For the past two years, Galstyan has led a group of researchers at ISI on a project named Synergistic Anticipation of Geopolitical Events, or SAGE, to attempt to predict the future using non-experts. The SAGE project relies on human participants to interact with machine learning tools to make predictions about future events. Their goal is for the forecasts borne from the combination of human + AI to be more accurate than those of humans alone.
Their research has proved quite useful and people’s predictions largely on target. ISI’s Fred Morstatter, a USC Viterbi research assistant professor of computer science, said that non-experts accurately predicted in April that North Korea would launch its missile test before July; North Korea launched in May.
SAGE is funded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), which invests in high-risk, high payoff research projects to benefit the U.S. intelligence community.
IARPA is interested in developing forecasting technology that makes predictions, based on a large set of human users, that are more accurate and faster than a single human subject expert. Having the ability to predict geopolitical events could potentially help the intelligence community make better, more informed national security decisions.
The agency has hosted many competitions related to forecasting, including the Aggregative Contingent Estimation project, which crowdsourced humans to make predictions.
SAGE expands on this previous study, instead asking people to make predictions based on information provided by various machine learning methods.