What questions about the future would influence people’s actions today if they were informed by a prediction market?

post by MathieuRoy · 2019-07-21T05:26:14.082Z · score: 20 (4 votes) · LW · GW · No comments

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I'm looking for questions that would be useful to many individuals and would influence their decisions today (not questions for those working on shaping the long term future of Earth originating life).

I would also like if you specified how those questions might influence people's actions.

There's a couple of questions I would really like to have our current best collective prediction, and I really feel our civilisation is inadequate at providing those.

Edit: side question: where could I post those questions? long term (>5 years) bets need to invested on the stock market, otherwise there's no financial incentives in betting

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answer by MathieuRoy · 2019-07-21T05:37:40.636Z · score: 9 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Last updated: 2019-10-31

Embryo selection

How likely is it that embryo selection (or other technology) will be available to a consumer for less than [price] per expected additional IQ point in the next [number of] years?

Similarly for other reproductive technology and characteristics.

Depending on the probability, one could decide to postpone having children and/or cryopreserve sperm/eggs/embryos.

Related: https://www.gwern.net/Embryo-selection

Immigration

How likely is it that people from country X will still be able to immigrate in country Y by year Z?

Depending on the probability, one could decide to immigrate sooner or later.

Cryonics

How likely is it that Oregon Cryonics will still offer services in 50 years? (conditioning on cryonics still being offered by some organizations)

Depending on the probability, one could decide to move to Salem or otherwise move near another facility (ex.: Phoenix).

Catastrophe risk in a city

How likely is it that San Francisco would receive a nuclear bomb? How likely is it that San Francisco would receive an earthquake of magnitude >X.

Depending on the probability, one could decide not to move to San Francisco.

Global catastrophe

How likely is it that world GDP drops that more than 10x in the next 10 years?

Depending on the probability, one could decide to start prepping.

Employment

How likely is it that there will be demand X for job Y in Z years?

Depending on the probability, one could chose a different career path.

Memory preservation

How likely is it that Google Photo will still have my pictures in X years?

Depending on the probability, one might do more or less back-ups.

Privacy

How likely is it that service X will leak some of my data by year Y?

Depending on the probability, one might avoid using the service.

Nutrition studies

How likely is it that there will be a good [to operationalize] study showing that creatine supplements have positive effects [to operationalize] in the next 20 years?

Depending on the probability, one might take creatine supplements.

comment by quanticle · 2019-07-21T06:40:35.818Z · score: 1 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Climate

  • What is the probability that the earth's average temperature will rise less than 2°C from 1990s averages?
  • What is the probability of increased droughts/storms/wildfire/etc. in my location?
  • What is the probability of food shortages in my country over the next 10 years?

The answers to these questions would inform whether one takes greater or lesser preparations to deal with a changing climate. If you know climate change will affect the area in which you live, and have a decent prediction for the nature and magnitude of said changes, then you can prepare. As it is, the messaging around climate change is largely, "We know things are going to change! But we don't really know how or when! Be afraid!"

Politics

  • What is the probability of a nuclear exchange within the next 10 years?
  • What is the probability that the US will activate selective service for an armed conflict in the next 10 years?
  • What is the probability of <regulation X> affecting <industry Y> in the next 10 years?

Even a limited nuclear exchange would have widespread economic and social consequences. If there's a high probability of such in the near future, it might be a sign to move one's assets into more liquid forms. Selective service is a US-specific question, but, depending on how fiercely one opposes forced military service, it might be useful to know if there was a decent chance of getting drafted to fight in an armed conflict.

AI

  • What is the probability of a human level AI developing within the next 10 years?
  • What is the probability that a human-level AI will be able to recursively self-improve without outside assistance?
  • What is the probability of a whole-brain emulation within the next 10 years?
  • What is the probability that, if a recursively improving human-level AI is developed in the next 10 years, the AI is friendly?

The AI questions will inform one's views on giving to AI friendliness organizations and one's viewpoints regarding the probability and time until a singularity occurring.

comment by Eark · 2019-07-22T16:35:49.548Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This may be of interest WRT climate: https://voxeu.org/article/market-betting-climate-change

comment by Liam Donovan (liam-donovan) · 2019-07-21T08:53:28.494Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Some of these questions seem impossible to operationalize in a prediction market. For instance, if I bet that a recursively self-improving unfriendly AI will be developed in the next 10 years, and I'm right, how am I going to collect my money?

comment by Gurkenglas · 2019-07-21T10:13:14.362Z · score: 0 (8 votes) · LW · GW

You bet on this by taking out a loan.

comment by Liam Donovan (liam-donovan) · 2019-07-21T21:13:07.821Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Even if you tried to design a prediction market around this mechanism, all it would tell you is the expected value of a promise to pay $x, n years from now. This would be affected by arbitrarily many factors, so you couldn't infer the probability of a specific catastrophe like UFAI development.

comment by Ramiro P. (ramiro-p) · 2019-07-21T17:41:43.389Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, but the point is: how do you aggregate this in a prediction market? You have no incentive to bet on Earth's doom

comment by MathieuRoy · 2019-07-22T02:00:57.899Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Re Climate

Oh yeah, I also wanted to have more questions that would inform me on the extent to which I should be prepping. Thanks for bringing it up, I'll add it.

Re Politics

And I also wanted to know the probability that San Francisco would receive a nuclear bomb or a earthquake of magnitude >X to inform me on whether I should avoid moving there.

it might be a sign to move one's assets into more liquid forms

Although by the time the prediction market tells you that, a lot of money will already have moved to liquid form, and so your assets will already have lost a lot of value.

Re AI

As for AI, putting aside the issue of operationalizing them in a prediction market, how would people change their behavior based on them? I guess by being more careful about their health and security if it seemed aligned AI was around the corner (and less careful if it seemed extinction was). Also change career plans.

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