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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A forthcoming report outlines how the wisdom of the crowd can be used to predict coming changes to the tech-security landscape over the next five years.

Why it matters: Predicting the future is key to good policymaking, and crowd forecasting has repeatedly proven to be more successful than the judgement of single experts.

What's happening: Axios was given an early look at a report out Monday from the Center for Security and Emerging Technology's (CSET) Foretell crowd forecasting pilot project.

  • CSET developed three scenarios about the future of the AI industry and tech tensions between the U.S. and China: one where there is tense economic and security balance, one where tensions have subsided as the global AI industry grows, and one where globalization breaks down and AI is increasingly national.

How it works: Crowd forecasting is good at placing clear probabilities on specific, near-term events, but it struggles with the big questions that are meaningful for policymakers.

  • To overcome that, CSET broke down the scenarios into shorter-term predictors.
  • They then identified clearly observable metrics, like the level of U.S.-China trade and the size of Defense Department AI grants that Foretell's 1,000 members could forecast.

What they're saying: The report's authors write that "preliminary findings suggest two outcomes — both involving increasing U.S.-China tensions and Department of Defense AI R&D investments — are most likely."

  • As further data comes in on AI investments and globalization trends, the forecasters should be able to figure out which of those outcomes is most likely to come true.

What to watch: The full report publishes on Monday, and CSET will hold an event on Foretell at 2 p.m. EDT that day.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 18, 2020 - Technology

The robo-job apocalypse is being delayed

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A sprawling new report makes the case that automation and AI won't lead to widespread job destruction anytime soon.

Why it matters: Technological advances in AI and automation will have an enormous impact on the workforce, but it may take decades for those effects to be fully felt. That gives business leaders and politicians a last chance to change labor and education policies that have left too many workers locked in low-quality, low-paying jobs.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 19, 2020 - Technology

Survey: Executives are prioritizing AI skills

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Executives and senior managers say they will prioritize hiring candidates who have skills in automation and AI, according to a survey first shared with Axios.

Why it matters: Automation hasn't yet transformed the business world, in part because companies don't yet know how to harness these new technologies. If that's going to happen, they'll need workers who know how to use AI.

1 hour ago - Health

Treasury begins dispersing $350 billion in COVID relief funding to states and localities

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury on Monday began giving state and local governments access to $350 billion in emergency funding from the American Rescue Plan, the department announced Monday.

Why it matters: Though the money is aimed at helping state, local, territorial and tribal governments recover from the pandemic's economic fallout, the administration will generally give them wide latitude on how they can use the funds.