Q & A with a SciCast Topic Leader, Andrea Castillo
Q: How did you get involved as a SciCast Topic Leader?
A: I got involved with SciCast after some of my colleagues at George Mason University contacted me and my other colleagues at the Mercatus Center to help them brainstorm some interesting Bitcoin questions for the prediction market. Since we at Mercatus have been doing Bitcoin research for about a year now, and are big fans of prediction markets, we were happy to provide our input. After hearing a presentation by Dan and Anamaria, I volunteered to serve as the Topic Leader for the newly-created "Cryptocurrency" topic.
Q: What does that entail?
A: I dedicate around 1-2 hours every other day to creating, inputting, and formatting questions. I have a long list of questions that I developed with my Mercatus Center colleagues that I am constantly updating - the Bitcoin world moves fast! I also check in with SciCast editors to ensure that the questions are clear and structured correctly. It takes more careful thought than you might expect, but it's well worth it.
Q: What do you find most interesting about SciCast?
A: I really love the idea of prediction markets and enjoy seeing what kinds of information on which participants are willing to "bet" with their SciCast points. I hope that the SciCast experiment can provide enough evidence of the social benefits of community prediction markets so that we can eventually extend their use to more areas so that we can access better information.
Q: When you're not helping us manage our forecast question lifecycle, what do you do with your time?
A: I work as a research associate at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. I focus on a range of economic policies: including budget and fiscal policy, specific spending programs like the Ex-Im Bank and various social safety net policies, and of course: Bitcoin! I am a part time PhD student at George Mason and when I get some free time, I write a column for an online magazine started by some of my friends, The Umlaut. When all of that is done, I like to spend some quality time with my boyfriend and my little pug puppy, Fritz.
Q: Anything you'd like to add?
A: Keep on betting, predictors! Talk is cheap, but SciCast lets you put your points where your mouth is :)