Christian Long

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita: Predicts Iran’s Future

In TED Talks on April 20, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Reflection by RACHEL M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita: Predicts Iran’s Future

In almost every way, I am repelled by the idea of analyzing or considering any war-related topic. My aversion is for many reasons, one being that today I felt I lacked the capacity to cover such a very broad topic. I thought I would save this video for a day when I thought I could handle some kind brutal mind bender or tackle something overwhelming.

But in this video, it turns out Science is going to tackle the issue for me.

As it turns out this video seems to be less about what Iran plans to do, and more about the science of prediction. Although mathematics and statistics can’t tell you which lottery numbers will make you a millionaire, it has proved very accurate in predicting politics. When merely 10 people have an approximate 3.6 million interactions, computers and a little something called Game Theory are used to keep track of all of it. Game theory is far from what we would consider speculation, and is in fact a fairly concise science. It is based on three principles: The idea that people look out for themselves, the idea that all people have values and beliefs, and the idea that all people face limitations. True no?

In addition to this information, when it comes to specific people they must determine who they are, what they want, how focused they are on what they want, and how much influence they exert. In a sense, you have to know who you’re dealing with and know what they would do if it were up to them. Then they can decide how dedicated the person is and how much they really matter. After that they can be factored in with all the other political heads and advisers and so on. But they’re not finished yet. Next, they focus on the main influences of the problem, and those who influence the influence, and so on. It proves to be a very involved process, but via this information, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and those involved can reliably predict political choices. Bruce believes if you can predict what is going to happen, you can manipulate the results, and perhaps make the world a better place.

It is truly interesting to think that we could accurately predict the decisions of a country. Who knows where the game of prediction and consequent manipulation could lead us in the long run, whether positive or negative. If you’re interested in the 3 predictions Bruce has to offer about Iran’s future, I highly recommend you watch the video and interpret the data at will.


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