New Year's Prediction Thread (2012)

by gwern1 min read1st Jan 2012340 comments


Forecasts (Specific Predictions)
Personal Blog

Going through expiring predictions reminded me. Just as we did for 2010 and 2011, it's time for LessWrong to make its beliefs pay rent and give hostages to fortune in making predictions for events in 2012 and beyond.

Suggested topics include: Methods of Rationality updates (eg. "will there be any?"), economic benchmarks (price of gold has been an educational one for me this past year), medical advances (but be careful not to be too optimistic!), personal precommitments (signing up for cryonics?), being curmudgeonly about self-improvement, making daring predictions about the future of AGI, and so on.

As before, please be fairly specific. I intend to put most predictions on and it'd be nice if they weren't too hard to judge in the future.

(If you want advice on making good predictions, I've tried to write up a few useful heuristics I've learned. So far in the judging process, I've done pretty well this year, although I'm a little annoyed I got a Yemen prediction right but for the wrong reasons.)

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So... how did I do for my 2011 predictions?

The unemployment rate in the United States will continue to be above 8%: 90%

Apparently correct.

"Core inflation" of the U.S. dollar (which ignores food and energy prices) shall remain below 2.0%: 80%

Apparently incorrect. It wasn't much higher, but it was still higher.

The fifth book in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series will be published: 5%

Wrong. To my surprise, the book did indeed come out.

A superintelligent AGI will be created: Less than 1 in 1 million

As expected, no AGI.

The Large Hadron Collider will destroy the world: Less than 1 in 1 million

As expected, the world is still here.

My 96-year-old grandmother survives another year: 67%

Wrong again here; she died in January.

The Riemann hypothesis is proven: 1 in 5000

As expected, no proof.

I qualify for the Magic Pro Tour: 1%

As expected, no qualification.

I get a "real job": 1%

As expected, no job.

Before I give my predictions for this year, a record of how I did on last year's predictions.

General AI will not be made in 2011. Confidence: 90%

Was correct.

The removal of DADT by the US military will result in fewer than 300 soldiers leaving the military in protest. (Note that this may be hard to measure.) Confidence: 95%.

I haven't been able to judge this. It looks hard to tell but seems to be correct. However, to a large extent this being correct extended from something I didn't anticipate- it took much longer to actually implement the repeal than I expected, so the repeal took effect fairly late in the year.

The Riemann Hypothesis will not be proven.

I initially gave this 75% but further discussion suggested I was underconfident and so I bounced this up to 95% and was correct.

Ryan Williams recent bound on ACC circuits of NEXP (See here for a discussion of Williams work) will be tightened in at least one of three ways: The result will be shown to apply for some smaller set of problems than NEXP, the result will be improved for some broader type of circuit than ACC, or the bound on the circuit size ruled out will be improved. Confidence: 60%

Was incorrect.

At lea

... (read more)
3Sniffnoy9yI find this confusing; I would expect P vs. BQP to be harder to resolve than P vs. NP.
0JoshuaZ9yThere's a fair bit of reason to think that neither of BQP and NP contains the other. But the primary cause for my reduced confidence is that I don't have a really good understanding of the quantum complexity classes whereas I do have more intuition for the classical classes like P and NP. So I've reduced the confidence accordingly.
5Douglas_Knight9yIf you feel you are relatively ignorant of quantum complexity and want to reduce your reliance on it, you should not simply reduce the number. That anchors on an arbitrary sign of the question. Why reduce 95% rather than the complementary 5%? Your prediction is, roughly, that P vs BQP will be resolved in 6 years. Phrased that way, isn't it overconfident? Instead you should regress to an outside model. For example, it has been 30 years since Feynman's suggestion, so my outside model is that it won't be resolved in 30 years, so < 3% per year. Edit: this is a doomsday argument. Also, if you think your inside model says that something is hard, but the number it yields is easier than the outside model, you probably aren't combining your information correctly.
0dbaupp9yMaybe because that pushes the probabilities towards the zero-knowledge position of 50%. (However, as you say, this isn't a zero-knowledge situation.)

Romney will be the Republican presidential nominee: 80%.

Obama will win reelection: 90%.with a non-Romney presidential nominee, 50% against Romney

The Occupy Wall Street protests will fade away over the next year so much that I no longer hear much about them, even in my little liberal hippie news bubble: 75%

There will be massive fanboy backlash against The Hobbit: 80%. Despite this, the Hobbit will be a pretty good movie (above 75% on Rotten Tomatoes): 70%

John Carter will be a pretty good movie (above 75% on Rotten Tomatoes). 85% Whether or not it is a good movie, I will love it. 95%

I will get my first death or rape threat this year: 80% My reaction to the death or rape threat will be elation that I've finally made it in feminist blogging: 95% Even if it isn't I will totally say it is in order to seem cooler: 99%

My comod and I will complete the NSWATM spinoff book this year: 75% It will be published as an ebook: 80% It will not make the transition to dead-tree-book this year: 90% It will make the transition to dead-tree-book eventually: 60%

I will break up with my girlfriend at some point over the next year: 60%.

I will acquire a new partner at some point over the next year: 90%.

I will get my first death or rape threat this year: 80% My reaction to the death or rape threat will be elation that I've finally made it in feminist blogging: 95% Even if it isn't I will totally say it is in order to seem cooler.

You haven't gotten one yet?

I once had a totally non-political blog with less than 1000 views per month, and I still got a few.

3_ozymandias9yNo death or rape threats. I have yet to come up with a theory about why (beyond "crazy random happenstance" and "I'm so nice no one wants to rape and murder me"); suggestions appreciated.
3MixedNuts9yI feel tempted to send you some extremely silly and colorful threats just so you can check off that milestone. ("I will pay Pinky from Pinky and the Brain to invent a time-travel machine to genetically modify your great-great-grandparents so that you end up with a lethal allergy to Cornish pasties, and then I will mail you a Cornish pasty!")
2FiftyTwo9yThe sort of people who make rape threats on feminist websites wouldn't rape or don't believe it is possible to rape someone with a masculine sounding screen-name.
2MugaSofer8yBut what about the death threats? (It's still probably the screename, though.)
0TheOtherDave9y...or don't find it emotionally satisfying to threaten to rape them.
9falenas1089yI sincerely hope your girlfriend does not read this site, or at least doesn't know your username.

My girlfriend knows and is highly amused at my pessimism.

My logic is that I have never actually had a relationship that went much beyond the six-month mark, and while there are all kinds of factors that mean that this one is different and will stand the test of time, all of my other relationships also had all kinds of factors that meant this one is different and will stand the test of time.

The prediction is only 60%, however, since I might have actually gotten better at relationships since the last go-round. And because my girlfriend is really fucking awesome. :)

0Tripitaka9yYou may be interested in this [] .
5_ozymandias9yI don't believe that that quite applies to my situation. I'm not predicting whether I'll choose right now to break up with my girlfriend (99.999% certainty I won't); I'm predicting whether at some point in the next year one of the future Ozymandiases, subtly different from me, will find zirself in a state in which zie wants to break up with zir girlfriend. I have already made up my mind to not break up; I'm predicting how likely I am to change my mind.
2Luke_A_Somers9yAre you not certain of your future self's gender, or are you using Dr Dan Streetmentioner's grammar for time travelers?
5MixedNuts9yWhile this is amusing, Ozy's pronoun is already "zie". You may want to look up "gender binary".
0FiftyTwo9yCan you get her prediction? Then possibly revise the prediction in light of new information from an informed party.

Well, you see, that 60% already factors in that possibility.

1TheOtherDave9yAre you assuming that ozy's girlfriend is unaware of this prediction? If so, why?
2NancyLebovitz9yMy opinion is that a lot of the OWS folks are conferring and planning during the winter, and will continue to protest but will be doing something other than occupying public or semi-public spaces. I don't know how to frame this as a testable prediction.
2Nick_Roy9ySo, with a 60% chance of girlfriend breakup and a 90% chance of new partner acquisition, does this mean a 36% chance of a polyamorous, open, "cheating" or otherwise non-monogamous relationship situation for you at some point over the next year? Edited to add: actually somewhat higher than 36%, since multiple new partners are possible along with a girlfriend breakup.
5_ozymandias9yI'm already polyamorous, so there is in fact a certainty of a polyamorous relationship situation at some point in 2012. :)
0Nick_Roy9yAh, I should have taken that possibility into account. Thank you.
0MBlume9yWhen you make a series of predictions A, B, and C, are the probabilities you give for B and C conditional on A coming out in such a way that B and C make sense?
0taw9yIntrade says: * Romney 78.8% chance of 2012 Republican nomination. * Romney 38.5% chance of 2012 presidency. (and 38.5 / 78.8 = 48.8% for what it's worth) * Obama 51.4% chance of 2012 presidency. So in these you are in agreement with everybody else. I predict you're wrong on Hobbit backlash, but I don't even see how to define "backlash". Are we talking Matrix 2 backlash or Episode 1 backlash?
0_ozymandias9yI was thinking roughly Matrix 2 level backlash: a significant group of "ruined FOREVER" fans, but the movie does not become a byword for terribleness now and forever like Episode 1. Possibly this could be measured by the number of negative YMMV tropes on its TVTropes page? Fan backlash is remarkably difficult to operationalize.
2Nornagest9yDon't think that'd work; TV Tropes isn't very representative of fandom as a whole, and in any case popular works will attract more negative tropes than obscure ones simply as a function of having more eyes on the page and more fingers on keyboards. On the other hand, if the page gets locked for bickering, that's probably a good (if binary) indicator of backlash. If you asked me to come up with a more general metric of fannish approval, I might look at ratios of fanworks to mainstream sales; that's pretty hard in itself, though, since different fandoms congregate in different places. You'll find a lot more Naruto fanart on DeviantArt than Sherlock Holmes.
0MugaSofer8yYou sure Matrix 2 isn't "a byword for terribleness now and forever like Episode 1"? I wasn't really around for either of them, but the reaction people have seems about the same for both. EDIT: Although I may be confusing backlash against the Matrix sequels for backlash against "Matrix 2". Was that lower?
0Prismattic9yNot too far off my own estimate, but... = 42% chance of a Republican president in 2013. ...seems overconfident. Counterprediction: OWS comes roaring back in some form|GOP presidency : 85% Assuming only, say 20% chance of OWS maintaining itself in some form under a Democrat, that still gives (0.85x0.42 + 0.2x0.58) = 0.515 of continued OWS activity. Rounding down to correct for the likelihood of overconfidence at some intermediate step, I'll say Chance of OWS fading away: 50%
1_ozymandias9yIt is true, I forgot to account for the effects of a GOP presidency on OWS. However, I still think there's a high chance of a OWS fadeaway for a few reasons. One, the liberal hippies (generally the backbone of social justice movements) have started to nitpick OWS in earnest: this could be a sign either that OWS is getting more successful (and the crab in a bucket mentality is taking over) or that it's losing their support, but given that the mainstream media seems to have decided OWS is yesterday's news, I think it might be the latter. Second, as the economy splutters into recovery, OWS will get less support. Third, if OWS continues to get more popular, the government will likely make some token effort to address their concerns that will take away some of the momentum of the movement. Nevertheless, you did mention an important factor I overlooked, so I'll downgrade it to a roughly 60% probability.

(Reposting because parent was downvoted below default visibility. Original post here)

There will be a major war, starting in the Middle East. Israel will lose (75%). China will probably join in on the radical-Muslim side. Iran will try to use its nukes but they will be duds. Israel will not use theirs. The US will send aid but will not directly engage Israel's enemies. Japan will join in on Israel's side after the radicals sink oil tankers on the way to Japan. The Russians will sit this one out. Turkey may or may not take part, but if they do it will be against Israel.

On February 13th, President Obama will be assassinated by ninjas. This will lead to a political crisis, which Sarah Palin will exploit to get elected to the White House. On August 18, in a public address to a worried nation, the Secretary of State will declare, 'Two nukes were not enough'. To prevent the destruction of the Holy Grail, Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres and the Organisation will forge a temporary alliance with the intent of neutralizing America's nuclear arsenal. The plan will fail because of sabotage by SEELE. In desperation, Harry Potter will kill every member of the American administration using the... (read more)

2AspiringKnitter9yMayans. Not Mayas. /annoying nitpick
2fortyeridania9yWhy is this in the negative?
3Anubhav9ySomeone's downvoting the post and every single reply to it. Why? I have no idea. EDIT: And now someone upvoted every single reply. Heisenberg FTW.
1dbaupp9yOops! (It's a little embarrassing to make a mistake for such a high confidence prediction! But I'm sure LW won't judge you too much. ;) )
0adamisom9yHaha, I get the point you're making. Very well done, too. But, hm... real scenarios are, or should be, more tightly interlinked than fictional scenarios, and it could be that international-relations scenarios are so constrained that that prediction might not be ridiculous. I mean, I'd expect the responses of countries to a nuclear war between Iran and Israel to be a lot more constrained / predictable than responses to most international incidents.
2Anubhav9yAh, but how much more predictable? The devil is in the numbers. And either way, several events in this particular sequence are still bizarre.

I predict that the youtube music video with the most views of 2012 will either be:

1) A Farsi reggae version of "Good King Wenceslas", by an Iranian who has publicly wished for the death of Barack Obama or;

2) A pudgy middle-aged guy singing about some district of Seol that no non-Koreans have ever heard about. In Korean. Also, he will have publicly expressed the wish that the family members of American servicemembers will die.

And the president will watch this performance and applaud.

ALSO I predict that at least one American presidential candidate will publicly take a stance against a major character from Sesame Street.

ALSO I predict that the Queen of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain will be seen parachuting into London, or at least her stunt double will do so with her apparent consent, if not pleasure.

Most fearsome of all: I predict (rot13 for the faint of heart)

Guvf pbzzrag vf n cynprubyqre. V cerqvpg gung, nobhg n lrne sebz abj, V'yy rqvg guvf pbzzrag gb ergebnpgviryl znxr zlfrys ybbx oevyyvnag. Ng guvf cbvag, V fubhyq cebonoyl vafreg fbzr xvaq bs rzbgvpba be fbzrguvat gb vaqvpngr gung V'z abg pbzcyrgryl frevbhf. Ba frpbaq gubhtug, V pbhyq qb gung ergebnpgviryl nf jryy.

Unccl arj lrne, YrffJebat! Guvf lrne, znl nyy bs hf or yrff jebat guna jr jrer ynfg lrne!

C.F. V'q or tengrshy sbe ercyl pbzzragf nybat gur yvarf bs, fnl, "Arire! Pyrneyl lbh ner rvgure znq be -- vs guvf cerqvpgvba pbzrf gehr -- n travhf!" Gunaxf va nqinapr.

[-][anonymous]9y 12

This comment is a placeholder. I predict that, about a year from now, I'll edit this comment to retroactively make myself look brilliant. At this point, I should probably insert some kind of emoticon or something to indicate that I'm not completely serious. On second thought, I could do that retroactively as well.

oh yeah?


Two can play at this game.

Incorrect, since nyan_sandwich's post lacks the asterix after the posting time marking an edited post.

-1orthonormal9ySolvent didn't edit ver comment, either. Solvent's point was that, a year from now, Costanza can just say that nyan_sandwich made up a fake quote.
0FAWS9yirrelevant, presence or absence of the asterix for the quoted post is what matters. Not at anywhere near the same level of plausibility. Lack of asterix means definite proof that the quote is fake.
-1orthonormal9yI could find a comment of yours that you edited after publishing, and comment a fake "quote of the original" on it. See, I agree that having an unedited comment is very important for verifying predictions later- but nyan_sandwich's comment won't count to a future reader as infallible evidence of what Costanza once said. The future reader must consider the possibility that nyan_sandwich was lying. (Of course, ve wasn't. But we're all being pedantic here.)
5orthonormal9yDammit, I forgot that the underscore in nyan sandwich's name would translate into italics. And for obvious reasons, I ain't editing that comment.
-1FAWS9ySo what? None of that impacts my point that the relation between the two comment pairs in question is not symmetric in the way originally implied.
0[anonymous]9yI don't know what to say...
2Caspian9yI endorse the parent comment as being honestly quoted from the grandparent comment, which does not contain further predictions.

I predict changes will be made to LessWrong's interface within the year that will make this impossible (e.g. a 'edited' date marker). 50%

I also predict you will forget about this comment or for some other reason not in fact edit it. 90%

4Costanza8yVery nearly right about me forgetting, but it's a year to the day. Happy new year!
8TimS9yIt is hard for me to articulate how unlikely this is to occur. You are either the most sublime genius to ever exist, or a giant fool.
6TheOtherDave9yNever! Clearly you are either mad or -- if this prediction comes true -- a genius!
5Jayson_Virissimo9yNot to be a drag, but your evil schemes will come to naught. When you edit a post it changes the date next to your name and adds an asterisk at the end, thereby destroying your illusion of prescience. EDIT: The italicized and bolded text above is incorrect as pointed out by wedrifid [].
9wedrifid9yDoes it? EDIT: This comment has been edited after the child comment. EDIT: Didn't think so. The asterix is added, of course. The date doesn't change. EDIT: In case the purpose of this was missed (it seems to have been). I saw something wrong, but before I corrected I realized that I might be overconfident. So the right thing to do is test!
8Jayson_Virissimo9yI tested it for myself and falsified my original claim about the date. Thanks for making me less wrong.

Most of the predictions in this thread will turn out to have been overconfident

The above prediction will turn out to have been overconfident.

All three predictions in this post will turn out to have been overconfident.


2FiftyTwo9yTrying to work out if there are any falsification conditions for the above...
2taelor9yCount all the predictions that were assigned a 90% probability, and determine if the percentage that were correct is less than 90%? Repeat for all other probabilities?
2Jayson_Virissimo9yThis is tough to score objectively because not all the predictions in this thread assign a numerical probability to the prediction statement. Also, because of that whole P(¬X) = 1 - P(X) thing, any deviation from perfect calibration (whether under or overconfidence) is necessarily overconfidence (if not of that particular proposition, then the negation of that proposition).
2JoshuaZ9yThere are ways of measuring overconfidence. People make declarations in a positive sense with a probability greater than 50%. They are overconfident in the sense that when framed that way, they assign too high a probability to the more likely outcome. This is also testable by a variety of metrics. For example, you could do a calculation where one assumes that there's a betting market and everyone here has made a $1 even bet with their confidence as given in this thread. Then, if they are overconfident in the above sense, one expects that the total result over all bets will be a loss.
0Jayson_Virissimo9yRight, I'm not denying that overconfidence bias exists and is a coherent concept. I was trying to point out that when we reinterpret the predictions to be more easily verified/falsified (like I have been doing before adding some of the predictions to PredictionBook) the prediction is transformed in a way that doesn't necessarily preserve the original framing (whether positive or negative), so it would be unclear from the proposition we would be scoring whether or not the original predictor was under or overconfident.
0gwern9yRight; in fact, we can see pretty easily that just transferring the predictor's probability to our better more precise predictions will intrinsically increase their apparent confidence. The point of our versions is to be narrower and better defined, and so we will judge our prediction correct in fewer states of the world than they would have judged their own prediction (independent of any biases); fewer states of the world means less confidence is justified (P(A&B) <= P(A)). Of course, in practice, due to the many biases and lack of experience afflicting them, people are usually horribly overconfident and we can see many examples of that in this thread and the past threads. So between the two, we can be pretty sure that predictors are overconfident.
[-][anonymous]9y 12

These are already on PredictionBook:

Eliezer Yudkowsky will follow Kevin’s diet for at least three months in the next two years. PB link, link to diet.

If Eliezer Yudkowsky decides to follow Kevin’s diet for at least three months in the next two years, his end weight after three months will be at least ten pounds (~4.5 kg) lighter than his starting weight. PB link.

A trustworhy friend has told me that there are two HPMOR chapters in the pipeline-- I could check the website, which is where he says he got the information, but what would be the fun in that?

There will be a US election. People will say they're sick of politics. One of the candidates will win.

5wedrifid9yThis stranger on the internet confirms it! From the sounds of it the chapters are going to be long.
-1Vaniver9yI expect there will be 2 winners in the 2012 national US election with p>.99. :P

The year report for the 2012 of the SIAI will be approximately the same as for the 2011. No essentially new things mentioned. Confidence 0.9.

At least one event as important as Watson Jeopardy! will be announced by IBM or some other organization. Confidence 0.8.

0Thomas8yAFAIK, I was right. SPAUN, Siri, real time video translations ... I was right.

The U.S. Presidential candidate who spends the most money on his campaign will be elected.

2Jayson_Virissimo9y* The winner of the 2012 US presidential election will have been the candidate that spent more money on the campaign than any other individual candidate. []
2wedrifid9yWhy is this downvoted? Too obvious?

Hard to judge, thanks to the Citizens case, and I can't help but wonder if it's near tautology - the more popular candidate wins, and also raises the most.

3Jayson_Virissimo9yIt's not a tautology because they are not logically equivalent (heh), but a spurious correlation [], yes.
0Eugine_Nier9yI was going to assign this prediction 50%, then I remembered the effect gwern mentioned here [].

World politics:

One or more new 'revolutions' (described as such by international media) will take place. 80% - At least one of which will be in Sub-Saharan Africa: 60%

Fidel Castro will die, or has already died and it will be officially confirmed 90%.

Open hostilities will take place between Iran and another country 60%.

Vladimir Putin will become president of Russia: 95% - There will be significant rioting with civilian injuries in Russia: 70% - There will be substansive political change in Russia 5%.

UK politics

The coalition government will break up 10%. ... (read more)

3dbaupp9yWhat about a relationship where one of the parties doesn't have a facebook account (or some other circumstance where there is a definite/mutually-acknowledged/etc relationship, but no facebook status change)?
0FiftyTwo9yI honestly had not considered the possibility or entering a relationship with someone who isn't on facebook its essentially universal in my social group. Facebook is a useful way of quantifying public acknowledgement, I suppose a similar requirement would be 'introduces the other as my boyfriend/girlfriend,' but that can depend on audience in a way facebook does not. The motivation for defining 'official' relationships was to separate it from other relationships I've had which were more casual (I've known people who would define 'sleeping with same person 2+ times a relationship, which doesn't fit my purposes). For the purposes of this prediction I will qualify it to "one where we both alter our facebook statuses to 'in a relationship' Or if the other party does not use facebook, I change mine."
2orthonormal9yMy default response to a comment predicting its own karma is to downvote.
0FiftyTwo9yInteresting, I considered whether that question would prime people to vote up, evidently not in your case.
0[anonymous]9yEven those predicting negative karma?
4orthonormal9yYes. It's not about making their prediction right or wrong, it's about making those comments less visible.
0FiftyTwo9yDo you have a principled objection to discussing comment karma? It seems a fairly value neutral thing to make predictions of, I was trying to predict how much the readers of this post would consider it relevant/interesting.
8orthonormal9yIt leads to people getting too cute and meta, and drifting away from actual content. Some contexts of discussing karma are fine (like asking for an explanation of downvotes), but making predictions of the karma of the very post you're composing is like a self-referential statement: often meaningless, and trivial even when correct.
1Paul Crowley9yInteresting. I think both of your numbers for UK politics are too high. Going only by what you say here, I think your number for sex with men are also too high - fewer than 10% of the men I know who identified as straight at the start of the decade had sex with a man during it. 90% is a little high for Castro dying. He's dragged on for ages; it wouldn't be that astonishing if he kept it up for another year.
0wedrifid9yThis seems to be an overconfident assumption of knowledge about private lives. (Especially if 'you know' is a sufficiently relaxed category for the sample size to be anything but trivial.)
1PlacidPlatypus9yAt what point will you check the Karma value? The end of the year?
0FiftyTwo9yYes, same as all other predictions.
-1MixedNuts9yWould you accept a bet on it? ...given that I will cheat like a dog? ...and probably will cheat like a dog even if you refuse?
2FiftyTwo9yHow do dogs cheat? I'd imagine given the requirements of modelling other minds it would be badly or not at all.
3MixedNuts9yFine. I will cheat like... * something that cheats a lot; * something Feynman analogizes a cheater to; * myself when I'm cheating; * a tautology. Who cheats. Because. Also, why not? Dogs are social animals. Does the injured alpha wolf who didn't move for two days to avoid the other wolves noticing he was weak count? Dogs may also distract you then eat your food.
0TheOtherDave9yMy dog learned early on that luring people off the couch and then taking their seat worked pretty well as a way of getting a warm seat. But it's not clear to me I would call that cheating.
0DSimon9yI don't ever recall any dogs cheating. However, I have seen lots of people cheating dogs; there's no better name for that "Hey look, I moved my arm really fast and now you can't see the ball anymore, therefore you should assume I threw it!" trick.
0wedrifid9yWill you accept the bet still given that I would cheat like a dog for him just out of principle? Consider that I am extremely good at this particular kind of electronic cheating.
1Maelin9ySo that's how you got all that karma.
1wedrifid9yI wish. No, I got karma from excessive participation. ;)
0MixedNuts9yDid I say which side I would cheat for?
0wedrifid9yNot required. (I would cheat against declared cheaters such that they would lose the money in the bet. If you happen to also be cheating such that you lose the bet then you'll lose even more dramatically.)

Okay, this seems like nothing could possibly go wrong just from my making some educated guesses, right?

  1. 90%: the probabilities in this post are poorly calibrated, but things I think are likely will probably happen, and the converse is also true.

  2. 10%: I'll learn to play Magic: the Gathering by 2013.

  3. .1%: Singularity occurs before January 1, 2013.

  4. 80%: Occupy protests do not end before May.

  5. 90%: Judge Rotenberg Center continues torturing children at least through December 31, 2012.

  6. 99% There will be at least one update to Harry Potter and the Methods o

... (read more)
2FiftyTwo9yWhile I know nothing about the case, given that sentence has the same structure as 'have you stopped beating your wife' it may be hard to place a prediction on.
6NancyLebovitz9yRotenburg Center [] I agree that this is torture. However, I recommend adding links for subjects which aren't common knowledge. Another school-- uses mace rather than electric shocks [] I have no strong opinion about when or whether these practices will be stopped.
0dlthomas9yIt doesn't have the same structure at all. "No" is always the preferred response to "do you continue to beat your wife?" The preferred answer of a strict reading of "have you stopped beating your wife?" depends on whether you had been previously (which sets up the trap of the joke).
0FiftyTwo9y"Did they continue torturing children?" "No" implies they had in the past. "Did they continue torturing children?" "Yes" is only true if they did so in the past and are continuing to do so. What I meant was without assuming a value for 'they have tortured children in the past' (which I assume to be at least slightly controversial) you cannot give a probability to it. Though I suppose if they have not tortured children in the past the correct probability of continuation would be 0% as it is impossible. Same as the prediction "P&¬P." (Though realistically you'd want to incorporate your assessment of the available evidence, see my comment on kalla724's post).
0AspiringKnitter9yThat's why you think it's unreasonable to accuse them of torture. I'll consider myself to have guessed wrong if it comes out that they were really never torturing anyone at all to begin with. I will not, however, use a euphemism when what I mean is "torture".
2Luke_A_Somers9yPoint was, you didn't make the accusation first, and then predict its continuation.
2AspiringKnitter9yI didn't think I needed to for the same reason that I didn't think I needed to separately claim that there are OWS protests before predicting their continuation. I thought [] this wasn't [] up for debate [].
2JoachimSchipper9yDo you think you could make a hundred predictions like "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality will be updated this year" or "The Winds of Winter will not be released this year" and only be wrong once? Maybe you're right, but your confidence seems high to me. (Note that 98% resp. 96% allows you two resp. four errors.)
8AspiringKnitter9yYes, I really mean that high confidence. The Winds of Winter is the sixth in a series; the fifth was released in July, six years after the fourth, which was released two years after it was due and five years after the third book. The author is slipping, the books are getting longer and less manageable and the author enjoys watching football. He's also spent a LONG time promoting his latest book so aggressively I'm just about sure he can't have been writing for months. It's just barely conceivable he could deliver a manuscript to a publisher in 2012, but if so, it would be late 2012, and it would be published in 2013. It essentially would be fighting the barriers of what's possible for him to do for him to actually get it done in time for a 2012 release date. Another author might do it, but not him and not his thousand-page doorstoppers. For a non-abandoned fic like HP:MoR, with 76 updates in 22 months, where Eliezer actually has the next chapter completed already and is just trying to do two at once, it will take a catastrophe to keep an update from happening this year. (Hmm. Given the high likelihood of a catastrophe happening, maybe I did guess too high there.)
8gwern9yI still think you are about 5% too high on both of those predictions, but at least you aren't being stupid in arriving at your probabilities. (By the way, if you are wrong, you've done your future self a service by writing this comment - explaining in detail your reasons is one of the few known effective tactics against hindsight bias.)
1JoachimSchipper9yA bit off topic, but you seem to be doing this kind of thing a lot: is there any trick for calibrating high-/low-probability events? I can see how to figure out whether my 50% is 50% or 40%, but I'd need to make a lot of predictions to get a statistically useful number of 1% predictions wrong, even if my 1% is really 2% (a serious error!)
3gwern9yAre there any tricks? Base-rates/frequencies (plus Laplace's law) and breaking down conjunctions (#2 and 3 in [] ).
2mfb9yYou can know that your numbers were wrong, if many of the 1-2% predictions become true. But there is no way to find out (by looking at the outcome) whether it was 1% or 2% without several hundred predictions.
0MixedNuts9yBetting time! Well, unless your or AspiringKnitter's bid-ask spread is too wide.
0gwern9yA 5% difference isn't enough to bet on - I don't make bets that often so gambler's ruin becomes an issue.
0AspiringKnitter9yOkay, sure. Thank you. Actually, you might be right. Maybe I did fail to consider certain possibilities that could keep those things from happening how I assumed. Of course, that would be evidence in favor of my other prediction:
2MileyCyrus9yHow would you define "end"? Without a coherent leadership OWS cannot formally declare themselves finished. The most likely "end" for OWS will be that most of the protesters go home while a few stragglers will stick around for years.
0AspiringKnitter9yThat's a good point. Maybe there's a problem with my concept of "end" as it relates to OWS protests. I expect them to continue to be common and happen a bunch (as much as they're happening now or more) at least until May. After that, who knows...
1TheOtherDave9yWell, there are potential self-fulfilling prophecy effects, but I suspect the only one for which they're worth even mentioning is #2, and it's not clear that such an effect would constitute "going wrong".

I am deeply interested in predictions regarding the progress of the charter city projects in Honduras, though I can't make any meaningful predictions on the topic myself.

9gwern9yIf I were interested in the topic, I'd be making predictions on population size, gross domestic product, crime rates, and changes in legal jurisdiction - since all of them seem like they'd vary considerably if the charter city is successful or a failure.
2Jayson_Virissimo9y* Future Cities Development Inc. will found at least one city in a special development region in Honduras and it will have a population of equal to or greater than 500 before 2013. []

Ok, let's join the party! Personal:

I will manage to rent my grandparent's house before the end of the year 40% I will manage to sell my grandparent's house before the end of the year 15% (Neither of the two happens 45%)

My girlfriend will come to live with me in my flat before the end of the year: 60%

I will manage to stabilize my weight between 70 and 73 kilos: 50%

I will buy more than 50 musical records on physical support (cd / vinyl) 70%

I will finally do a complete inventory of my music collection 30%

In case the previous happens, I will turn out to own mo... (read more)

0AnthonyC9yAbout your grandparent's house: i seems to me like once you specify the probability of renting and selling at 40% and 15%, you have already decided that the probability of neither happening would be 1-(1-.4)(1-.15)=49%. This appears inconsistent with the 45% prediction, or am I missing something?
0[anonymous]9yHe's assuming he won't rent it and then sell it, so the three possibilities (renting, selling, and neither) are mutually exclusive, and they do sum up to 100% as they should.

Added some predictions:

1) 75%: On Jan 1, 2013, there will be 3 or fewer movies from 2011 on imdb’s top 250. (down from current 6) (

2) 50%: On Jan 1, 2013, there will be seven or more movies from 2012 on imdb’s top 250. (

3) 85%: The Shawshank Redemption will be #1 on imdb’s top 250 on Jan 1, 2013. (it is currently #1) (

4) 60%: 12 Angry Me... (read more)

3Andy_McKenzie9yNumber 5 is my somewhat lame attempt at a feature request. What I mean is that, for example, on #6, I'd like to be able to say, that I assign, say, a 15% chance to there being 0 such papers, a 15% chance of 1, a 20% chance of 2, and so on. Of course, I could make multiple predictions, but this is tedious. It'd be really nice to be able to assign probabilities to a full range of quantities on one question. (And I expect it would make my predictions more accurate, too.) Each individual probability assignment would have to be judged "correct" or "incorrect" independently.
2Vaniver9y60% seems way too high to me. The number of votes on 12 Angry Men and Pulp Fiction are both very high- for one to move up and the other to move down seems like it would require a large number of votes distributed differently from past votes.
0Andy_McKenzie9y12 Angry Men has continued to rise every year and I just don't see it ending. Pulp Fiction is very violent and I expect the zeitgeist of film watching (and rating) to move farther and farther away from that. Finally, the movies on the top 250 are shrinkage estimated, scaled to the number of votes, and I expect the ratio of votes between 12AM and PF to decrease in the next year. Anyway, we'll see!
-3taw9yimdb voting always had a strong bias towards old movies, but this is getting ridiculous. These were decent movies, but not even remotely close to top 10. I don't see how they'd even manage to legitimately get into top 100. This might be the source of the problem: "For this top 250, only votes from regular voters are considered". My suspicion is that their "regular voter" filter is broken and causes this problem.
1Andy_McKenzie9yIf you're so sure, then what would your top 10 be? They famously don't say what the filter is, to prevent gaming. If it is broken now it must have been broken for a long time, because I don't remember any major single-day jumps of late, except for times when they altered the "m" parameter.
2taw9yI have no issues with the following movies from the top list (there are some big omissions but they're all awesome movies): * The Shawshank Redemption (1994) * Pulp Fiction (1994) * The Dark Knight (2008) * The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) * Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) * Inception (2010) * Fight Club (1999) * The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) * Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) * The Matrix (1999) Schindler's List loses at least one star for its ending alone. City of God is the only movie there I don't remember watching, so I cannot say much either way. Godfather I've watched so long ago, I won't be saying anything about it now. Movies really get a lot better as time goes. Old movies near the top are simply not that good. IMDB's treatment of single multipart movies like Lord of the Rings and especially Kill Bill as multiple separate movies annoys me a lot, but that's an entirely different story. Broken as in drastically unrepresentative, not as in gameable. EDIT: Here's my theory [].

By the end of the decade, it will be clear that North Korea never had nuclear weapons under Kim Jong Il.


8FAWS9yWhat do you mean with "clear"? Majority opinion among defense experts? Something stronger?
4Kevin9yMajority opinion among defense experts would suffice, though I was picturing a more tumultuous scenario where the information leaks or just otherwise becomes widely known, via defection or invasion or collapse or revolution, etc.
6Vaniver9yWhat do you mean by "nuclear weapons"? It's clear [] they had some sort of nuclear material in some sort of bomb.
3Prismattic9yThis prediction could be made less ambiguous by specifying whether you mean that North Korea never successfully built a nuclear weapon but was sincerely trying to do so or you mean that they were never seriously attempting to build one in the first place.
2FiftyTwo9yGiven you are not necessarily dealing with hugely rational individuals 'sincerely trying to' is hard to prove. If I give someone $1 to buy me a car am I sincerely trying to obtain one?
2Kevin9yI meant either of those scenarios.
3gwern9yRecorded [].
[-][anonymous]9y 5

Some 2012-specific stuff. It's all a bit fluff-y, but unfortunately in all the high-status areas I either won't do better than the base rate or have just made it past Mount Stupid and really don't feel like making predictions just yet. I'm hoping for others to post way-too-confident comments I can make cynical predictions about. Anyway:

  • I still predict that Luke won't finish his metaethics sequence in 2012, especially now that the scope has widened.

  • The fifth book of the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series actually came out (contrary to expectation

... (read more)
8shminux9yWhat are the odds of this being judged wrong?
4Oscar_Cunningham9ySo given that we're in a supervised simulation, the world ends on December 21st with p>1/20 ?
1[anonymous]9yYes. It's a sufficiently weird feature of the kind of simulation I would join. An apocalypse seems fitting, and 12/21 is the most prominent date we had since Y2K, but it's more surreal and a nice numerological coincidence, so more likely. (See Theory of Narrative Causation [].)
2Baughn9yI'll state here, for the record, that at some point in the future (post-singularity?) I intent to implement Sburb, grab some friends, suppress their memories (and mine) and make a proper game of it. I made this decision back in 2011, when I first ran into Homestuck. It is in the nature of my personality that I would probably be unable to resist using 2012 for the start date, not least since I have a bunch of nieces and nephews at the appropriate age to be players right now. :P I have no idea how to assign a probability to this currently being the case, though. ^^;
0RomeoStevens9y"I'm also practicing my "that was a totally lame twist and I called it ages ago" skills. (Obviously spoilers behind links, but not in this comment.)" be careful with this one, people won't watch anything with me.

I will place in the top 5 for the Quantified Health Prize (either by myself or as part of a team), conditional on me submitting an entry that took me at least 40 hours of work: 95%

1adamisom9yYou may have just decreased your prior likelihood given that one of us may have read that and thought hmm, if it's relatively not a ton of work, maybe it's more worth giving a shot. Just putting that out there. 95%, huh? Would you be willing to make a bet?
1Kevin9yAlso, more likely than people reading this and going on to make a submission is that people read that, think that, try giving it a shot and then give up in disgust because nutrition is not actually a science, it's just a field where scientists pretend they are doing science. The literature is somewhere between awful and useless. I think Personalized Medicine is going to be disappointed in the results of the contest because it's so hard to make conclusions as evidence backed as would seem likely before digging into the literature.
0Kevin9yNo, I'm disinclined from taking bets at 20:1 odds no matter what my confidence. However, I'd take a 1:1 bet on me (or my team) winning first prize.
4D_Alex9yI'll take that bet, conditional on your removing the "at least 40 hours" provision. I'll take the bet because I want to encourage you to actually put in a good submission... I prefer the bet amount to be symbolic rather than substantial. I offer "the Groupon deal for dinner for two in the city of your residence", provided there is such a thing in the place where you live. Are we on?
1Kevin9ySure. Let's just call it $25, since Groupon for my local area only has deals for towns 10 miles away. I submitted what I think is a great entry, that took me around 100 hours of work + 20 hours from a partner. It's over 9000 words. [Your bet would have been more usefully motivating if proposed before the paper was due]
0D_Alex9yGood to hear, and good luck (to the extent that luck is in fact involved...). On reflection... you already had $5000 to aim for. So now the stakes are up by, heh, 1%.
0gwern9y []
0Kevin9yYup, fulfilled the conditional. I also almost made that prediction read that I or my team will get 1st place with 70% probability but didn't want to make that signal before people submitted. So I'll make it now. I predict that I or my team will win (1st place) for the Quantified Health Prize. (70%)
0gwern9y []

All predictions are for 2012.


Andrew Hussie releases at least one flash lasting longer than 10 minutes: 65%

Karkat, Terezi, John, Dave, Rose and Jade will not be permanently removed from story (Being killed off but returning as a ghost/sprite/whatever doesn't count as being permanently removed; being killed off and spending eternity in a dream-bubble and having no further contribution to the story does): 80%

The hints that Betty Crocker/Her Imperious Condesencion is running post-scratch Desrse will prove to be misdirection on Hussie's part: 20%

Baseb... (read more)

3[anonymous]9yCasually wonders how many Homestuckers on LW.
3Polymeron9yI somehow never thought to combine Homestuck wild mass guessing with prediction markets. And didn't really expect this on LW, for some reason. Holy cow. Hm, let's try my two favorite pet theories... * In a truly magnificent Moebius double reacharound, The troll universe will turn out to have been created by the kids' session (either pre- or post- scratch): 40% (used to be higher, but now we have some asymmetries between the sessions, like The Tumor, so.) * In an even more bizarre mindscrew that echoes paradox cloning, the various kids and guardians will turn out to be the same people in both sessions (e.g. Poppop Crocker is the very same John we know, the Bro that cuts the meteor is the same one who programmed the auto-responder, etc.). That means that, at least for the Derse dreamers, each of them raised their own guardian, probably inflicting upon them whichever neurosis they got from them in the first place. 35% on this one, because it entails some heavy-duty time shenaniganry. But I still like this one best :3 And on a more light-hearted note... Human-troll sloppy makeouts to happen at any point in the story: 90% (all these predictions are not time-bound to 2012 - apply until the end of the story, including the Epilogue)
0Polymeron9yI'm fairly convinced (65%) that Lalonde appearified the Sassacre book in such a way that it killed Jaspers, which is why she had to leave so abruptly.
0[anonymous]9yI'll go 90%, now that Hussie has cleverly alluded to it by having Roxy's name for Jaspers (Frigglish) be the same as a character in Complacency of the Learned that gets crushed by a large book.
2taelor9yHussie will tease various ships, but ultimately, none will be made canon: 55%.
1MixedNuts9yThat seems vastly underconfident and I don't even know what Homestuck is. My guess is that the "not canon" part is what drives it down. Some slight research suggests this is a correct estimation [] of the author's attitude.
2Bugmaster9y... . .-. . -. .. - -.-- / .-. ..- .-.. . ...
1taelor9yPost-Scratch!Bro will be revealed as the Hero of Mind: 65%.
1[anonymous]9yDirk Strider is the Prince of Heart. Sorry, taelor.
1taelor9yWell, that was bust. Heart it is.
-1[anonymous]9yWhy Mind? Terezi ain't going anywhere; or at least, she better not. I'm thinking either Heart (poor Nepeta ;___;) or Doom. EDIT (WARNING: CONJUNCTION FALLACY, SPOILERS AHOY): So my prevailing theory is that the pre-Scratch kids, the surviving trolls, and the post-Scratch kids all join forces and make up a 12-person group in the post-Scratch session. In the post-Scratch session, the prototyping rings of Derse and Prospit only get four charges, so it'll be much easier than the troll's session. The four kids give us Breath, Light, Time and Space. Of the remaining trolls, this theory predicts Aradia dies a heroic death holding back Troll!Jack. That leaves Blood, Rage, Mind, and Doom. Jane is pretty clearly Life, and Jake is Hope. That leaves Void and Heart. Rolal's dreamself wanders the Furthest Ring and is hard to keep track of, so that makes Void more likely. Di-Stri's recent pesterlog was emotionally intelligent, so I favor him to be Heart. Of course, now I have to explain how Aradia dies to Troll!Jack, but somehow Sollux survives.
0orthonormal9yOh, a few.
0taelor9yAll the currently "dead" characters will re-enter the story by the conclusion of Act 7: 40%. As a side note, had I been aware of this page a week ago, I could have posted my prediction about Jane not actually being dead, and been right.
0taelor9yIn light of the most recent update, I'm raising this to 60%.
0[anonymous]9yGCat has the good sense not to be prototyped into Jane's kernelsprite before entering the medium: 70% Tavros, somehow, ascends to God Tier: 5% (fly, pupa! flyyyyyyyyy!)
0Baughn9yJane becomes a catgirl: 40%
0Baughn9yVriska and Aradia return at an opportune moment: 70% * To save the day: 40%
-1[anonymous]9yAndrew Hussie will blow our minds: 1 - E The Fandom will Flip their shit: 1 - E Where E > 0. (i don't know how to put a unicode epsilon in this post) ETA: Okay, so maybe 100% is a mathematical impossibility. Can we settle for an epsilon-delta-esque construct instead?
2Armok_GoB9y1.0 is not a probability. All the protons that compose him might simultaneously decay while he's being hit with a back hole and the simulation we're on is shut down. In that case it might be as low as 90% chance of that still happening.
0taelor9yConfirmed []
0taelor9yConsidering that all but one of the character's named above are now about as close to being literally immortal as it's possible to get in the setting, I'm upping this to at least 85%. Also, predicting that Terezi will get Godtiered as well (p=50%).
0taelor9yMore Baseball: The Giants will take the season series against the A's: 65%. There will be a bench clearing brawl between the Giants and the Phillies: 15%. Either the Texas Rangers or the LA Angels will win the AL West: 90%.

P(Eliezer Yudkowsky will make a prediction on PredictionBook before 2013. ) = 0.20

Note: I increased my probability estimate since I originally made the prediction based on the fact that I just made a comment in a high-profile thread in the Main section discussing it.

A list of my predictions for 2012 can be found here. They are far too numerous to bother listing them in this thread.

  1. Mitt Romney wins the Republican nomination (90%.)
  2. More than 1000 US troops (including soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen) remain in Israel for at least 6 months after the ongoing joint military exercises are over. (75%)
  3. Ron Paul fails to win any states in the Republican primary. (75% probability).
  4. No 3rd party candidate gains 5% of the popular vote for president. (90%)
  5. US official unemployment rate is still above 7% in December 2012. (75%)
  6. Israel or the United States make no overt attack against Iran. (Covert drone strikes, missile strikes, or assassinations wouldn't count.) (85%)
  7. United States ceases to be a net fuel importer for 2012. (60%)
1gwern9y1. Covered 2. Not listing because it'd be such a pain to judge (where would I get such information?) 3. [] 4. [] 5. [] 6. Covered 7. []
0gwern8yUpdate on this?
2Jack8yI'm pretty sure [] the US ceased to be a net fuel importer for 2011. But there is some ambiguity in "fuel".
7gwern8yMy own understanding was that fuel should refer to petroleum in general; if it referred only to refined processed end-stage fuel, we'd reach conclusions like 'Iran is a massive net fuel importer' (because while Iran exports plenty of oil, they don't have the working refineries to turn it into gasoline etc). So for me the relevant part of that article would be
0knb8ySince I said "fuel" instead of "oil", I assume I meant refined fuels only (e.g. home heating oil, diesel, gasoline, etc.). But as Jack pointed out, it seems like that milestone was passed in 2011, so I would call it false.
0gwern8yAlright, I'll mark it false then.
0FAWS9yJust fuel, not figuring in crude oil? Does this require that the United States still was a net fuel importer at the end of 2011? Or is it just a prediction that the USA will not import more fuel than it exports during 2012?

I am also predicting, that:

1 - neutrinos will be faster than light in 2012 (60% confidence)

2 - Higgs boson will NOT be seen in 2012 (85% confidence)

3mfb9yMy predictions to these topics: No experiment apart from OPERA will measure a neutrino speed >c with a significance of more than 3 sigma in 2012: 85% * where the 15% are mainly related to measurement errors OPERA or others will find a significant error in OPERAs measurements in 2012: 50% Higgs boson will be seen with a local 5 sigma significance (ATLAS+CMS alone or in combination) near ~125 GeV in 2012: 90% * the current signal is quite clear already, even without the magic 5 sigma. So I expect that new data will increase the significance. From the 10%, a large part is related to possible problems with the LHC, it includes serious analysis problems, bad luck and the simple "there is no higgs". Higgs boson will be seen with a global 5 sigma significance (ATLAS+CMS alone or in combination) near ~125 GeV in 2012: 85% * this needs a bit more data than the local significance. No other new particles will be seen with 5 sigma significance in 2012: 75% * up to now, I did not see any hint for a new particle from both collaborations, so I think there is no 3sigma evidence for anything at the moment The LHC will collide protons with lead at the end of 2012: 75% * it was tested in 2011, but technical problems prevented collisions
4mfb8yLet's see. * No superluminal neutrinos (85%) -> true * OPERA measurement error (50%) -> true * Higgs boson with local (90%) and global (85%) 5sigma significance (updated to 70% below) -> true * No other new particle (75%) -> true * Proton-lead-collisions (75%): This is an interesting prediction. The collisions took place, but in september. and LHC plans to collide more in february. As I posted my prediction, such a deviation from the plan was somewhere at "other things I don't even think about", therefore I did not care about a precise definition of "end of 2012". Open to interpretations. From the other comment with predictions: * The discovery of at least one planet with less than 150% of earth's radius within the habitable zone around a main-sequence star will be presented in 2012: 75% (+"with Kepler": 70%) -> wrong
4Thomas9yThis is great. You have predictions quite opposite to mines and we will see who is more right quite clearly. I wish there was more dueling predictions.
0mfb9yThis already became true, even if we don't know the size (or even the direction) of the effect yet. After hearing a talk of an ATLAS higgs researcher, an update lowered my higgs expectations a bit: ATLAS and CMS will present a signal signifiance (local and global) of 5 sigma with the data of (2011+)2012 in combination at some time in the future: 85% With a presentation of results (and 5 sigma, from any dataset) in 2012: 70%
1Thomas8yI was wrong. Was "seen indirectly". Exceeded my expectations.
1FiftyTwo9yQuibble, presumably you mean neutrinos will be proven to be travelling faster than speed of light?
1Thomas9yNot proven. The next experiment(s) in 2012 will say the same as those of 2011 and earlier. Still, the result will not be widely accepted as a proof. And I give another prediction. Several "Earth like planets" will be in the media. And maybe a few Higgs "near sightings".
0Thomas8yThere were, sure. And the standard phrase "may be more habitable planets than previously thought" was also there. That is exactly what has happened.
0Luke_A_Somers9y"In the media" needs clarification. And what would qualify as a 'near sighting'?? If the effect we've seen is really due to that, then thousands of events have already involved it.
0Thomas9yDoes it? It was "in the media" in December 2011. LHC: Higgs boson 'may have been glimpsed' []
1Luke_A_Somers9yMany media outlets are sufficiently marginal that whether they qualify as 'in the media' would require clarification. The BBC, obviously, is not one such.
0mfb9yAny major higgs update from ATLAS and CMS will be present in the media (including BBC), and they will give at least one update during the year (probably 1-2 in summer and one in december, similar to 2011). The discovery of at least one planet with less than 150% of earth's radius within the habitable zone around a main-sequence star will be presented in 2012: 75% (+"with Kepler": 70%) Note that this may be the best in terms of "there can be life" which we can measure with current telescopes, as long as there is no life which influences the planet in a major way (e.g. changes its atmospheric composition)
9wedrifid9yOf all the things to have a prediction market on the future value of something traded on a market seems among the least useful. If my prediction regarding the above was positive then I would bet by buying a lot of bitcoins (which are currently priced below the lower bound).
2gwern9yIndeed. In kiba's case, he's holding onto around 1000 or so bitcoins and doesn't have any cash to spare for buying more. (Personally, I think he's dangerously undiversified and should - at the very least - have sell orders in at 5 or 10 bucks.)
-2MixedNuts9yEr, you know what options are, right?
1wedrifid9yRoughly speaking... part of the point.
3MixedNuts9yThat's a much stronger (in both senses) point! I asked the resident Person Who Knows Economics and got the following answers: * "Leave me alone, I gotta poop." * Options give much greater leverage. The mysteries of option pricing are not spoken of to the uninitiated, but a 5% change in a stock's price is very roughly a 100% change in the prices of options to buy or sell 5% away from the initial price. I make no claim about the competence of the Person Who Knows Economics except that's it's greater than mine.
0wedrifid9yYes, they save you getting a loan. More important in this case is short selling. Options are still only useful if the price goes up. That gives the predictor something to do when their predictions are that the price will fall. If the actual market is sufficiently developed as to allow that kind of trade the prediction market becomes rather redundant.
0MixedNuts9yI fail to see what breaks the symmetry between put and call options.
2Luke_A_Somers9ys/up/in the direction of the option/
0FiftyTwo9yBitcoins will diminish in popularity %70 Bitcoins will be accepted by at least one major online trader of legal goods 5%
0gwern9y1. Be more specific; for your first one, I can think of at least X reasonable operationalizations (price, daily blockchain transactions, daily Mtgox transactions, value of either set of transactions (# times price), hashing power, # of nodes in the P2P/IRC network, Google search queries, /r/Bitcoin or Bitcoin forum activity, news coverage (eg. # of hits in the prior week in Google News)...) 2. What counts as 'major'?
0FiftyTwo9yOk. 1. Coverage in media will decrease 90% (the novelty value has worn off, so unless something major happens theres little reason to discuss them). - The daily average of trades involving private individuals will be lower in 2012 then it was in 2011. 70% 2. Originally I was thinking of something like "one a non-bitcoin enthusiast would probably have heard of." But for something more quantifiable lets say (top 100 retailers by online sales.)[ []]. 1%. Top 500 5%.
1gwern9y1. will be decided with Google News; [] 2. The daily average of what? Number of transactions on mtgox? 3. [] []
[-][anonymous]9y 2

If anyone wants a laugh, the BBC has a list of user-submitted predictions for 2112. The most amusing part is not the predictions themselves, but the "likelihood" the article gives them.

0gwern9y1. Mm. I don't think I can narrow this down to any degree - by many metrics, we already do this sort of mariculture. 2. [] 3. Too vague given all the possible Singularities and posthuman scenarios 4. [] 5. [] 6. Too hard to define what is a currency 7. Too vague - what is augmentation? 8. [] 9. [] 10. [] 11. [] 12. Too vague, what is 'lead'? 13. [] 14. Too vague, what is routinely? Seems pretty routine now... 15. Too vague 16. I'd like to register a low confidence prediction here, but... which deserts? Deserts usually shift. (This wouldn't be hard - for example, a prediction that the Sahara will shrink [].) 17. Too vague 18. [] 19. Too vague 20. Too vague
0Solvent9yOh dear.

For anyone who wants to make predictions that you don't want to make public, I just sent a letter to my future self on, and you might want to consider doing the same.

1gwern9yAlternately, one makes the predictions on but just checks "Keep this prediction private."

SOPA will not pass congress. 75%

7[anonymous]9ySOPA will return in some form and cause another internet uproar: 50% EDIT: Let's make this independent of other bets: Another attempted internet blacklist bill will cause an uproar in 2012. By 'another' I mean not the current version of SOPA currently being processed.
0[anonymous]9yIs the 50% a conjunction of it not passing and then returning to cause an uproar, or is it conditional on it not passing?

I quite like prediction that Sean Carrol made on his blog. So much so, I will adopt them in full. They are, after all, based on Science!

  1. Freely-falling objects will accelerate toward the ground at an approximately constant rate, up to corrections due to air resistance.

  2. Of all the Radium-226 nuclei on the Earth today, 0.04% will decay by the end of the year.

  3. A line drawn between any planet (or even dwarf planet) and the Sun will sweep out equal areas in equal times.

  4. Hurricanes in the Northern hemisphere will rotate counterclockwise as seen from above.

... (read more)
4MileyCyrus9yDeath, taxes.
0FiftyTwo9yAll of these are contingent on the degree of certainty the available evidence allows us to have in the theories that predict these results. I don't think there's any degree of evidence that would make a 100% prediction rational. (To illustrate, consider independently the probabilities that all physicists are part of a conspiracy, supernatural entities exist and/or we live in a simulation.) I realise this was probably meant flippantly, but there is a serious point to be made about confusing 'the best estimates based on our currently available knowledge and theory' and 'immutable laws of the universe.'
0dbaupp9yYep! [] :)

Ron Paul runs as an Independent or third party. 20% Obama reelected. 60% IF Obama reelected, white male goes on a shooting spree citing political climate as motivation. (Ignore this prediction if Obama not reelected.) 10% The men's rights movement is mentioned in a Time or Newsweek article. 5% Dark Knight Rises gets 50-85% on Rotten Tomatoes. (Good, but not as good as Dark Knight) 60% New Michael Jackson song released posthumously. 20% Chris Brown arrested on new domestic violence charges. 20%

4Jayson_Virissimo9y* If Obama is re-elected, then a white male will go on a “shooting spree” and the shooter will mention the “political climate” as a motivating factor. If the antecedent proposition is false, then this prediction will be withdrawn. [] * The mens’ rights movement will be mentioned by name in a Time or Newsweek article sometime during 2012. [] * Dark Knight Rises will be released in 2012 and will obtain Rotten Tomotoes score of at equal to or greater than 50% and equal or less than 85%. [] * A previously unreleased song by Michael Jackson will be released sometime before 2013. [] * Chris Brown will be arrested for assault, domestic violence, or criminal damage before 2013. [] Any complaints with my interpretation of your prediction statements?
2MileyCyrus9yLooks great, thanks for figuring out the formatting.
2Jayson_Virissimo9yThe ones I didn't add were already on PredictionBook or had a close substitute that was.
0orthonormal9yISTM that a shooter mentioning the political climate is significantly more likely than the shooter "mentioning the 'political climate' ". I think that quote marks mean exact quotes there.
-4CharlieSheen9yObama reelected. 60% IF Obama NOT reelected, riots occur in several urban centres, the vast (over 90%) majority of the rioters are black males and females. 80% Michael Jackson song released. 10% Chris Brown arrested on new domestic violence charges. 5%
2TheOtherDave9yThe "90+% of rioters are X and females" part of this prediction really intrigues me. Do you have a related expectation about just females?
1CharlieSheen9yAnd actually yes, I assign a very low probability to all (defined here as over 95%) female mob less than 1%, an all male one (defined again as 95%+) still has low odds but I'd put it at 30% in at least one city in the above scenario. But to be honest I used the terminology to mirror. I did this because wanted to check out how it would do karma wise compared to the parent prediction.
0TheOtherDave9yAh, I see. Just to clarify, what I'd actually meant was, given a 60% confidence of a riot with >90% (black males + females), what are your expectations about the % of females. (I worded the question atrociously, my apologies.) But given your actual motivation for the prediction, it's kind of moot.
0CharlieSheen9yAbout 20% to 30%.

Do you need to have an actual probability? Do you have to bet anything to post predictions? Do you have to be on

Because this seems cool, but I'm not sure...?

4TheOtherDave9yDunno if there are particular rules for this thread, but in general we encourage predictions to have confidence intervals associated with them. No bets needed, account not required.
0orthonormal9yYou can predict however you like. Predictions with numbers are preferred, but not required. There's a fairly good chance that gwern will make a PredictionBook post out of one of your numeric predictions.

gwern, a nitpick on "So I applied this heuristic: what does the existence of an 130 year-old in 2025 imply about people in 2011? Well, if someone is 130 in 2025, then that implies that are now 116 years old (130-(2025-2011)). Then I looked up the oldest person in the world: Besse Cooper, aged 115 years old."

It's quite plausible that records will turn up within the next 13 years to show that someone is 116 years old now.

5gwern9yIs it? Could you name some previous instances where records turned up in the past few decades for a supercentenarian where the new claim was accepted and didn't look like a scam?
0NancyLebovitz9yFair enough. I haven't heard of any cases-- I was just going on a hypothesis that records tend to be incomplete, and more so further back.On the other hand, incomplete records means that proof that a record is solidly attached to a person is also hard to come by.
6gwern9yAnd further, the older you are, the more likely you are to be noted for being old. There are multiple studies and institutions dedicated to studying centenarians, and the more time passes, the less likely they will to have missed a genuine candidate. So at this point, you should expect that anyone claiming to be 116 to be fraudulent, or unverifiable at best (especially given the well-known tendency of humans to make up their age or lose a year - one interesting bit in Farewell to Alms was a short discussion of how historians estimate literacy in the deep past by statistically checking how many cemeteries or other memorials claim someone died at a suspiciously round age, and the more statistical irregularity, the less literacy and good record-keeping).

Obama will win in November 2012.

P=~.9 (that is ninety percent!)

90%? I think you need to read some Nate Silver. (Also, existing prediction.)

Thank you for the link to Silver's piece. I followed 538 in 2008 but I had not looked at it in awhile. Obviously .9 is far too high.

9[anonymous]9yUpvoted for updating.
6taw9yIntrade gives him barely above 50% chance, so you can make some money fast if you really believe your prediction.
7APMason9yAnd it's correct.
2wedrifid9yI want to make a bet at those odds. Mostly based on gwern's reply.

my predictions: at the end of the year 2012

self (*)

  • I'll log more than 1460 work hours in my logging tool for the year:70%

  • I can accurately describe myself as a hard worker. 60%

  • I weight below 100kg (220 pound) end of year: 30%

  • I'll get the big scale project one of my teams was applying for: 20%

  • I'll severely improve in the art that shall not be named: 60%

  • I finish university:60%

  • I still am involved in my goal club: 75%

  • I will have experienced credit card fraud: 5%

  • I will still follow my current diet regime (no alcohol, reduced sugar, no cola): 9

... (read more)
4MartinB8yAnd now the scoring: No, just 612,5 == 42% of the planned minimum. Not quite there yet. No. No. No. No. Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. Yes. Probably. Difficult to score. Yes, but that was close. Yes. Yes No. Kind of. Hard to score. Yes (61 atm) Yes. No (15 atm) Yes Hard to score, probably true. No. No. To difficult to score yet. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Not applicable. (Also probably wrong) Yes. No. I am miscalibrated with the edgier numbers!

Methods of Rationality updates - will there be any?

Yes. But not enough to make it feel like the story is moving towards a conclusion.

medical advances

They will be incremental, enough so that very, very few people will notice any practical impact on their lives. Some advances, however, will be accompanied by a great deal of hype. Evidence will emerge that some treatments which we think work now do not in fact work.

signing up for cryonics?

I will continue to believe cryonics is something I would sign up for if I had money to spare, but will also con... (read more)

If the Indianapolis Colts draft Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning will not play in another NFL sanctioned game. 75%

3TimS8yFAIL - Massive Overconfidence.

I guess I might as well roll the dice. I'm just going to throw out predictions, not give percent probabilities, because I'm not entirely certain where I'd pull the numbers out of (besides the usual place, heh).

  • SOPA will pass, in the first quarter of the year, in its current form or something very much like it.
  • The public outcry about SOPA will die down to negligible levels by the end of the year (say, the second half of December 2012).
  • Armed hostilities between Israel and its neighbours in the Middle East will continue throughout the year, with interval
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0gwern9y1. [] and [] are close 2. Not recording; it's not going to pass, so of course the public outcry will die down. 3. ? I wasn't aware Israel was at war 4. [] 5. []
0Bugmaster9yLooks like I was wrong about SOPA. I'm pretty happy to be wrong in this case ! As for Israel at war, the reason I said "armed hostilities" instead is exactly because Israel is not formally at war with anyone (that I know of). That's very different from being at peace, though.
0wedrifid9yI thought they'd been at war for the last 4k years!

There will be at least one believable claim that methane clathrates are being released, rendering climate treaties somewhat irrelevant: 30%

One or more countries will leave the EU monetary union: 50%

0MixedNuts9yYou mean leaving the union, not the Euro zone, right? I'll give you 1.5:1 odds (I'm taking the side "No one leaves").
0Baughn9yNo, sorry, I meant the Euro zone. :P
0dbaupp9yIs does this include both voluntarily leaving and being forced out?
0Baughn9yIt includes both.
0MartinB9yI would bet against that.

The birthrate in September 2013 will be higher than in September 2012.

6Prismattic9yWorldwide? US?

The Super Bowl will not be Packers over Patriots in February 2012.

P=~.8 (80%)

Off the shelf HUD like computer (wearable display) comes out - 30%

Made by Google - 50%

Made by Apple - 40%

Other - 10 %

4Kevin9yI think you're underestimating other here... I think there are lots of scenarios where a tiny start-up makes a barely functional and ugly HUD a good year or two before Apple comes out with those obnoxious sunglasses with glowing apples on them that we're going to have to deal with everyone walking around wearing from here to the Singularity (or at least from here to smart contact lenses). The technology is out there though not at all mature, it's mostly a software problem now.
0Dr_Manhattan9yMy main argument is that economic forces are such that major player will buy out the small ones before they go mainstream. This video just came out today, I think it confirms this line of reasoning. []
3Solvent9yUm, those last three probabilities add up to 110%.
0Dr_Manhattan9yFixed, thanks
-1ema9ythey don't exclude each other.
0Dr_Manhattan9yUpdate 2: []
0Dr_Manhattan9yUpdate: []
0Kevin9y [] [] Available now! Looks like a win for "other". Though built on Android.
0Dr_Manhattan9yI was aware of these, but considered them 'specialized equipment" This is closer [] but is not see - through eyewear.
0Douglas_Knight9ySimilar products were available from this company at the end of 2010 [] .
0Kevin9y"Limited release" though, I think wide availability is pretty recent. They're now off the shelf to the point of being on Amazon.
0Kevin9yHUD like computer? You mean with a wearable display?
0Dr_Manhattan9yYes, thanks, I added clarification.

I'm standing by my 2011 prediction:

Wind power will provide more actual electricity than nuclear power by 2021, 80%

I could probably nudge probabilities one way or another if I checked extra year's worth of information, but since I didn't I have no idea which way it will go.

1occlude9yIs that a worldwide prediction?
-2taw9yYes, that should be understood unless explicitly stated otherwise.