August 25, 2022


INFER joins the "Synthetic Age"

INFER launched a new topic on synthetic biology to assess how this field will transform U.S. competitiveness and increase national security in the energy sector. We will be releasing new questions regularly over the coming months, along with helpful resources and opportunities. For greater insight into this topic, here’s what to watch, read, and forecast:

+ Watch a recording of yesterday’s Fireside Chat featuring Beth Sanner (ARLIS, former Deputy Director of National Intelligence) interviewing Andrew Kilianski (Senior Director at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and former Senior Scientist at DoD). They discussed the competitive landscape of this emerging field, including opportunities and threats that are relevant to policymaking.

+ Read our latest blog post to learn about how INFER is identifying signals that help us understand the impacts of synthetic biology to the energy sector.

+ Challenge yourself and see if you can earn the SynBio Trendcaster badge!

+ Forecast on the first two synthetic biology questions linked below.


Impacts of crowd forecasting on public health

The COVID-19 pandemic is not yet behind us, so when INFER ran a question asking whether a new PHEIC would be declared between 1 Aug 2021 and 23 July 2022, it's not surprising that the crowd consensus was last near a 30% chance (other forecasting sites had similar results). See our post-mortem to learn more about how the INFER crowd tackled this question and what we learned.

We also talked to a Pro Forecaster, Alex Demarsh, who initially proposed the question to INFER. Alex, who leads BlueDot's Epidemic Intelligence Unit, discusses the benefits that crowd forecasting can bring to public health. 


Get to know our Pro Forecasters

Have you seen the tips from Pro Forecasters we're sharing on our social channels? Here's what Trisha and Austin have to say about forecasting:
+ New Pro Forecasters inducted this month! We want to extend a warm welcome to the forecasters joining the Pro ranks beginning in August. @MHidalgo, @A19, @JonathanMann were top-ranked forecasters and placed as "Pro Starters" in the first half of the season. @Liflock is joining as a synthetic biology expert. And @tango, @efosong, @sanyer, @revmag, and @samuel-da-shadrach were selected for their outstanding results in the Effective Altruism College Tournament.
Know individuals or groups focusing on synthetic biology?
INFER has a few Pro Forecaster spots open for anyone who can demonstrate experience in this field. We are also sponsoring clubs or other groups with an emphasis on synthetic biology. Email us for more information.


Save the date: Winning the global AI race

From self-driving cars to cures for cancer to autonomous weapons systems, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are shaping and disrupting our world at an ever-increasing rate. Consequently, many countries have set their sights on winning the “Global AI Race” and establishing the technological leadership needed to compete in economics and geopolitics. In our next Fireside Chat, we will explore what it means to “win the AI race” and discuss how countries’ national AI strategies are helping them get ahead. 
Featuring Gregory Dawson
Co-author of Winners and losers in the fulfillment of national artificial intelligence aspirations (Brookings) and Professor at Arizona State University

Thursday, Sep 29th
2-3pm Eastern Time
Register today


Last chance to complete these challenges

+ 3-Week Streak Extension
Good news! We've extended the qualifying period to August 31 for our 3-Week Streak Challenge. Make a forecast on any topic once per week for at least three weeks between July 18 and August 31 to earn the badge and be entered for a reward drawing. Two badge winners will be selected to receive $250.
+ Rookie Rockstars
If you join INFER in July or August, and make at least 5 forecasts since joining, you will earn the Rockstar Rookie badge. Everyone with the badge will be entered for a reward drawing. One badge winner will be selected to receive $500.
See all reward challenges


Future headlines...

Based on our latest forecasting data, INFER is predicting the following major headlines. How do these compare to your forecasts?
Do you have friends or colleagues interested in joining INFER?
They can sign up here. For any questions, drop us a line.

Thank you for reading!
The INFER Team
Copyright © 2022
INFER is a forecasting program run by the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS) at the University of Maryland and Cultivate Labs. Funding is provided by Open Philanthropy
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