Information markets

One of my projects at work involves information markets: tools to extract aggregate knowledge from groups of people.  For example, at Intrade, you can buy and sell contracts on questions like, “who will be the democratic nominee for president?” or “how likely is it that the US economy will slip into recession?”  The market price reflects the cumulative belief that a given event has a certain probability.

IEEE Spectrum also recently did a piece on information markets which talked about Microsoft’s use of a market in 2004 to predict the likelihood of an internal product meeting its production schedule.  By opening the market to its employees, who presumably had knowledge of the issues with the product, Microsoft predicted that it would ship three months late – which it did.

All of that got me to thinking about how much fun (and subversive 😉 ) an employee operated information market would be.  The questions are great: “how likely is it that we’ll be re-organized my March?”  “will the next good job go to the boss’s friend, neighbor or gardener?”  “which product will be selected in the next RFP?”  “how likely is this project to fail (or succeed)?”

If anyone wants to set up something like that, I’ve got some code, or you can use Zocalo.

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