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Google's Prediction Market

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-predict-nothing dept.

Businesses 94

Googling Yourself writes "Employees at Google are encouraged to place bets on Google's prediction market — an exchange that tries to forecast events based on the money wagered on a particular outcome. Employees have made wagers with play money (Goobles, as in rubles) on questions like: will Google open a Russia office? will Apple release an Intel-based Mac? how many users will Gmail have at the end of the quarter? One tangible benefit to the company is that the market allows Google to track how information disseminates in the company. A paper called "Using Prediction Markets to Track Information Flows: Evidence From Google" discusses information flows in the company based on the prediction market data and contains many other interesting observations of Google culture. (pdf)"

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94 comments

I predict... (1)

monkeyboythom (796957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942198)

a beta version hitting the Intarweb tubes soon...

Re:I predict... (1)

ryanguill (988659) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942382)

I sure hope so. Something like this from google has to be better than the ones that are currently out there. With most of them the user interfaces are dismal at best.

Old Idea... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21942564)

It's kind of bizarre... how with all the rumors that Google is actually an NSA front company, Google is now recycling old Bushite ideas, like the "Total Information Awareness" [wikipedia.org] domestic spying program.

Worldwide for free: inkling (4, Informative)

stomv (80392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942230)

This exists for everyone with funny money called inkles at Inkling Markets [inklingmarkets.com]

Re:Worldwide for free: inkling (4, Informative)

sholden (12227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942698)

And with non-funny money at: https://www.intrade.com/ [intrade.com]

I'm suddenly skeptical (2, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944478)

I have been following the Intrade market, and I think that Obama's recent surge on that market may represent a serious blow to the idea.

I don't need Intrade to tell me what's happening at the polls; I can get that from the news. Intrade is interesting only if it's able to make predictions, and for a long time Clinton was twice as expensive as Obama. Today it's the reverse. That makes it a fine place to gamble, but not an interesting place to get an accurate representation of the future.

That market is still predicting that Huckabee's victory in Iowa will be short-lived, and it's still convinced that Romney's chances are low, but it's still heavily influenced by McCain's recent surge in the New Hampshire polls.

The campaign contains relatively few surprises. Candidates do not radically change their opinions or introduce truly novel programs. A sudden revelation can tank a candidate, but we're basically counting on Intrade to let the wisdom of crowds ferret out all of that before the polls, not after them.

Intrade may still redeem itself. The polls may be introducing a lot of volatility that will ultimately settle down. But it predicted Clinton vs Giuliani by wide margins for a very long time, and I'll put a lot less faith in its predictions if it's just tracking the state-by-state polls.

Re:I'm suddenly skeptical (3, Interesting)

sholden (12227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945442)

You might be trying to ferret out the wisdom of crowds. Lots of other people are just gambling, and another entity is interested in collecting transaction fees...

Re:I'm suddenly skeptical (3, Interesting)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947974)

I don't need Intrade to tell me what's happening at the polls; I can get that from the news. [...] we're basically counting on Intrade to let the wisdom of crowds ferret out all of that before the polls
The thing you have to understand about prediction markets is they don't represent a magical source of extra information. Prediction markets work only based on information that is already publicly available. They simply combine and weigh that information better than any other method of making predictions, and that is still a valuable service.

When the markets predict John McCain winning the nomination, they are not simply reacting to recent NH poll numbers; nothing a market does is "simple". The market is weighing *all* the available evidence to come to the conclusion that John McCain has the best overall chance to win the nomination. When you look at the market's prediction, you can be reasonably sure that single source reflects all the information you would likely be able to gather yourself if you dedicated all your time to researching the elections.

The campaign contains relatively few surprises.
Well put your money where your mouth is, bub. If you know better than the market, you stand to make money on it. The truth is, the volatility of these election markets reflects the *actual* uncertainty in *everyone*'s predictions about this primary, which is further a reflection of the actual volatility of public opinion itself. There *have* been surprises. Six months ago nobody expected Giuliani to do this poorly; nobody saw Huckabee's gains among evangelicals; etc etc. To pretend otherwise is silly; if you knew these things ahead of time you would be sitting pretty with a great position in the markets right now.

Re:Worldwide for free: inkling (1)

quantaman (517394) | more than 6 years ago | (#21943976)

This exists for everyone with funny money called inkles at Inkling Markets [inklingmarkets.com]
Doesn't using fake money defeat much of the purpose of a prediction market?

If you're not betting real money then you lose a lot of the motivation to be completely honest about the odds.

Re:Worldwide for free: inkling (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959022)

If you're not betting real money then you lose a lot of the motivation to be completely honest about the odds.
It's only fake money until the Chinese start farming it.

New Prediction Market (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21942272)

When will someone indict this war criminal [whitehouse.org]?

Employee Games the system (4, Interesting)

ryanguill (988659) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942330)

Google, however, is no ordinary company. As detailed in a footnote, one Google employee, looking to be a profitable trader, wrote the code for an extremely prolific trading robot. As a result, he "was participating in about half of all trades" and made a profit (in Goobles).


I wonder if he got fired or got a raise?

Re:Employee Games the system (3, Funny)

steveha (103154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942846)

I wonder if he got fired or got a raise?

Maybe he just got a commendation for original thinking.

steveha

Re:Employee Games the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21944058)

Wow, do you guys ever have the wrong impression of how Google works internally.
Google - the company that PR built.

Re:Employee Games the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946126)

** whoosh **

joke went over your head

Star Trek II, we learn that Kirk beat the "Kobayashi Maru" scenario by hacking the simulator... Kirk says "I got a commendation for original thinking"

Re:Employee Games the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21945108)

I think the reaction would probably be something like, "heh, that's pretty funny."

Information, not crystal ball (4, Insightful)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942358)

Prediction markets reflect information that is known; they are not perfect crystal balls. They also fall victim to groupthink.

The best example is that the prediction markets predicted Hillary would win the Democratic nomination by a wide margin. Now the consensus is that it will be Obama by a wide margin.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (4, Interesting)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942520)

Prediction markets reflect information that is known; they are not perfect crystal balls. They also fall victim to groupthink.
Very true, but the question is, compared to what? Prediction markets force people to be honest -- there's real money at stake, and a cost to your arrogance. (Well, not at Google, but at other markets.) It's harder to be a know-it-all when you have to back up your claims with your own money.

The best example is that the prediction markets predicted Hillary would win the Democratic nomination by a wide margin. Now the consensus is that it will be Obama by a wide margin.
I'd classify that as a feature rather than a flaw. Changes in odds are useful information too and allow us to avoid hindsight bias. It keeps us from saying, "Well everyone knew Obama would win." You can look at the history of the bets and say, "No, they didn't -- the general consensus was that he had no chance." Furthermore, "Hey, if you really knew it all along, why weren't you swiping up those underpriced Obama bets?"

One thing I'm interested in seeing is how Candidate/Party X's chance of winning correlates with critical financial metrics like long-term interest rates and oil prices. That is, do traders revise their estimates as a party's chance of winning goes up? Intrade recently started "shock future" bets where you can bet on the changes in such variables on election day (although I think to avoid the noise you should instead look at the long-term correlation rather than one day, which has noise from other factors).

For all their flaws, prediction markets truly fascinate me.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21943912)

So, how many states are represented thus far? Why is everyone conceeding victory to Obama (I'm an uninterested party, so I support neither him nor Hillary).

Prediction markets are only as accurate as their population. Those with small populations or with populations heavily influenced by one demographic do not necessarily represent the country as a whole. Also, since most of them are treated like a stock market, there are those that are taking larger risks just to try to win the "game".....and they have no representation in the real world event that is being modeled in this particular case. You don't buy multiple shares of a candidate, you get one (and only one -- unless you live in a corrupt state like Louisiana) vote.

Layne

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21951728)

(I'm an uninterested party, so I support neither him nor Hillary).


Really? So what planet do you live on, because if you live on Earth, you should be damn interested in who is going to be making the major decisions over the next few years. Decisions made by the President in the US have ramifications for all of us in the world. I wish I could be an uninterested party.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21953740)

These are just the primaries......when the different groups pick their main candidate for the final election in November. I am not a Democrat, so I don't get to have input into that primary....thus, I am an uninterested party with regards to Obama vs Hillary.

Layne

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944300)

Hey, if you really knew it all along, why weren't you swiping up those underpriced Obama bets?
Perhaps because of five years in jail due to the 2006 Internet gambling law (SAFE Port Act)?

Perhaps it won't be applied to prediction markets, and perhaps it won't be applied to individual bettors. On the other hand, if said risk were traded on a prediction market, we would know just how risky betting in a prediction market is.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944326)

Did you notice the stock market dropped after Obama did well in Iowa? He's running on a more populist campaign, it happens most election years.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (3, Insightful)

sheldon (2322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946694)

Did you notice the stock market dropped after Obama did well in Iowa? He's running on a more populist campaign, it happens most election years.


Did you notice the day after Obama did well in Iowa, there was a sudden storm front that hit the west coast?

He's running a Godless campaign, it happens most election years.

[hint: The market tanks because of a jobs report that came out from the labor dept]

Re:Information, not crystal ball (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945376)

Prediction markets force people to be honest -- there's real money at stake, and a cost to your arrogance.


They don't "force people to be honest". Prediction markets — if they are positioned to influence the events they are used to "predict", like political futures markets are — are simply a form of advertising (or, viewed another way, campaign donations). Sure, they cost real money, so does buying TV ads. But, (1) they aren't regulated, the way political advertising and donations are, and (2) they are also negative cost if they succeed, unlike regular ads or campaign donations.

People expend real money on campaign donations and political advertising all the time without any concern for "honesty". To think that political futures markets would somehow, by using "real money", force people to be honest is absurd. Any system where action can influence the perception of political reality will be gamed by those interested in influencing that perception—especially since the perception influences the reality here—and if you make it so that the limiting factor on the degree of influence is the ability to spend money then, like most aspects of the political system, the results will be skewed by the interests of those most able to burn money to acheive their political ends.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946752)

Obviously, not everyone's going to be honest. The point is, having your assets depend on whether your statement is true increases the returns to honesty significantly. Yes, people can bet heavily on a candidate without regard for real truth. However, there is more than one prediction market, and to really influence revealed odds, they have to bet in all of them, or else other traders will "Dutch book" them until they can't invest anymore.

The comparison to honesty in political donations is about the worst analogy I can imagine. You're just equivocating on the concept of "honesty".

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947280)

Obviously, not everyone's going to be honest. The point is, having your assets depend on whether your statement is true increases the returns to honesty significantly.


So what? Notional experts' assets—that is, their reputation and ability, therefore, to make money as predictors of future outcomes—already depend on the success of their predictions. And—unlike with prediction markets—there is no easy way to limit exposure. So, as far as individuals making predictions go, because they are essentially anonymous and exposure is limited, prediction markets reduce the marginal "return to honesty" (really, the returns in either case are to accuracy, not honesty.)

Yes, people can bet heavily on a candidate without regard for real truth. However, there is more than one prediction market, and to really influence revealed odds, they have to bet in all of them, or else other traders will "Dutch book" them until they can't invest anymore.


The total amount invested in all political futures markets that interested parties might wish to invest in is a drop in the bucket in the world of political expenditures, so that's not wouldn't be a big challenge to the people who would be interested in doing so. But that's not true, in any case. Sure, other traders could "Dutch book" and derive a sure profit in the circumstances you suggest, but it won't drive the party trying to manipulate the market out of the market unless they are overexposed initially. It will, over time, likely shift perceptions of which political futures markets are seen as reliable, but then that also shifts where the traders interested in manipulating perceptions are working. Unless you've got transparency as to who is putting money into the market, this kind of manipulation is always going to be not merely possible but trivial in political futures markets, or any similar prediction market where the events being "predicted" are subject to influence by the results in the "futures market" itself, or where people with lots of money to throw at influencing perceptions have a big financial stake in the perceptions regardless of the actual results.

Clearly, there are "prediction" markets where this particular risk isn't as present as it is in political futures.

The comparison to honesty in political donations is about the worst analogy I can imagine.


It isn't an "analogy" at all. "Investments" in political futures markets designed to drive perceptions are a form of political advertisement (without the kind of transparency requirements imposed on many actual political advertisements), not something analogous to political advertisements.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947666)

So what? Notional experts' assets--that is, their reputation and ability, therefore, to make money as predictors of future outcomes--already depend on the success of their predictions. And--unlike with prediction markets--there is no easy way to limit exposure.

Experts are rarely held to account for wrong predictions, and rarely make the kind of quantifiable, objectively observable predictions that go into futures markets.

So, as far as individuals making predictions go, because they are essentially anonymous and exposure is limited, prediction markets reduce the marginal "return to honesty" (really, the returns in either case are to accuracy, not honesty.)

Please recall the context of my original remarks. The eventual occurrence of the predicted event determines the prediction's accuracy. One's willingness to pay $3 (on a $100 bet) when one has stated that he believes the odds to be 90%, is a reflection of his honesty. If he claims the odds are 90%, but won't buy at $3, the prediction market has successfully tamed his *dishonest* characterization of his certainty, which was the point.

The total amount invested in all political futures markets that interested parties might wish to invest in is a drop in the bucket in the world of political expenditures, so that's not wouldn't be a big challenge to the people who would be interested in doing so. [...]

Yes, because no one's tried to run a campaign focused that way. If and when it happens, traders will enter the market to the point where it's not longer a "drop in the bucket".

It isn't an "analogy" at all. "Investments" in political futures markets designed to drive perceptions are a form of political advertisement

A purchase of a political future IS a bet on a future event. It can be used to change perceptions, making it in some respects analagous to a political advertisement. However, the incentive structure and future obligations resulting, are completely different, making them not identical. For example, the monetary value (in my net worth) of my donation to the Hillary campaign does not vary based on future events, while in the political future purchase, it does. The correctness of the facts on which the future purchase is predicated, is validated or invalided, while this does not happen for a political donation. And so on. These are pretty fundamental distinctions.

So I absolutely agree people can get attention and credibility for a certain candidate but throwing in eye-catching bets, but your characterization of the activity as identical to political advertisement is not justified.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948114)

Experts are rarely held to account for wrong predictions, and rarely make the kind of quantifiable, objectively observable predictions that go into futures markets.


Maybe in some fields. In the specific case of political futures, experts frequently make exactly the kind of quantifiable, objectively falsfiable predictions that futures markets are held out as a substitute for expert prediction in. And they are frequently mocked and ridiculed after the fact for failure (moreso recently, as the increasing access to easily-searchable information has made it easier to go back and check on predictions after the fact.)

And they do so without the ability to place a firm limit on downside risk that is provided by an anonymous investment market.

Yes, because no one's tried to run a campaign focused that way.


without transparency, how do you know? Or are you claiming just that no candidate has themselves pointed overtly do the results of such markets? The results of political futures markets have been had some influence on campaign coverage in at least the last two Presidential campaign cycles. It would be irrational to assume that, at the very least, the second of those -- and the present campaign -- have not been the focus of deliberate intervention to drive results and gain positive coverage for preferred candidates.

If and when it happens, traders will enter the market to the point where it's not longer a "drop in the bucket".


Perhaps, if and when and acknowledged reliance on such manipulation occurs that will happen; if so, the cost effectiveness of trying to manipulate political perceptions (and thus political outcomes) by gaming such markets would, of course, decline (but not necessarily be eliminated.)

OTOH, you present no reason to believe that is true: if political outcomes were, like sunspots, immune to influence from public perceptions, then clearly trying to manipulate political "futures markets" this way would be subject to drawing profit-takers in to clean up as you describe, which would limit the utility of such manipulation. But since the public perception of the probability of a candidate's success has an positive impact on the actual probability of that candidate's success, there isn't the same kind of "clean-up" draw present. Sure, the more they are reported, the more activists willing to risk resources to make the political outcomes they desire more likely will be drawn to the markets, and the more they will simply be dominated by whichever faction has the most money tied up in producing outcomes (and the most to gain by avoiding—or the most left over after fully utilizing—more transparent modes of participation, like legal campaign donations.)

For example, the monetary value (in my net worth) of my donation to the Hillary campaign does not vary based on future events


Assuming, unlike most contributors, you aren't donating based in at least some part on your perceived economic self-interest in either the short- or long-term, this is correct, this might be true of "monetary value", but there are two problems with that:

First, most contributors do contribute based, to some degree, on perceived economic self-interest.

Second, the limitation to "monetary value" is mostly meaningless; "monetary value" is meaningful only as a proxy for utility, and the utility value of your donation is clearly greatest where your preferred candidate wins, and least where they fail with little (or counterproductive) impact, and somewhere in between where they lose but have enough positive influence that the winning candidate is compelled to adopt some of their platform.

This is pretty much the same payoff condition as with a "bet" in a "futures market", except that a bet takes what is a continuous return function and makes it into a crisp binary cutoff.

The correctness of the facts on which the future purchase is predicated, is validated or invalided, while this does not happen for a political donation.


Uh, no. This is inaccurate. You put out your money, and you either get the result you sought with or you don't, in either case. It is "validated" just as clearly in the donation (or independently-purchased ad) case as in the "bet" case.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948102)

It's harder to be a know-it-all when you have to back up your claims with your own money.

Not if you're a rich "know-it-all." There are plenty of dishonest idiots with money.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

Incoherent07 (695470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942906)

And if you predicted Obama would win the nomination 6 months ago, you'd have made a whole lot of fake money (or in the case of Intrade, real money). Even more so for Huckabee. This isn't much different from a stock market: if you had predicted Enron would tank about 3 months before it happened, you could have sold it short and made a whole boatload of money, or at the very least gotten out early.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21943900)

"Prediction markets reflect information that is known; they are not perfect crystal balls. They also fall victim to groupthink"

Figure out who really are the smart ones in the group for various questions and then weight accordingly. Add a bit of recursion/meta and voila ;).

BTW I heard that at least one person in the world has a neuron specializing in Halle Berry.

Maybe consciousness is what happens when your "simulation" extremely recursively tries to predict itself.

Predicting external objects and creatures was definitely advantageous, so when those other creatures start predicting you and vice versa, creatures start having to predict themselves :).

If quantum computers can actually run very very many simulations at once (in superpositions) then they would make the "what would I like to do next" thing easier.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944598)

Maybe consciousness is what happens when your "simulation" extremely recursively tries to predict itself.

Interesting – my TaiChi master tries to get across that it is important to direct attention to what will happen in the not so distant future (to 'observe' what will happen), because you are always late if you observe what happens 'now'. My own idea on the issue was that you at least partially determine the future this way.

CC.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

ContractualObligatio (850987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944102)

They are not perfect - of course. On what basis do you say they fall victim to groupthink, however? An election itself is subject to groupthink, and as events occur during an election process then it is reasonable for a prediction market to change to reflect group reactions to those events. Predictions should change as e.g. Obama wins the Iowa caucus. For evidence of groupthink, you need to show a prediction that is out of line with a reasonable interpretation of the available facts. For something as unpredictable as election results a long time before a closely run election, it isn't possible to draw conclusions on the flaws of the predictive market.

My understanding was that predictive markets reduce your vulnerability to groupthink. I don't see any reason to change that impression here.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944430)

An election itself is subject to groupthink
Elections are rigged. Even if you don't accept that, enough people believe it that it affects prediction markets. A lot of people such as myself believed that Hillary was the one annointed by the power elite, based in part on the cooperation between Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton in the tsunami aftermath. We were all wrong. It now appears that Obama is the annointed one.

Re:Information, not crystal ball (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21980814)

The best example is that the prediction markets predicted Hillary would win the Democratic nomination by a wide margin. Now the consensus is that it will be Obama by a wide margin.
That isn't entirely accurate. Back in September-October the Intrade odds on Hillary winning the nomination were very stable at 2:1 in favor. Just before the Iowa caucuses Intrade gave her just over 60%. When I checked between the Iowa caucuses and NH Primary, it was very close to 50-50; since then, Hillary's bounced back to just under 60%.

Someone at Google has been reading John Brunner... (3, Insightful)

RealGene (1025017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942400)

..who had this as a significant plot element in his novel, The Shockwave Rider
--Gene

Re:Someone at Google has been reading John Brunner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21942598)

Or read Wired (here [wired.com] or here [gmu.edu]) or worked at Rand [wikipedia.org].

If that's all they can predict... (1)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942424)

Then I'm not very worried for the great data mine of google.

Wikipedia article on prediction markets (5, Informative)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942500)

Wikipedia has a pretty good article [wikipedia.org] on the topic that I read a few months ago. Be forewarned Websense views some of these prediction market sites as gambling. So, I wouldn't view them at work. Specifically Intrade.

High Definition (2, Funny)

dsmitchell1 (720633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942562)

What does it say about the outcome of the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray battle? I want to buy my player now!

Re:High Definition (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948818)

What does it say about the outcome of the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray battle? I want to buy my player now!

I don't know about Google, but the latest bid on Intrade's real-money market [intrade.com] that "Blu-Ray Disc sales will outnumber HD-DVD disc sales in the US in 2008" is 85.0 out of 100. Popular Science's fake-money market is $87 out of $100 for "Will Toshiba stop manufacturing HD-DVD machines by the end of 2009?" [popsci.com].

Take your lips away from G's rear (1)

BuckBundy (781446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942672)

Another day, another story about G wackiness...
I only feel sorry that /. was not around when MS was the rising star, I would love to read the "old" stories about how great and wonderful was MS at the time.
What will be the next one - someone there changes their underwear?

Re:Take your lips away from G's rear (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944018)

I would love to read the "old" stories about how great and wonderful was MS at the time

Ha ha. And when would that have been?

Re:Take your lips away from G's rear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21944206)

Right when IBM was at MS's position and MS was more or less at Google's.

Some of us weren't born yesterday, 'key?

Re:Take your lips away from G's rear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21944740)

From what I understand Microsoft is a fairly good place to work.

prediction markets or gambling ? (1)

PureCreditor (300490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942724)

if we're trying to *predict* a future event without any prior data to forecast upon, then it's merely a form of legalized gambling.

and seriously......"Goobles"? They have to chose a name that sounds like one coming from a semi-dictator regime (Putin)? Whatever happened to "Googo" (like euro) or "Ginar" (like dinar) or "Ganc" (like franc) or even "Grona" (like krona) ?

Bee in your bonnet? It's *wordplay*... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21948848)

and seriously......"Goobles"? They have to chose a name that sounds like one coming from a semi-dictator regime (Putin)? Whatever happened to "Googo" (like euro) or "Ginar" (like dinar) or "Ganc" (like franc) or even "Grona" (like krona) ?
One of things is not like the others...
Let's see, let's take the name of the company.
"Google"
Now, can we change just a letter or two to make it sound like a currency?
"Googlar"? Nah, sounds stupid.
"Googluro"? Even worse.
"Ginar"... "Ganc"... "Grona"...? Well, duh! This isn't Gnome. Those are all letter changes from the currencies and have nothing but a 'G' from "Google".
"Googo"? Well, back in the right direction.
"Gooble"? Hmm... a single letter away from "Google" *and* a single sound away from "ruble"? Brilliant!
Okay, so now we make it plural:
Goobles

Re:prediction markets or gambling ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21951862)

The main problem is those don't start with "Goo".

Ummm.... (0, Offtopic)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942768)

Given the smartestest people in the world, the revolutionary free lunch policy and the room of rubber balls, shouldn't they be producing something exciting by now? Experimenting with libertarian enthusiasms from 2003 while their lawyers acquire and rebrand other people's Web 2.0 startups seems a bit of a letdown after the hype.

Re:Ummm.... (1)

KimmoV (1062430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942896)

I am still waiting for someone to throw in unlimited amount of monkeys equipped with typewriters and see if they can improve on Shakespear.

Re:Ummm.... (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21943942)

That's the problem. They have enough money for all of the monkeys they need except that last one (infinity + 1 and all)......so, click on more of their AdWords so they can start the project.

Layne

Re:Ummm.... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21943984)

1) Personally I think Google's finance team could easily make pots of money in investments and commodities trading given the info in Google's computers, and the resources they have.

Of course if they did that sort of thing openly people might stop using them for search, email, etc.

2) If I were the NSA I would prefer to have something like Google around just so that it's easier to keep an eye on stuff.

The rest of the smart people can spend their whole day getting free massages and food it doesn't really matter, if they actually come up with something great that's icing on the cake :).

MOD PARENT UP!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946888)

Why is the parent at 1!? That comment is DEAD ON!

Prediction markets in Earthweb (2, Informative)

steveha (103154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21943000)

Earthweb [amazon.com] is a novel by Marc Stiegler [skyhunter.com].

In Earthweb [amazon.com] prediction markets have a major role in the plot. Prediction markets are used to harness the wisdom of the crowds over the whole planet; this is what the title references. The book also speculates on some of the problems that might happen with prediction markets, such as people who just try to figure out an expert's prediction and just bet the same as that expert. (This expert-following skews the results; the followers are not adding any more insight to the market, and they might be lending their support to someone who might be wrong.)

The book is really a bunch of cool future Information Age ideas, with just enough plot to stitch them together. The action sequences are as energetic and implausible as a Tomb Raider game. It's not Shakespeare but I enjoyed it.

P.S. The book also tells, as part of its backstory, about a bunch of inexpensive computing devices with networking built in being air-dropped over the poorest parts of the world, to give poor children some sort of an education. He wrote this years before OLPC.

steveha

Re:Prediction markets in Earthweb (1)

stemcel (1074448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945076)

This was my first thought when I read the article summary. The book is fantastic and provides an encouraging (though probably pretty optimistic) idea of how useful this sort of prediction market can be.
Think of it as using Mechanical Turk to tell the future...

Predictions helped find a nuke, and a missing sub (2, Interesting)

Majin Bubu (455010) | more than 6 years ago | (#21943046)

I find prediction markets very fascinating and a powerful prediction system, when manned by experts of the field. Indeed, such a system was used to find a H-bomb that had been lost at see back in the 60s, as well as the missing submarine Scorpion. Read "The Blind Man's Bluff" for details, but there are excerpts online. Also see Bayes subjective probability.

Great idea, just don't tell Congress (2, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21943178)

Pentagon tried just this in 2003 — use the method [gmu.edu] to predict terror attacks. The Congressional outcry about "trading in blood" was such, that the program was scrapped shortly after being announced...

Quoting from MSNBC report [msn.com]:

The Pentagon Tuesday agreed to abandon the plan, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman said, after Senate Democrats Monday blasted the plan as nothing more than state-sponsored "gambling on terrorism."

Congress was only calling the spade a spade. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944078)

This is one of the not-so-few times Congress got it right, as that's what it is.

Re:Congress was only calling the spade a spade. (2, Informative)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945848)

Congress was only calling the spade a spade.

Alright, teacher of the people. Could you define, what "trading in blood" means?

Or did you simply fall for somebody else's demagoguery?

This market may or may not be efficient in predicting terrorist attacks, but there is nothing morally wrong with it.

Re:Great idea, just don't tell Congress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21944480)

Pentagon tried just this in 2003 -- use the method to predict terror attacks. The Congressional outcry about "trading in blood" was such, that the program was scrapped shortly after being announced...
Was it scrapped, or did it just become a secret market?

I could tell you, but then I could possibly be charged with insider trading for killing you.

Re:Great idea, just don't tell Congress (1)

sheldon (2322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946624)

Every once in a while Congress get's something right.

Prediction markets are pretty terrible at predicting. Instead what they show is the wisdom of the crowds.

If we were to create a prediction market for blu-ray over HD-DVD, it would have suddenly shifted to blu-ray winning by a greater margin right after Warner bros announced it was going blu-ray exclusive. Now how was that a prediction? It's not.

Then next week, when HD-DVD makes some announcement, the market will adjust back some other direction.

This is what I've seen with political markets. The market is a lagging indicator from polling data and news media coverage. It's not an actual predictor.

Re:Great idea, just don't tell Congress (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947154)

Every once in a while Congress get's [sic] something right. Prediction markets are pretty terrible at predicting.

Well, this may or may not be true (although Google appears to disagree), but that was not the Congress' reasoning. At all.

The Democratic demagogues insisted, the thing would be somehow immoral and must be scrapped for that reason. Whether it will actually work or not was never discussed in the Senate...

Re:Great idea, just don't tell Congress (1)

sheldon (2322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21950640)

The Democratic demagogues insisted, the thing would be somehow immoral and must be scrapped for that reason.


Funny. If the Democrats had proposed it and the Republicans halted it, you'd be cheering that as proof that Republicans care about morals and values.

Take your partisan hackery elsewhere.

Re:Great idea, just don't tell Congress (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21950684)

Take your partisan hackery elsewhere.

An attempt to change the subject noted and duly ridiculed.

K-129 (1)

schiefaw (552727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21943198)

I've read that the CIA used a similar approach to predict the location of a soviet Gulf II sub which was lost in the Pacific. I guess the resulting predictions were pretty darn close.

Prediction Markets are absolutely useless (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21943706)

Look at the political markets which didn't price Mike Huckabee in until a month ago, never minding the best bet is always the governor of a southern state (and there is only one this election cycle!!!).

Look at football gambling. Every week some group of people actually bets the road favorites heavily even though it is a fact that a home team underdog stands a consistently better chance. In football, homefield advantage is overwhelming, so much so that if you consistently bet on the home team underdogs throughout the season you will turn a profit.

That piece of information never makes it into the numbers.

Re:Prediction Markets are absolutely useless (1)

daveo0331 (469843) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945096)

What you're saying about football betting happens because, due to gambling laws, it's an inefficient market. If betting on football were as easy and free of juice as stock trading, wealthy investors could easily bet all the home underdogs and the market prices would be more correct. Because this isn't the case (having to physically travel to Nevada, 10% juice, online books existing in a legal gray area, etc.), the mistakes made by "squares" are able to affect the betting lines.

Re:Prediction Markets are absolutely useless (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 6 years ago | (#21945986)

Remember the days when Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility?
I think very few people alive remember when Warren G. Harding was president.

Re:Prediction Markets are absolutely useless (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946614)

I suspect that even in an efficient market the home underdog phenomenon would persist. Also, I'll offer the stock market is far from an efficient market for information... although I know there's a 9/11 conspiracy theory that says otherwise.

The basic problem is that the markets don't process information at all. They process attitudes and assumptions, which are often very different from information.

Look at stuff like the political markets for the Democrats. All the information about Obama and Clinton was known friggin years ago. We all know people hate Clinton and find her to be frigid as a public speaker. We all know she's experienced. We all know her record.

The only piece of information the market actually processed about Clinton was her high name recognition.

And obviously that was a really useful piece of information in predicting Iowa. Or, for that matter, what will come of the race from here forward.

How Prediction Truly Works: (2, Interesting)

imstanny (722685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944120)

The best predictions are made by an aggregate of opinions. You need look no further than "Who wants to be a Millionaire". When they poll the audience, the audience has a very high success rate (over 90%, though I forget the precise figure). The reason for this is that people that don't know for the answer account for random choices, which allows for those that do know the answer to make the correct answer rise to the top.


There's a fascinating book that addresses all these points called "More Than You Know" by Michael J. Mauboussin. I have recently been at one of his lectures at an investment conference (and got an autographed copy of his book). He gave a poignant example about prediction quality of a group vs the individual:


He put jelly beans in a jar and made his students guess the amount of beans the jar contained. He offered a small monetery reward as incenctive, to better ensure educated guesses. With the exception of 2 students, the class average came close to guessing the amount of beans in the jar than any one individual. His book offers interesting examinations of psychology and group behavior applied to financial markets.

Re:How Prediction Truly Works: (1)

Incoherent07 (695470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946038)

The "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" example always bothered me. If you watch the show, the contestant had a strong tendency to use Ask the Audience early in the game, and Phone a Friend later. (People trust their friends more than a random studio audience, for better or for worse.) But I can't find a reference that says that the "smart audience" effect still happens when you control for the "level" of the question.

Google's prediction market at O'Reilly Money:Tech (1)

tadghin (2229) | more than 6 years ago | (#21944532)

Bo Cowgill, who wrote the paper on Google's prediction market, will be talking about their project at our Money:Tech conference in New York Feb 6-7. See http://conferences.oreillynet.com/money2008 [oreillynet.com] for details.

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about parallels between Web 2.0 and Wall Street. Because of course, the stock market is one of the largest prediction markets of all.

But it doesn't end there. There are lots of fascinating things to learn by studying the parallels, including why Web 2.0 will turn away from aggregating public content to providing new ways for anonymized aggregation, why Google and other search engines will increasingly compete with the sites they index, and why web 2.0 companies might find new markets by providing insight -- or even new kinds of financial futures (see for example weatherbill.com) to financial markets.

social implications (1)

theonewho (686963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21949076)

hi,

john brunner's 1975 novel "shockwave rider" spent some time sketching out the social implications of a prediction market -- he called it a "delphi pool" and made it an integral part of the narrative -- a somewhat prosaic wikiview of the novel is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shockwave_Rider [wikipedia.org] -- if you are interested in this topic, the novel is worth the read -- it is often labeled as the grand-daddy of cyber-punk and came off the presses ~10 years before neuromancer -- brunner's previous books "stand on zanzibar" and "the sheep look up" at least stylistically touch on some of the same topics as "shockwave rider" but never give these concepts explicit name -- the previous books were hugo/nebula winners/nominees

ciao ciao,
kevin

Delphi? (1)

Teunis (678244) | more than 6 years ago | (#21950298)

Sounds like Shockwave Rider concept. Perhaps healthier due to complex social culture of Google culture.
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