This year will be less less risky than 2017, according to an AI-driven forecast, mainly because the world is already accustomed to the volatility created by Brexit and Donald Trump, and nothing like their rattling victories is likely to recur.

Expand chart
Reproduced from GeoQuant; Chart: Axios Visuals

Mark Rosenberg, the CEO of GeoQuant, whose forecasts combine AI-driven data and analysis by political scientists, says last year was much more volatile than 2015 or 2016. But since the world has already taken stock of Brexit and Trump, that makes those lower risks in 2018, according to GeoQuant's report.

  • And the world is unlikely to be broadsided by anything as dramatic this year. "There is a stabilization effect by virtue of last year's uniqueness," he said. "You do get a relative reduction of risk, leaving it at a high level. There is more stability in an unstable world."

Here are some geopolitical forecasts from Rosenberg's bot and analysts:

  • Russia's Vladimir Putin will lay low as far as foreign adventures go, and stick to winning a decisive re-election in March before cracking down on perceived disloyal elites.
  • China's Xi Jinping, too, will generally not seek to capitalize on perceived U.S. geopolitical weakness—he won't make a dramatic power grab in the South China Sea or Taiwan. Rather, Xi will spend a conservative year of consolidating what's already been gained.
  • Democrats are favored in the U.S. midterm elections, but the data is inconclusive at this stage as to who will control Congress. The GOP and Trump are 6.5% weaker than the Democrats were at the time of the November 2016 election, but 2% stronger than when Democrat Doug Jones won an upset in the Alabama Senate election last month. For comparison, about 15% would indicate heavy weakness.

And in business:

  • Stock market gains are unlikely to be as strong this year as in 2017, when the S&P 500 rose by 19% and the Dow by 25%.

Go deeper

4 hours ago - Podcasts

Facebook boycott organizers share details on their Zuckerberg meeting

Facebook is in the midst of the largest ad boycott in its history, with nearly 1,000 brands having stopped paid advertising in July because they feel Facebook hasn't done enough to remove hate speech from its namesake app and Instagram.

Axios Re:Cap spoke with the boycott's four main organizers, who met on Tuesday with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top Facebook executives, to learn why they organized the boycott, what they took from the meeting, and what comes next.

Boycott organizers slam Facebook following tense virtual meeting

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Civil rights leaders blasted Facebook's top executives shortly after speaking with them on Tuesday, saying that the tech giant's leaders "failed to meet the moment" and were "more interested in having a dialogue than producing outcomes."

Why it matters: The likely fallout from the meeting is that the growing boycott of Facebook's advertising platform, which has reached nearly 1000 companies in less than a month, will extend longer than previously anticipated, deepening Facebook's public relations nightmare.

Steve Scalise PAC invites donors to fundraiser at Disney World

Photo: Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s PAC is inviting lobbyists to attend a four-day “Summer Meeting” at Disney World's Polynesian Village in Florida, all but daring donors to swallow their concern about coronavirus and contribute $10,000 to his leadership PAC.

Why it matters: Scalise appears to be the first House lawmakers to host an in-person destination fundraiser since the severity of pandemic became clear. The invite for the “Summer Meeting” for the Scalise Leadership Fund, obtained by Axios, makes no mention of COVID-19.