The TIA’s FutureMap project Web site has a bit more about the futures of terrorism project:

FutureMAP will concentrate on market-based techniques for avoiding surprise and predicting future events. Strategic decisions depend upon the accurate assessment of the likelihood of future events. This analysis often requires independent contributions by experts in a wide variety of fields, with the resulting difficulty of combining the various opinions into one assessment. Market-based techniques provide a tool for producing these assessments.

The graphic about the program is also worth the cost of admission.

One interesting detail is that it seems that the market was only going to be open to knowledgeable insiders– “commercial, academic, and government performer,” as the site puts it– and wasn’t going to be “effectively
an Internet casino,” as Sen. Byron Dorgan called it. It sounds more like a social technology for collecting and distributing information within groups– and in fact, this is one of the virtues that supporters claim for these markets. As one Iowa researcher put it (quoted in Technology Review),

There are political ramifications inside a firm that keep information from flowing People in an organization have informationlike the faulty O-rings for the Space Shuttle Challengerthat never makes it to the top. A market is, in a sense, more democratic. You vote with the strength of your belief in your trade.