RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – 05-30-2019 — A little more than a week ago, Game of Thrones’ run came to an end, with a viewership close to 20 million in the US alone. Among those viewers, there was a group of people who were hardly surprised: users of the social forecasting platform Futuur.
Days before the season finale, predictions for 61 key events related to the series were available on the platform’s mobile app. They were right in 87% of cases. Given that the HBO-produced show is notoriously known for its unexpected plot twists, how did a mobile app manage to predict its ending with such accuracy?The answer seems to lie in the method behind such forecasts. Instead of relying on the opinions of experts, or simply opening a poll, Futuur focused its efforts on creating a platform that offered a kind of “stock exchange” for possible outcomes. The so-called prediction market allowed fans to “invest” in the outcomes they found more likely, as well as trading and updating their positions in real time, whenever feedback from the real world led them to change their mind. How it worksAll users who register on Futuur starts their journey with 1000 Ooms, the app’s in-game currency. From that point on, they have to decide how to invest that capital in by purchasing shares in the outcomes they believe will come true. If their prediction is correct, they receive 1 Oom for each share they had purchased of that outcome. If they are wrong, they lose their investment.The prices for buying shares, however, fluctuate according to demand. The more people concentrate their purchases around one of the outcomes, the more expensive it gets. If at a given moment, for example, a “Yes” share of the question “Will Bran become King of Westeros?” is available for 0.7 Oom, that means the community estimates there is a 70% chance of him becoming king, and 30% chance he doesn’t. It is then up to the user to decide to bet on “Yes” (more likely to happen according to the crowd, but with a lower return on investment) or on “No” (more risky, but possibly more profitable).Since shares can be bought or sold at any time, there is an incentive to stay up to date with the topics at stake, just like any shareholder would do regarding companies he’s invested in. Behind-the-scenes news, interviews with cast and crew, rumors on social media, etc, can therefore be as relevant in a prediction market as quarterly reports are in a stock market. The expected result of this dynamic is an ongoing, up-to-date forecast that efficiently aggregates information from across diverse perspectives. Track record and future challengesAccording to the company’s founder and CEO, Tom Bennett, “Futuur was designed to be fast, fun and social. The goal is to drive more predictions, and as a result provide more accurate forecasts across the greatest breadth and depth of topics”. It’s only logical that the platform extends its reach into areas beyond entertainment — includingpolitics, sports,finance and science — offering a compelling alternative to traditional polls and expert analysis.So far, the strategy seems to be on track. During the US Midterms, for example, Futuur matched the performance of both FiveThirtyEight and PredictIt, two of the world’s most renowned forecasting services, with a Brier score of 0.16 based on 3,700 individual forecasts. When it came to Game of Thrones, the engagement was even larger — 48,000 forecasts, with a brier score of 0.13 — strengthening the correlation between the number of people involved in the prediction process and the accuracy of the predictions generated by the wisdom of that crowd.Futuur is available for download on the iOS App Store or Google Play, or on the web at https://www.futuur.com. More information can be found on its How It Works page, and introductory video. Some of the most popular questions in the platform can be found below, or by visiting Futuur’s Feed. Here is a sample of questions from the platform:Who will sit at the Iron Throne? (Nobody, 51%)Will Jon Snow die? (No, 87%)Will Jon kill Daenerys? (Yes, 63%)How will Daenerys be killed? (Dagger, 44%)Will the Baxter building appear in Spider-Man Far from Home?Will Jean Grey die in X-Men Dark Phoenix?Will Donald Trump finish his term as president?Will Donald Trump’s tax returns become public?
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