News stories we can’t trust – indeed, a majority of Trump voters now say the news media is America’s greatest threat. Neighborhoods, churches, even families torn apart by polarization and conspiracy beliefs. Democrats and Republicans are wildly wrong in their assessments of their political opponents’ beliefs.


The result? An inability to solve even "normal" problems like fixing that crumbling bridge the school bus drives over every day, let alone big problems like preventing the U.S. from defaulting on its debt and shutting down its federal government.




According to U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, social media poses a "risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents. Social media use by young people is nearly universal, with up to 95% of young people ages 13-17 reporting using a social media platform and more than a third saying they use social media “almost constantly.”


Also, an alarming increase in loneliness among in the U.S. Loneliness in turn leads to increased vulnerability to social media's hate/fear conspiracy communities. Once someone is lured into a hate/fear community, “… you can’t fact-check, plead, or argue a person out of a conspiracy, because you’re trying to fact-check, plead, and argue them out of their community.”



Our approach


Research led by Wharton Professors Barbara Mellers and Philip Tetlock revealed that within one year or less, by forecasting on noncontroversial topics, colleg students tended to moderate their unrelated social and political beliefs. More recent research including Mellers and Tetlock, and led by Christopher Karvetski and Carolyn Meinel, revealed better ways to determine accuracy of a crowdsourced forecast by using AI to evaluate their explanations of their forecasts.


Additionally, research activities in Good Judgment Open, Good Judgment 2.0, the superforecaster team with Good Judgment, Inc., and INFER have revealed that forecasting participants also build new friendships and communities as a side effect of working together on forecasting problems.


A crucial factor apears to be primarily forecasting on topics that have not been staked out by disinformation or political activism claims. This avoids getting into arguments on topics that can spark highly emotional effects.


Research shows that the people most able to rescue victims of today's hate/fear complex are their real world (not online!) friends and family. BestWorld is being designed to enable our participants to cultivate real world friendships and work together to build better lives for themselves along with developing ways to encourage friends and family to escape these hate/fear communities.


.We believe that this must be done in a transparent manner. Participants must be advised that participation may cause them to see other people in a more understanding and kind manner, and almost certainly improve their abilities to foresee the future. We also will advise them that by signing up, they are agreeing to us using whatever they post to our site for scientific research.


Based upon the ten years so far of our team members' research, we plan to constantly improve and scale up BestWord's social media/news/forecasting collaborative system. As an example, see our most recent research results, featuring BestWorld founders Carolyn Meinel and Maxwell, "What do forecasting rationales reveal about thinking patterns..." has been published in the International Journal of Forecasting


Our collaborative Natural Language/AI/human forecasting system typically results in successful predictions about 80% of the time. Our human forecasters tell us what news sources and historical facts they are using to discern what the future holds.


Our next step will be to combine forecasts and our participants' rationales to produce a news aggregation system. We believe that associating news sources with successful forecasts will build trust in our news aggregation system. This gets around the problem of fact checking services, which ask the reader to simply trust them. We will make use of current and upcoming automated news aggregation and summarization research at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) along with our current research using leading edge summarization research provided by Agolo.


We also will encourage politeness and remove toxic influences with early warnings by both our users and our AI + natural language processing system (see also this), a team of humans to constantly monior all systems, and our journalism team. We look to the Good Judgment Open platform as a model for how to gently and compassionately moderate our system. Thank you to our friends there! We also are looking to David Brin's briefing to Facebook -- which Facebook requested, but then ignored! -- for ways to gently moderate our participants' posts.


Ultimately we envision something similar to the IEEE, the world’s largest professional society, which in addition to its massive online presence, hosts thousands of local dinner gatherings, and hundreds of conferences. By building in-person relationships, we could further counter the toxic tendencies of today’s news and social media platforms.


About Us --->


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February 21, 2023 Our BestWorld researchers Dawna Coutant and Carolyn Meinel were among the eight forecasters to win INFER's Best of 2022 awards. These were based upon a combination of high forecasting accuracies plus high numbers of upvotes.


INFER, short for INtegrated Forecasting and Estimates of Risk, is a forecasting program designed to generate valuable signals and early warning about the future of critical science and technology trends and high-risk geopolitical events for U.S. Government policymakers. INFER empowers scientists, researchers, analysts, and hobbyists from inside and outside the U.S. Government to have a direct impact on policy and decision-making. The public portion of INFER is one of multiple forecasting sites to be operated as part of this program.


INFER is run by the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS) at the University of Maryland, a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) funded by the Department of Defense, in partnership with Cultivate Labs. Funding for this program has been provided by a grant from Open Philanthropy.


The following was an INFER post on LinkedIn in July of 2023:


How pro forecasters stay encouraged during the highs and lows of forecasting?



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