collaboration with the team at GJ as their exclusive partner for technology forecasting, and to launch the “Disruptions from Vehicle Innovations (2017) Challenge.” We expect the 2017 challenge to build on the momentum that we generated during the pilot, and to be significantly larger in terms of the topics covered and the number of forecasters.

Michelle Eckert is Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Mack Institute, where she works to engage students, researchers, and corporate partners in opportunities for collaboration. Michelle received her B.A. in Art from Valparaiso University in 2007. Her background includes two AmeriCorps terms of service working to teach mathematics, computer literacy, and job readiness skills to out-of-school youth in Philadelphia, focusing particularly on promoting access to post-secondary education.