The Crystal Ball — 3 Keys to Geopolitical Forecasting

Wes O'Donnell
7 min readJun 21, 2024

Stop guessing. Start forecasting.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

How likely is it that humanity will go extinct by 2100?

Which is more dangerous, AI or nuclear war?

How successful will we be at developing alternative clean energy sources?

Will we be able to control future pandemics?

Serious intel forecasters are right more often than they’re wrong.

When cataloging my articles on international relations from 2015, it’s satisfying to find that I’ve been right on nearly 80% of my predictions.

So, how much is attributable to my government background? What about luck? Am I just a vociferous news junkie? Do I have a “man on the inside” feeding me top-secret intel? Do I just read a lot of books and therefore know a bunch of random stuff?

Here’s the secret to predicting the future:

There is no magic crystal ball or obscure divination required. And no, I no longer have access to classified intelligence — although I do read a lot of books.

Good Judgement super-forecasters were over 30% more accurate than US government intelligence analysts with access to classified information.



Wes O'Donnell

US Army & US Air Force Veteran | Global Security guy at War is Boring, GEN, OneZero | Intel Forecaster | Law Student | TEDx Speaker | +Democracy | +Human Rights