Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

Starting today, One-post-daily will also feature personalities. We would try profiling them and figuring out their claim to fame. We start off with “Bruce Bueno de Mesquita”

Can a fringe branch of mathematics forecast the future? This special adviser to the CIA, Fortune 500 companies, and the U.S. Department of Defense certainly thinks so.

Mesquita says that a computer model he built and has perfected over the last 25 years can predict the outcome of virtually any international conflict, provided the basic input is accurate. And his predictions are alarmingly specific. His predictions about issues that concern the CIA were 90% accurate as compared to the experts on the subject who were less than 50% accurate.

An Instance

Back in March 2004, when al-Qaeda bombed a Madrid train station, influencing the course of Spain’s general election three days later, a lot of U.S. security folks were nervous. Worried that al-Qaeda might try something similar here in the run-up to the November, 2004, presidential elections, the Pentagon hired Bueno de Mesquita to run some data through his forecasting model to tell them what to expect. The results were unequivocal. He said there would be no homeland attack. He also indicated that bin Laden’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, would resurface around Thanksgiving, 2004. Just after the elections in November that year, Zawahiri released a new videotape. Bueno de Mesquita was right on both counts. One of the things government needs most is advice that’s precise and not wishy-washy and that’s where Mesquita comes into picture.

And to do this he starts with some basic assumptions, uses game theory frameworks and mathematical computations to find a plaussible solution.

His next prediction is on the future of Iran and how it would handle the pressures of the USA and the European Union and whether Iran would go ahead and make nuclear weapons. His theory, simulation and results are explained in this talk @ TEDtalks.

The same are explained in fair detail in this blog

Very Interesting!

Some more reads include wiki and this post on The new Nostradamus

5 Responses to “Bruce Bueno de Mesquita”

  1. 1 Abhay
    August 18, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    really interesting guy

  2. 3 Desi Escobedo
    August 31, 2009 at 5:48 am

    I agree with you, Siddharth. The guy is fascinating, and I am equally fascinated in Game Theory now. I’d like to see how it can be applied to all kinds of different problems besides business and politics. City planning, education, careers, etc.. Thanks again for this page.

  3. 5 John
    April 24, 2010 at 6:34 am

    Siddharth Shah:

    1. Bueo de Mesquita is not a game theorist. He is a political scientist.
    2. You have to be very careful with the accuracy of his predictions.
    3. See http://decision-making.moshe-online.com/criticism_of_bueno_de_mesquita.html for a critique of his work.

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