2020's Prediction Thread

post by bgold · 2019-12-30T23:18:46.991Z · score: 50 (18 votes) · LW · GW · 78 comments

Inspired by the 2010 prediction thread, [LW · GW]I would like to propose this as a thread for people to write in their predictions for the next decade, when practical with probabilities attached.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by bgold · 2019-12-30T23:20:59.297Z · score: 16 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd also encourage you to link your predictions to Foretold/Metaculus/other prediction aggregator questions, though only if you write your prediction in the thread as well to prevent link rot.

comment by jacobjacob · 2019-12-31T07:39:06.415Z · score: 11 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

As a Schelling point, you can use this Foretold community which I made specifically for this thread.

comment by Matthew Barnett (matthew-barnett) · 2019-12-31T05:20:47.120Z · score: 15 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Here are some of mine. These are very rough and I could probably be persuaded on many of them to move them significantly in some direction.

By 2030 (and after January 1st, 2020),

No high-level AGI, defined as a single system that can perform nearly every economically valuable task more cheaply than a human, will have been created. 94%

No robot hand will be able to manipulate a Rubik's cube as well as a top human. 80%

No state will secede from the US. 95%

No language model will write a book without substantial aid, that ends up on the New York Times bestseller list. 97%

No pandemic will kill >50 million people. 93%

Neither Puerto Rico or DC will be recognized as states. 80%

Tradititional religion will continue to decline in the West, as measured by surveys that track engagement. 85%

Bryan Caplan will lose a bet. 75%

No US President will utter the words "Existential risk" in public during their term as president. 65%

No human will have stepped foot on Mars. 50%

At least one company sells nearly fully autonomous cars, defined as cars that can autonomously perform nearly all tasks that normal drivers accomplish. 80%

Robin Hanson will disagree with the statement, "The rate of automation increased substantially during the 2020s, compared to prior decades." 85%

Experts will recognize that top computers can reliably beat humans at narrow language benchmarks, such as those on https://super.gluebenchmark.com/. 90%

Kurzweil will lose his bet on Longbets (http://longbets.org/1/). 55%

There will be no convincing evidence of contact from extraterrestrials. 99%

Jeff Bezos will be unseated as the richest person in the world. 70%

Robust mouse rejuvenation, defined as a mouse being rejuvenated so that it lives 2500 days, will not have been demonstrated. 85%

If a survey is performed, most people in the United States will say that curing aging is undesirable. 85%

There will be another economic recession in the United States. 70%

World GDP will be higher than it was in 2019. 97%

No one will have won a Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on string theory. 80%

No war larger than the Syrian Civil War by death count, according to a reputable organization, will have occurred. 65%

Donald Trump will not be convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors in his first term as president. 95%

Donald Trump will serve his entire first term as president. 92%

Donald Trump will win re-election. 55%

Roe v Wade will not be overturned. 70%

No proof that P = NP. 98%

No proof that P != NP. 90%

comment by orthonormal · 2019-12-31T20:21:17.667Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The Rubik's Cube one strikes me as much more feasible than the other AI predictions. Look at the dexterity improvements of Boston Dynamics over the last decade and apply that to the current robotic hands, and I think there's a better than 70% chance you get a Rubik's Cube-spinning, chopsticks-using robotic hand by 2030.

comment by Matthew Barnett (matthew-barnett) · 2019-12-31T21:30:39.724Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

To help calibrate, watch this video.

comment by ataftoti · 2020-01-03T11:10:54.579Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This video didn't shift my priors that much. The impressive thing in the video is speed and precision, which is trivial for machines, let alone AI. Speed and precision is already there, it just needs to be hooked on to some qualitative breakthrough in application.

comment by Matthew Barnett (matthew-barnett) · 2020-01-03T19:05:40.896Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm willing to bet on this prediction.

comment by Bucky · 2020-01-08T12:14:47.738Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

How are you defining “hand”?

Obviously this beats humans for speed but I guess you’re thinking of something which is general purpose and Rubik’s cube is just a test of dexterity?

comment by Matthew Barnett (matthew-barnett) · 2020-01-11T01:55:24.796Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

By hand I mean anything that closely resembles a human hand.

comment by Matthew Barnett (matthew-barnett) · 2019-12-31T20:52:25.275Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

My main data point is that I'm not very impressed by OpenAI's robot hand. It is very impressive relative to what we had 10 years ago, but top humans are extremely adept at manipulating things in their hands.

comment by emanuele ascani (emanuele-ascani) · 2020-01-03T11:09:02.561Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Regarding "If a survey is performed, most people in the United States will say that curing aging is undesirable. 85%". One similar survey has already been done. The result depends if you specify that an unlimited lifespan would be in health and not in increasing frailty. If you do, > 40% of respondents opt for unlimited lifespan, otherwise 1%. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fgene.2015.00353/full

comment by Oskar Mathiasen (oskar-mathiasen) · 2020-01-01T22:35:42.388Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You predict that it is more likely to have an ai which " that can perform nearly every economically valuable task more cheaply than a human, will have been created " than "will write a book without substantial aid, that ends up on the New York Times bestseller list. "

This seems weird as the first seems very likely to cause the second.

comment by Matthew Barnett (matthew-barnett) · 2020-01-02T02:22:23.423Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A language model making it onto the NYT's bestseller list seems like a very specific thing. High level machine intelligence is not.

comment by [deleted] · 2019-12-31T09:55:41.291Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
No AGI, defined as a single system that can perform nearly every economically valuable task more cheaply than a human, will have been created. 94%

Well, even people working on AGI don’t think that is a possibility. I think the word you are looking for is “superintelligence” not AGI.

comment by Matthew Barnett (matthew-barnett) · 2019-12-31T20:54:25.418Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm using a slighly modified definition given by Grace et al. for high level machine intelligence.

comment by [deleted] · 2020-01-01T00:07:16.555Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, superintelligence. I would suggest editing your prediction to say so. They’re not synonymous terms. In fact it is the full expectation that AGI in many architectures would be less efficient without extensive training. AGI is a statement of capability—it can, in principle, solve any problem, not that it does so better than humans.

comment by Matthew Barnett (matthew-barnett) · 2020-01-01T02:50:30.802Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If AGI just means, "can, in principle, solve any problem" then I think we could already build very very slow AGI right now (at least for all well-defined solutions -- you just perform a search over candidate solutions).

Plus, I don't think my definition matches the definition given by Bostrom.

By a "superintelligence" we mean an intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills.

ETA: I edited the original post to be more specific.

comment by [deleted] · 2020-01-01T02:59:09.595Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Your prediction reads the same as this definition AFAICT, if you substitute “nearly every” for “practically every”, etc.

I think this is an instance of The Illusory Transparency of Words. What you wrote in the prediction probably doesn’t have the interpretation you meant.

We don’t have AGI now because there is a lot hiding behind “at least for all well-defined solutions.” Therein lies the magic.

comment by maia · 2019-12-31T08:33:25.854Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
At least one company sells fully autonomous cars, defined as cars that can autonomously perform nearly all tasks that normal drivers accomplish. 80%

There are some unspecified parameters here. Do you mean autonomous cars that are ...

  • region-locked, or able to drive anywhere?
  • able to drive in all weather conditions, or limited to only some?
comment by Matthew Barnett (matthew-barnett) · 2019-12-31T08:50:46.121Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think, able to drive on any road that Google Maps has access to, and able to drive in all "normal" weather conditions (some snow, medium amounts of rain). I'm not confident on this, though, and I imagine that it might be a while (>10 years) before autonomous vehicles are truly autonomous (that is, they can drive in any condition that a human would be able to in any context).

comment by maia · 2020-01-04T06:08:11.176Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Any road that Google Maps has access to" is a high bar when you consider that that includes the roads in many countries with wildly different driver and pedestrian dynamics than the United States.

comment by andavargas · 2020-01-12T18:34:30.052Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No language model will write a book without substantial aid, that ends up on the New York Times bestseller list. 97%

“Essays from the Noosphere: Twelve Artificial Intelligences Reflect on Life, the Universe, and Everything”

This seems to ignore the quite plausible scenario where an AI-written book finds itself a Schelling point for folks who use their bookshelf as a signaling mechanism. Being 100% AI and 0% human would be a boon in that scenario even if the book is a little rough around the edges.

comment by Matthew Barnett (matthew-barnett) · 2020-01-12T18:56:53.958Z · score: 1 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's a good point, but it doesn't reduce my credence much. Perhaps 94% or 95% is more appropriate? I'd be willing to bet on this.

comment by andavargas · 2020-01-12T19:20:56.409Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think you might have an inflated sense of how hard it is to get on the NYT bestseller list. Just go a little bit viral for one week and you’re done. https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/9/13/16257084/bestseller-lists-explained

comment by NunoSempere (Radamantis) · 2020-01-01T15:48:33.380Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
No state will secede from the US. 95%

This seems underconfident?

I have different intuitions for both:

No one will have won a Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on string theory. 80%


No US President will utter the words "Existential risk" in public during their term as president. 65%

But this is such that I'd expect that looking into either for a couple of hours would change my mind. For the second one, the Google ngram page for existential risk is interesting, but it sadly only reaches up to the year 2008.

comment by Vaniver · 2019-12-31T00:59:19.902Z · score: 10 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sorted approximately by strength:

The UK will leave the European Union. (95%)

Industrial / financial consolidation will continue instead of reversing, and the 'superstar cities' phenomenon will be stronger in 2030 than 2020. (90%)

The 'higher education bubble' will burst. (80%) This feels mostly like a "you'll know it when you see it" thing, but clear evidence would be a substantial decrease in the fraction of Americans going to college, or a significant decline in the wage premium for "any college diploma" over a high school diploma (while perhaps some diplomas will retain significant wage premiums). [Edit 2020-1-1: on further reflection I think this is more like 70%.]

No armed conflict between Japan and any of its neighbors. (70%)

My favorite movie released between 2020 and 2029 will be animated instead of live-action. (60%)

Queen Elizabeth II will still be alive. (30%) [This requires her to make it to 103; life expectancy for a 93-year old British woman is only 3.64 years, her mother made it to 101, her father to 56, and her sister to 71. It seems unlikely that new medical technology will make a significant difference during that time; basically the only medication I expect to be available in time to do anything useful will be metformin.] 

Emperor Emeritus Akihito will still be alive. (30%) [This requires him to make it to 96; while life expectancy for a 86-year old Japanese man is 6.3 years, he's already abdicated due to poor health.]

comment by orthonormal · 2019-12-31T20:22:41.438Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Re: higher education bubble, do you also predict that tuition increases will not outpace inflation?

comment by Vaniver · 2020-01-01T01:52:11.776Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also, I think the law school bubble burst in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the contraction in law firms, which you can see in student enrollment statistics but not inflation-adjusted tuition

comment by Vaniver · 2019-12-31T22:15:31.566Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Re: higher education bubble, do you also predict that tuition increases will not outpace inflation?

My model doesn't give a detailed answer; I think I expect the number and type of people participating in higher education to change, and then it's unclear what that will do to average tuition. For example, in worlds where all undergraduate education becomes free-to-the-end-user but med school and law school still exist, the tuition statistics become apples to oranges.

comment by orthonormal · 2020-01-01T00:06:05.241Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Okay then, how about higher education as a fraction of GDP?

comment by Vaniver · 2020-01-01T01:34:52.858Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Okay then, how about higher education as a fraction of GDP?

When I tried to calculate the equivalent thing for real estate and GDP for the 2008 financial crisis, as far as I can tell the fraction of GDP provided by real estate went up instead of down. The bubble bursting is clearly visible in the home price index, tho. So if someone creates a 'degree value index', that's where I'd expect to see it; the closest approximations that I'm aware of are the wage premium and underemployment rate (this can point to a few things; I mean the "person with a degree working a job you don't need a degree for" one instead of the "unemployed plus part-time seeking full-time work" one). 

[Also I'm going to ping Bryan Caplan and see if he has a good operationalization.]

comment by Vaniver · 2020-01-01T14:38:06.568Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Bryan bets on the percentage of 18-24 year olds enrolled in 4-year degree-granting institutions (here's 2000-2017 numbers). I'm sort of astounded that anyone would take the other side of the bet as he proposed it (a decline from 30% to 20% over the course of 10 years); in my mind a decline from 30% to 25% would be 'substantial'.

For the more specific version that I have in mind (a 'coming apart' of "bachelor's degrees" and "valuable bachelor's degrees"), I think it has to show up in a change of enrollment statistics split out by major, which might be too hard to operationalize ahead of time.

comment by ozziegooen · 2020-01-02T00:02:11.589Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
  • The market for Certificates of Impact will be smaller than $100K/year in 2030. ~90%.
  • There will be at least 1000 points on Hacker News with "Knowledge Graph" or synonyms in the title. ~60%
  • No [AGI+Superintelligence] ~98%
  • The Economist will be more optimistic in 2030 than it is in Jan 1, 2020.[1] ~80%
  • Judgemental prediction applications will be considered "moderately useful" for EA purposes ~40%
  • There will be at least one US-based prediction market larger than PredictIt is now, in daily traffic. ~50%

I realize these are all super high-level and vague. [1] Due mostly from reversion to the mean. Things seem particularly bad right now.

comment by Raemon · 2020-01-02T02:40:46.629Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The market for Certificates of Impact will be smaller than $100K/year in 2020

Do you mean 2030?

comment by ozziegooen · 2020-01-02T11:29:42.619Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, thanks for noticing!

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2020-01-08T05:40:13.894Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Would you count Paul's "altruistic equity allocation" as part of an impact certificate market?

comment by ozziegooen · 2020-01-08T11:51:01.012Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sure. I didn't know about this post when I wrote this, but it seems similar enough.

comment by mr-hire · 2020-01-01T22:54:41.844Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I predict that like 2010, a majority of these predictions will be overconfident.

comment by ozziegooen · 2020-01-01T23:43:01.021Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd agree, but to be precise, I think this is not exactly the right measure. What matters is less that the majority are overconfident, but generally rather that their score according to a reasonable scoring function is worse than what they would expect, on average (or weighted according to some factor).

Else, for instance, it's possible that 51% would technically be slightly overconfident, but the rest would be decently underconfident, averaging to proper calibration.

I plan on writing about this more in future posts and similar.

comment by mr-hire · 2020-01-02T05:34:18.111Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree, what matters is calibration and resolution.

If you're talking about an individual s prediction that is, I'm unconvinced that group calibration would be a useful epistemic yardstick in this instance.

comment by mr-hire · 2020-01-03T02:02:10.366Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Note also that its' impossible to determine "a majority of predictions to be oveconfident" as a literal statement. A prediction is only right or wrong, overconfidence can only be looked at in terms of the aggregate (which is what I meant in the original post).

comment by NunoSempere (Radamantis) · 2019-12-31T14:32:01.397Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is anyone accepting bets on their predictions?

comment by Matthew Barnett (matthew-barnett) · 2019-12-31T21:14:33.231Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I will probably accept bets, although the fact that someone would be willing to bet me on some of mine is evidence that I'm overconfident, so I might re-evaluate my probability if someone offers.

comment by Liam Donovan (liam-donovan) · 2020-01-01T05:32:45.183Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

FWIW you can bet on some of these on PredictIt -- for example, Predictit assigns only a 47% chance Trump will win in 2020. That's not a huge difference, but still worth betting 5% of your bankroll (after fees) on if you bet half-Kelly. (if you want to bet with me for whatever reason, I'd also be willing to bet up to $700 that Trump doesn't win at PredictIt odds if I don't have to tie up capital)

comment by Self-Embedded Agent · 2020-01-14T04:53:04.200Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Usual disclaimers apply: probabilities are not exact betting odds, I try to give quantitive assessments wherever I can but many predictions are too vague to quantify etc. If I am still alive in 2030 I will try to give my subjective assessment to what degree I agree with the predictions.

1. a China will become #1 economy in the coming decade, but will experience continued economic slowdown.

2. Taiwan put under siege by China (i) economically 80% (ii) militarily 50%
conditional on (ii) the US will back down 90%
conditional on the US not backing down this will lead to a nuclear exchange between US and China 10%

3. A missile/drone strike on an aircraft Carrier, crippling the ship 4%

4. India will commit what will later be regarded by a significant fraction of Western observers as genocide in Kashmir 10 % (low confidence)

5. Economic slowdown in the West (GDP/capita growth for 2020-2030 lower than 2010-2020) 70% - a plausible story is an aging population
6. Nuclear strike anywhere in the world 5%
7. a Continuing secularisation in the Middle-East 75%
b continuing secularisation in the West 85%
8.a Subsaharan Africa continues making little gdp /capita gains 70%.
b Population will continue to boom. Fertility will fall modestly 70%
c Immigration streams to the West from 3rd World countries, particularly Africa will increase 70%

9. Smoking/drinking will continue to fall worldwide, party drugs (MDMA etc) will become much more widespread 70% & 70%
10. No economic Recession comparable with the 2008 Great Recession 85%

Politics & Culture Wars
1. Revolution in Energy will increasingly make present discussion around climate change irrelevant

2. a Trump does not win reelection 70%
b conditional on Biden winning the primary, no crazy things (i.e. somebody dieing) Biden wins 85 %

3.a Conditional on it happening, Brexit impact on UK/England GDP per capita long-term will be negligible (< 2% of GDP counterfactually)

b conditional on (a), there will still be a significant fraction of people who honestly think that Brexit was a disaster. Most people
4. Higher education bubble in US will subside (echoing Vaniver, hard to make it more concrete, more know it when you see it)

5.a Traditional media will continue to fall into irrelevance, concentrate in a few major firms. Later into the decade I expect the decline to halt, traditional media taking a specialized role for particularly high authority/ high importance news. I model this as similar to Radio still having specialized uses.
b (some) Youtube& Instagram stars will attain widespread fame and recognition in a much broader context as the Millenial generation moves towards middle age. But I do not expect them to displace current celebrity elite based on tv&movie stars, musicians, sports heroes, etc.
c followup on b), the fragmentation of assigned status will continue in the West [but not necessarily globally, as globalization homogenizes cultures].
6. What will happen with the Culture Wars? This is very hard to predict. Will the apparent trend of increased polarisation continue, or will the opposite occur?
- Straight Woke memes will become less cool with the incoming generation of young people, mostly because whatever your parents do isn't cool. But the ideas of social justice will continue their expanse, particularly in the Middle east, South America, South-east Asia & India: social justice memes are fundamentally fit in a world of increasing wealth & communication. Another fundamental force is the continuing expanse of English: new media like youtube, continuing globalization etc have given renewed impetus all over the world to learning English. Of course these movements generate their own antitheses; it seems like historically many conflicts arise from a modernizing center versus a lagging periphery.
China & East Europe seem more like a wild card here: eastern Europe seems to have strong explicitly anti- Social justice political movements while China is a surveillance state with very strong hard-Nationalistic rightwing sentiments under the population.
- Trans-rights increasingly accepted
- Alt-Right ideas increasingly normalized (Likely) - It seems that moderate right wing parties are losing hearts and minds against more radical alternatives.
- Identity politics/ voting along identity continues in strength (Likely)
- increase popularity national unity/ decreased polarisation candidates in US. After Trump I expect a backlash towards more moderate, unifying candidates.
- Right-wing populist parties in Western Europe continue to grow, will remain mostly out of governments.
but at least one right-wing populist party will be in government in a Western European country that is not Italy

1.a More babies born with edits for medical reasons 85%
b more babies born with edits for non-medical reasons 70%
c babies born with explicitly IQ edits 60%
d CRISPR or CRISPR like techniques cure >5 genetic disease 70%
2. a Discovery cure for (1) large fraction of obesity (2) large fraction of heart disease (3) Male Pattern baldness (4) Dandruff 10/10/20/20

b Conditional on a) this cure is available on the market 30%
c conditional on a) this cure works by defeating some sort of germ/biological agent 20%/30%/80%/80%
3. Note: by mini-drone I mean a small drone that one would buy in the store, not the unmanned aerial vehicles and its siblings that the US military employs.
a) mini-Drone attacck will kill major Political Figure 85%
b) mini-Drone/drone bombs will be used in major terrorist attack killing many civilians 85%
c) conditional on a or b, massive fear around drone warfare
d) UAVs will become more and more dominant.
e) Something I am not sure about: will thee US military start phasing out fighter aircraft for automated vehicles or is this perhaps one of those jobs that is very hard to automate?
4. Crazy person kills AI researcher because of vaguely AI risk type concerns 80%
5. Top ranked Starcraft Broodwar player trounced by AI by 2025 (70%) by 2030 (85%)
6.a SpaceX sends that Japanese Billionaire around the moon 55%,
b conditional on a launch, it goes wrong 10%
c SpaceX will land unmanned probe on mars by 2030 85%
d SpaceX will land a human on Mars by 2030 60%
e SpaceX will become wildly successful and highly valuable with Starlink technology 60%

f Tesla will be the largest automotive company by market cap at least once 70% [this is the only prediction that I can actually bet on, but I do not own Tesla stocks... you decide what that means]
7. Self-driving cars will finally become a practical reality -?? very uncertain, I have very little knowledge about this, I see convincing arguments for both sides. Certainly it seems that self-driving cars in some capacity - perhaps trucks driving pre-determined routes- will become a reality, but I remain uncertain. I predict I will update strongly one way or another on learning more about this subject.
8. Exoplanet that is an almost copy of earth discovered (i.e. habitable zone, water, same size etc)- Likely too vague to give quantitative estimate.
9.a) An AI will compose a hit song without significant assistance. (80%)
b) AI-assistance in arts/creative professions such as writing (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, journalism), music, as well as in daily life will be widespread.

10. DeepFakes will be huge.
a) porn with DeepFakes will start seriously competing with real life performers
b) remix art with deepfakes; i.e. reshooting the (dissapointing) ending of popular tv dramas, completely redoing old films, etc etc.
c) value of videoevidence will be much less persuasive. This will have massive implications for court proceedings.

11. AI Autumn - the spectular developments we have seen recently with deep learning and related methods are unlikely to be equalled in the coming decades [just a regression to the mean argument here + there was somewhat of a compute overhang that is unlikely to be repeated] but the space of things to try seems quite large + the field is well-funded and attracting a lot of talent.

12. No Superintelligence by 2030; pretty clear. 95% Mostly a prior on complexity, reaction against hype etc.
13. a Satoshi Nakomoto (briefly) richest person in history 30%
14. >80% of cars on the road in US will be electric 80%
15. Working anti-aging intervention for mice 20% , working anti-aging for humans 10%, on the market 5%.
16.a VR entertainment will be the majority of the game market in terms of revenue - 70%
b VR entertainment will be a decided minority in terms of time spent playing. - 70%.
c VR porn will become a thing. Easy prediction here.
17. Military-grade lasers will evolve from mostly testing prototypes to usable weapons - somewhat likely

1. In general, Rationalist memes will become much more mainstream

a) Existential risk, in particular AI x-risk will be regularly mentioned by mainstream media- Likely
b) AI safety more generally will be a topic that commands at least 10% of the attention that global warming does - Likely

c) increased acceptance of cryonics & assisted suicide -Likely
d) HPMOR and the associated rationalist memeplex will be atleast well-known enough to need little explanation in high-brow circles.

22.a) AI Safety will be a respected academic discipline 90%

b) MIRI-style research will be a decided minority within this discipline 80%

c) MIRI will not continue their nondisclosure policy in the present form 70%

23. Effective Altruism mainstreamed significantly - 85%
Miscellaneous & Personal 1. I will become a parent 50 %
2. I change my specialization significantly 40% [It shocks me how high this is if I apply the outside view... generally applying outside view to oneself is distressing...]
3. I will die 1.28 %
4.a) Proof-assistants will be part of undergraduate math curriculum - not sure about this one; it is being done right now in an undergraduate program in London, and it seems to make sense. The undergrad math curriculum is already pretty full as is. Somewhat likely.
b) (Homotopy) Type theory will be offered as a regular module in good European Mathematics/Compsci Bachelor or Master's programs Likely

5. Programming will be offered as a serious stand-alone course at my high school. 65%
6. Significant developments in understanding agents based on Compositionality- somewhat likely

comment by Tripitaka · 2020-08-28T13:16:44.444Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Re: cure for dandruff, do you consider this adequate? https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/pRibkeqBa2AxrpgT6/living-in-an-inadequate-world [LW · GW]

comment by Self-Embedded Agent · 2020-09-01T07:10:03.265Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Good point..! I also recently came upon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIe2oerd25c

I thought I remebered that some of the mechanisms were unknown.

comment by Rafael Harth (sil-ver) · 2019-12-31T07:59:42.459Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Using a reasonable calibration method*, the set of predictions made in this thread will receive a better score than the set of those in the previous thread from 10 years ago (80%)

Nonetheless, lowering each confidence stated by a relative 10% (i.e. 70% to 63% etc.) will yield better total calibration (60%)

I don't know the math for this, but I'm assuming there is one that inputs a set of predictions and their truth values and outputs some number, such that the number measures calibration and doesn't predictably increase or decrease with more predictions.

I believe that the second one can technically lead to a paradox, but it's highly unlikely for that to occur.

comment by gjm · 2020-01-01T03:23:06.342Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think you want to lower all predictions uniformly; some predictions here are stated with figures below 50%, for instance.

One better approach might be to reduce the log odds by some factor. If we pick 10% then we get substantially smaller changes than your proposal gives; maybe reduce the log odds by 25%? So if someone thinks X is 70% likely, that's 7:3 odds; we'd reduce that to (7:3)^0.75 which is the equivalent of a probability of about 65.4%. If they think X is 90% likely it would become 83.9%; if they think X is 50% likely, that wouldn't change at all.

(Arguably simpler but seems less natural to me: reduce proportionally not the probability but the difference from 50% of the probability. Say we reduce that by 25%; then 70% becomes 50% + 0.75*20% or 65%, quite similar to the fancy log-odds proposal in the previous paragraph. Things diverge more for more extreme probabilities: 90% turns into 50% + 0.75*40% or 80%, and 100% turns into 87.5% where the log-odds reduction leaves it unchanged.)

comment by Rafael Harth (sil-ver) · 2020-01-01T07:59:51.192Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That might or might not be a better proxy for the kind of overconfidence I've been meaning to predict.

The reason why it might not: my formulation relied on the idea that most people will formulate their predictions such that the positive statement corresponds to the smaller subset of positive future space. In that case, even if it's a < 50% prediction, I would still suspect it's overconfident. For example:

6) South Korea and Philippines change alliance from USA to China and support it's 9 dash line claims. Taiwan war with mainland China. 35%

Now I've no idea about the substance matter here, but across all such predictions, I predict that they'll come true less often than the probability indicates. So if we use either of the methods you suggested here, the 35% figure moves upward rather than downward; however I think it should go down.

comment by gjm · 2020-01-01T15:28:58.826Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fair enough! I suspect some low-probability predictions will be of that sort and some of the other, in which case there's no simple way to adjust for overconfidence.

comment by orthonormal · 2019-12-31T21:24:36.387Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

As with last decade, I'm most confident about boring things, though less optimistic than I'd like to be.

Fewer than 1 billion people (combatants + civilians) will die in wars in the 2020s: 95%

The United States of America will still exist under its current Constitution (with or without new Amendments) and with all of its current states (with or without new states) as of 1/1/30: 93%

Fewer than 10 million people (combatants + civilians) will die in wars in the 2020s: 85%

The median rent per unit in the United States will increase faster than inflation in the 2020s: 80%

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact will not go into force by 1/1/30: 75%

Human-driven cars will still be street-legal in all major US cities as of 1/1/30: 75%

As of 1/1/30, customers will not make purchases by giving each merchant full access to a non-transaction-specific numeric string (i.e. credit cards as they are today): 70%

Conditional on Pew Research Center releasing a survey on the topic after 1/1/28, their most recent survey by 1/1/30 will show that 60% or fewer of American adults identify as Christian: 70%

Conditional on Pew Research Center releasing a survey on the topic after 1/1/28, their most recent survey by 1/1/30 will show that 33% or more of American adults identify as religiously unaffiliated: 70%

More than half of American adults will use a Facebook product at least once per day in 2029: 60%

Real-time 24-hour news networks will still exist as of 1/1/30, and will average more than 1 million average daily viewers (in the USA) in 2029: 50%

The largest not-currently-existing US tech company (by market cap as of 1/1/30) will not have its primary HQ in the Bay Area: 35%

A song generated entirely by an AI will make one of the Billboard charts: 25%

California will put a new state constitution to a statewide vote: 10%

comment by Amandango · 2020-09-07T22:02:31.658Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A rough distribution (on a log scale) based on the two points you estimated for wars (95% < 1B people die in wars, 85% < 10M people die in wars) gives a median of ~2,600 people dying. Does that seem right?

comment by orthonormal · 2020-09-08T15:50:18.938Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No. My model is the sum of a bunch of random variables for possible conflicts (these variables are not independent of each other), where there are a few potential global wars that would cause millions or billions of deaths, and lots and lots of tiny wars each of which would add a few thousand deaths.

This model predicts a background rate of the sum of the smaller ones, and large spikes to the rate whenever a larger conflict happens. Accordingly, over the last three decades (with the tragic exception of the Rwandan genocide) total war deaths per year (combatants + civilians) have been between 18k and 132k (wow, the Syrian Civil War has been way worse than the Iraq War, I didn't realize that).

So my median is something like 1M people dying over the decade, because I view a major conflict as under 50% likely, and we could easily have a decade as peaceful (no, really) as the 2000s.

comment by Amandango · 2020-09-08T17:09:10.458Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah this seems pretty reasonable. It's actually stark looking at the Our World in Data – that seems really high per year. Do you have your model somewhere? I'd be interested to see it.

comment by orthonormal · 2020-09-09T00:42:35.134Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's not explicit. Like I said, the terms are highly dependent in reality, but for intuition you can think of a series of variables  for  from  to , where  equals  with probability . And think of  as pretty large.

So most of the time, the sum of these is dominated by a lot of terms with small contributions. But every now and then, a big one hits and there's a huge spike.

(I haven't thought very much about what functions of  and  I'd actually use if I were making a principled model;  and  are just there for illustrative purposes, such that the sum is expected to have many small terms most of the time and some very large terms occasionally.)

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2020-01-01T09:19:17.407Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

As of 1/1/30, customers will not make purchases by giving each merchant full access to a non-transaction-specific numeric string (i.e. credit cards as they are today): 70%

This seems like the kind of bold prediction which failed last time around. Maybe you can make it more specific and say what fraction of online transactions will be processed using something which looks unlike the current credit card setup?

comment by [deleted] · 2020-01-01T11:40:40.607Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And then have it immediately satisfied by cash transactions!

I think you’d have to either predict reductions in credit card usage specifically, or get into a little bit more detail about what sort of transaction setup we are talking about.

For example, I could see the spirit of (my interpretation of) this prediction being met by something like the new NFC payment mechanisms which generate one-time use credit card numbers for each transaction. Why pointlessly break compatibility with the legacy system?

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2020-01-01T23:38:25.093Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I guess Paypal, Amazon Pay, etc. could also qualify--they allow me to make purchases without giving a merchant access to my credit card number.

comment by orthonormal · 2020-01-01T04:08:13.943Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dammit, dammit, dammit, I meant to condition these all on no human extinction and no superintelligence. Commenting rather than editing because I forget if the time of an edit is visible, and I want it to be clear I didn't update this based on information from the 2020s.

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2020-01-01T04:15:27.475Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Times of edits are not currently visible, though we do store all the necessary information, so if anyone ever wants to know whether a comment has been edited, an admin can look it up.

comment by jmh · 2020-01-01T15:57:23.581Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
As of 1/1/30, customers will not make purchases by giving each merchant full access to a non-transaction-specific numeric string (i.e. credit cards as they are today): 70%

That certainly seems a very reasonable prediction, and perhaps too conservative. In many ways one might say that current chip based card transactions (which would also include all the mobile payments like Apple/Samsung/Google pay) have already departed that non-transaction-specific model. Similarly, for online purchases that use token technologies these are often linked to the specific merchant.

However, there might be two ways to interpret that predictions. 1) the payment mechanisms used for non-cash transactions will move towards transaction specific identifiers and cash will not be used or used significantly less than today or 2) we might see some form of transaction specific "money" (block-chain currencies seem to fit but I don't think they are the future) and more transactions are conducted as "cash" rather than using these payment card mechanisms.

comment by orthonormal · 2020-01-01T18:26:54.670Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Either (1) or (2) (and some other possibilities) would satisfy my prediction. My prediction is just that, however we do things in 2029, it won't be by handing each merchant the keys to our entire credit account.

comment by Teerth Aloke · 2019-12-31T10:58:34.373Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The human population will be more than 8 billion, and the population of India will reach 1.5 billion. 90%

India's GDP would rise up to 5 trillion dollars. 70%

India will cease to be a secular state, and communal violence will become more common. 50%

Russia's GDP will be less than 2 trillion dollars. 60%

No human being would be living on another celestial object (Moon, another planet or asteroid). 80%

USA would have less than 1000 troops in Afghanistan. 80%

A new civil war or high-level insurgency will break out in Syria. 50%

Israel would not have vacated West Bank. 80%

There will be 3000+ active nuclear warheads. 90%

Average predicted year of arrival of AGI will be revised by +10 years at-least. 40%

At least 1 more genetically modified human will be born. 100%

comment by Amandango · 2020-09-07T21:30:25.613Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I noticed that your prediction and jmh's prediction are almost the exact opposite:

  • Teerth: 80%: No human being would be living on another celestial object (Moon, another planet or asteroid) (by 2030)
  • jmh: 90%: Humans living on the moon (by 2030)

(I plotted this here to show the difference, although this makes the assumption that you think the probability is ~uniformly distributed from 2030 – 2100). Curious why you think these differ so much? Especially jmh, since 90% by 2030 is more surprising - the Metaculus prediction for when the next human being will walk on the moon has a median of 2031.

comment by Teerth Aloke · 2020-09-09T03:05:51.169Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Difference in intuition. Otherwise, I think that there will be no state-sponsored space colonization program- and there will be no incentive for any private organization to establish a colony - given the price of sending and sustaining.

comment by digital_carver · 2020-01-24T11:17:26.208Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

India will cease to be a secular state

Do you mean formally (as in changing the wording in constitution, etc.), or by some particular pragmatic measure? I can understand where it's coming from and vaguely even agree, but I'm curious if you have any measurable indicators for this in mind.

and communal violence will become more common.

Care to put any numbers on this, for eg. number of communal incidents in a year or whatever similar measure is available?

comment by Teerth Aloke · 2020-09-09T03:06:47.398Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think that the Constitution of India might be modified to declare it a 'Hindu nation'

comment by digital_carver · 2020-01-24T11:06:20.593Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
  • Meditation (or, with a small likelihood, some form of it in a different name) will become even more common and widely known. Not (yet) as widely practised as bathing every day, but as widely recommended as flossing is by dentists. (85%)
  • Capital investments in Europe will grow at a faster pace than in the US. In 2019 it seems be in a 1:4 ratio ($34 billion vs $136 billion ), which will have changed to at least 1:3 (70%). (Something similar probably holds in Asia too, but I'm too lazy to look up the numbers, divide up China vs rest of Asia, etc. )
  • Vegetarianism would be more popular. Currently 8% of world population is estimated to be vegetarian (as of 2018), this would increase to at least 20% (artificial meat products, if any, count as vegetarian for this measure). (75%)
comment by Daniel Kokotajlo (daniel-kokotajlo) · 2020-01-06T12:06:15.756Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A few days late, but I finally filled out my big spreadsheet of predictions. Anyone else is welcome to make a new sheet in it and add their own on the same questions!

comment by jmh · 2019-12-31T14:52:21.942Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

1) The global multilateral political and economic institutions fail and relationships return to more bi-lateral and regional based systems largely replaces it. Not that something like the UN disappears only that it merely serves as a location for discussion but not seen (which is clearly is not even now) any type of global government with any authority over the member states. 70%

2) A second global financial crisis of larger scale than 2007-2009 period. 50%

3) North Korea recognized as a nuclear state. (20 - 30%). Resulting in the effective abandonment of the current non-proliferation agreements. (20%). Followed by the complete abandonment of all arms limitation agreements and the development of even more destructive weapons (to counter the growing nuclear threats). (80% -- this is already occurring)

4) A military strike on North Korea or Iran to clearly deter or eliminate the nuclear proliferation. (60%)

5) First global was of the 21st Century (possibly sparked by 4). 40%

6) South Korea and Philippines change alliance from USA to China and support it's 9 dash line claims. Taiwan war with mainland China. 35%

7) Hot, but limited war between China and USA resulting in an internal Civil War in mainland China driven by Muslim revolt in north-western China, Taiwan & Hong Kong and economic interests in southern China. (40%) China then must concede on its 9-dash line claim (50%) and recognize Taiwan's independence (coupled with Taiwan halting any support for revolts in southern mainland China) (25%) to sign peace agreement with USA. (25%). New/stronger economic & political relationships formed with Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, South Korea resulting in significant isolation of China from trade and production relationships with rest of the world. (35%) (End result here is much stronger ASEAN member economies and them becoming the gate keepers as it were to economic relations with the mainland China economy.)

8) EU either falls completed apart as a political union (but remains a close, largely open and free trade union) (40%) or fully integrates into a federation of member states under a common federal government. (35%)

9) Some country severs political ties with communist China due to both its political subterfuge and its economic threats/response and the actions of its citizens residing in other countries (such as Canada or Australia)) who insist on imposing the Chinese view of thing on local populations -- primarily violent reactions by Chinese nationals to legal free speech and criticism of CCP policies. (50%) May result in a domino effect.

10) Humans living on the moon. (90%)

11) Space economy (think resource mining and manufacturing) at or above break even. (70%)

12) First interstellar ship launch to conduct research designed specifically for extra-solar system research. (Voyager doesn't count. 80%)

13) Limited nuclear weapons (tactical) use become normal. (10%)

14) Aliens decide the galaxy has a better use for the space our solar system occupies and builds a super highway though it, destroying all human civilization. (1%)

15) The scientific community finally acknowledges we know very little about how the universe works and that we're better describes as being infants in a crib trying to make sense of the room we're in and barely able to see the larger world outside that room. (1%) (Which is not to say we cannot do lots of very useful things with the limited and incomplete knowledge we have.)

16) Cheap energy is developed and a transition plan for replacing all the existing social and economic structure built around expensive energy implemented leading to a rethink about property rights in many items and how we product and exchange -- and work. (5%) Will lead to greater autarky at smaller levels reducing some of the scarcity driven conflict in the world. (10% -- assuming cheap energy is realized and not stifled/withheld).

17) We move away from an intrusive advertising based payment approach for many of the online services/tools allowing increased protection of privacy and people in general. Advertising might still be better targeted but the repositories of the data change (perhaps become privately/individually held). Perhaps moving from a push type delivery model to that of pull. (15%)

comment by orthonormal · 2019-12-31T20:25:35.045Z · score: 9 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Re (7), there's a laughable amount of conjunction on even the first prediction in the chain.

comment by Bucky · 2020-01-08T21:16:19.824Z · score: 5 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I’m willing to place a large bet on 14 at 1000:1

If we are not destroyed by aliens then you owe me $1,000,000, if we are all destroyed by aliens then I owe you $1,000,000,000.

comment by jmh · 2020-01-10T16:34:50.693Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You don't seem to recognize an attempt at humor. I take it you never read A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

comment by Bucky · 2020-01-10T17:07:37.012Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I recognised the humour and was responding in kind - specifically that if we are destroyed by aliens then I’m unlikely to be in a position to pay you what I owe...

comment by TurnTrout · 2019-12-31T16:39:52.038Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

5's confidence seems a bit high, as does 10.

But several of your predictions seem way too confident, given how specific they are. 6,7,14 in particular. 40% for

  1. Hot, but limited war between China and USA resulting in an internal Civil War in mainland China driven by Muslim revolt in north-western China, Taiwan & Hong Kong and economic interests in southern China

seems wrong due to its burdensome details.

What would 15) mean, exactly?

comment by jmh · 2020-01-01T01:02:58.966Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

15? More humility mostly but should probably have limited that to certain fields, such as cosmology, rather than painting with a really large brush.

As for the assessed probabilities, I can only hope you are correct.

As for the burdensome details, I'm not sure that applies (but thanks for the link and I will read it more fully and reconsider). I have reformatted the item -- whether or not that changes it being a burdensome details error....