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New Year's Predictions Thread

18 Post author: MichaelVassar 30 December 2009 09:39PM

I would like to propose this as a thread for people to write in their predictions for the next year and the next decade, when practical with probabilities attached. I'll probably make some in the comments.

Comments (429)

Comment author: MichaelVassar 30 December 2009 10:56:58PM 17 points [-]

A killer application for augmented reality is likely to be the integration of communication channels. Today's, cellular phones annoy people with constant accountability and stress, not to mention spotty coverage, but if a HUD relay over life can display text messages as they are sent and invite fluid shifts to voice conversation. When video is engaged and shared, people could also see what their potential conversation partner is doing prior to requesting attention, giving distributed social life some of the fluidity and contextual awareness of natural social life. These sorts of benefits will motivate the teenagers of 2020 to broadcast much of their lives and to interpret the absence of their friend's data streams as a low intensity request not to call. Archival will at first be a secondary but relatively minor benefit from the technology, but will ultimately widen the divide between public and private life, a disaster for privacy advocates but a boon for academic science (by normalizing the publication of all data). Paranormal beliefs will also tend to decline, as the failure to record paranormal events and the fallibility of memory both become more glaring.

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 01 January 2010 04:19:53PM *  2 points [-]

Robin Hanson makes a similar prediction in 'Enhancing Our Truth Orientation' (pp. 362-363):

Humans have long worked to document their lives, inventing gadgets to aid in writing and recording, concepts and conventions to make what we say meaningful and comparable, and social institutions to let us coordinate in monitoring and verifying our documentation. It is harder to lie, and so to self-deceive, about documented events. [...] Many lament, and some celebrate (Brin, 1998), a coming ‘‘surveillance society.’’ Most web pages and email are already archived, and it is now feasible and cheap for individuals to make audio recordings of their entire lives. It will soon be feasible to make full video recordings as well. Add to this recordings by security cameras in stores and business, and most physical actions in public spaces may soon be a matter of public record. Private spaces will similarly be a matter of at least private record.

Comment author: whpearson 31 December 2009 08:38:10PM 2 points [-]

On a AR theme I think there will be a high level language created within ten years for AR that will try to make the following accessible

  • Pulling info off the Internet
  • Machine vision
  • Precise overlay rendering

People will want to mash up different AR services in one "view" so you don't have to switch between them. There needs to be a lingua franca and HTML doesn't seem suited. I'd think it likely that it will be some XML variant.

Comment author: Unknowns 01 January 2010 08:05:56AM 1 point [-]

There are already plenty of supposedly "paranormal" events recorded on Youtube, as well as elsewhere. With the increase of recording devices, many more such things will be recorded, and paranormal beliefs will increase.

Comment author: gwern 17 August 2010 08:42:36AM 0 points [-]

Could you operationalize some of the many predictions and theories embedded in this comment? How would one judge all this? (AR apps like Foursquare are already fairly popular but don't much resemble traditional theories of what AR would look like.)

Comment author: Vladimir_Golovin 01 January 2010 02:59:10PM *  12 points [-]

I'm 90% confident that the cinematic uncanny valley will be crossed in the next decade. The number applies to movies only, it doesn't apply to humanoid robots (1%) and video game characters (5%).

Edit: After posting this, I thought that my 90% estimate was underconfident, but then I remembered that we started the decade with Jar-Jar Binks and Gollum, and it took us almost ten years to reach the level of Emily and Jake Sully.

Comment author: James_K 02 January 2010 07:28:45AM 5 points [-]

Is there a reason Avatar doesn't count as crossing the threshold already?

Comment author: stevage 02 January 2010 09:46:12AM 4 points [-]

Because the giant blue Na'vi people are not human.

Comment author: timtyler 02 January 2010 11:14:07AM 8 points [-]

You mean you didn't notice the shots with the simulated humans in Avatar? ;-)

Comment author: Vladimir_Golovin 03 January 2010 09:13:02AM 3 points [-]

Avatar and Digital Emily are the reasons why I'm so confident. Digital actors in Avatar are very impressive, and as a (former) CG nerd I do think that Avatar has crossed the valley -- or at least found the way across it -- I just don't think that this is proof enough for general audience and critics.

Comment author: MatthewB 03 January 2010 09:33:11AM 4 points [-]

I think before the critics will be satisfied, one would have to make an entirely CGI film that wasn't Sci Fi, or fantastic in its setting or characters.

Something like a Western that had Clint Eastwood & Lee Van Cleef from their Sergio Leone Glory Days, alongside modern day Western Stars like Christian Bale, or.. That Australian Guy who was in 3:10 to Yuma. If we were to see CGI Movies, such as I mentioned, with the Avatar tech (or Digital Emily), then I am sure the critics and public would sit up and take notice (and immediately launch into how it was really not CGI at all, but really a conspiracy to hide immortality technology from the greater public).

Comment author: MatthewB 03 January 2010 09:29:37AM 4 points [-]

You don't think that the Valley will be crossed for video games in the next ten years?

Considering how rapidly the digital technologies make it from big screen to small, I'm guessing that we can see the Uncanny Valley crossed (for Video Games) within 2 years of its closure in films (the vast majority of digital films having crossed it).

Part of the reason is that the software packages that do things like Digital Emily (mentioned below) are so easy to buy now. They no longer cost hundreds of thousands, as they did in the early days of CGI, and even huge packages like AutoDesk, which used to sell for $25,000, now can be had for only $5,000. And, those packages can be had for a similar price. That is peanuts when compared to the cost of the people who run that software.

Comment author: Christian_Szegedy 06 January 2010 08:03:48PM 1 point [-]

I agree with you. The uncanny valley refers to rendering human actors only. It is not necessary to render a whole movie from scratch. It is much more work, but only work.

IMO, The Life of Benjamin Button was the first movie that managed to cross the valley.

Comment author: Bindbreaker 02 January 2010 10:09:38AM 2 points [-]

In a way, the uncanny valley has already been crossed-- video game characters in some games are sufficiently humanlike that I hesitate to kill them.

Comment author: Vladimir_Golovin 03 January 2010 10:04:04AM *  2 points [-]

I once watched a video of an Iraqi sniper at work, and it was disturbingly similar to what I see in realistic military video games (I don't play them myself, but I've seen a couple.)

Comment author: dfranke 01 January 2010 08:43:21PM 2 points [-]

Why such a big gulf between your confidence for cinema and your confidence for video games?

Comment author: Vladimir_Golovin 01 January 2010 09:01:15PM *  7 points [-]

Movies are 'pre-computed' so you can use a real human actor as a data source for animations, plus you have enough editing time to spot and iron out any glitches, but in a video game facial animations are generated on-the-fly, so all you can use is a model that perfectly captures human facial behavior. I don't think that it can be realistically imitated by blending between pre-recorded animations like it's done today with mo-cap animations -- e.g. you can't pre-record eye movement for a game character.

As for the robots, they are also real-time, AND they would need muscle / eye / face movement implemented physically (as a machine, not just software), hence the lower confidence level.

Comment author: gwern 21 August 2010 09:21:01AM 1 point [-]

How would you verify a crossing of the uncanny valley? A movie critic invoking it by name and saying a movie doesn't trigger it?

Comment author: Vladimir_Golovin 21 August 2010 11:19:16AM 3 points [-]

An ideal indicator would be a regular movie or trailer screening where the audience failed to detect a synthetic actor who (who?) played a lead role, or at least had significant screen time during the screening.

Comment author: timtyler 21 August 2010 11:34:08AM 1 point [-]

There isn't much financial incentive to CGI a human - if they are just acting like a regular human. That's what actors are for.

Comment author: gwern 21 August 2010 11:04:52PM 2 points [-]

I suppose Avatar is a case in point - it's worth CGIfying human actors because otherwise they would be totally out of place in the SF environment which is completely CGI.

Comment author: timtyler 22 August 2010 07:21:32AM 1 point [-]

''There are a number of shots of CGI humans,'' James Cameron says. ''The shots of [Stephen Lang] in an AMP suit, for instance — those are completely CG. But there's a threshold of proximity to the camera that we didn't feel comfortable going beyond. We didn't get too close.''

Comment author: xamdam 02 July 2010 05:39:10PM 1 point [-]

Interesting, it seems that they are currently ahead with image synthesis than voice/speech synthesis.

Comment author: MichaelVassar 30 December 2009 10:37:37PM 9 points [-]

My second prediction is that the largest area of impact from technological change over the next decade will come from increasing communications bandwidth. Supercomputers a hundred times more powerful than those that exist today don't look revolutionary, while ubiquitous ultra-cheap wireless broadband makes storage and processing power less important. Improvements in small scale energy storage, tech transfer from e-paper and lower power computer chips will probably help make portable personal computers more energy efficient, but for always-on augmented reality (and its sister-tech robotics) in areas with ubiquitous broadband computing off-site is the way to go.

Comment author: sketerpot 31 December 2009 02:48:37AM 4 points [-]

Latency worries me, though. Bandwidth has been improving a lot faster than latency for a while now. For always-on augmented reality, I think that we're going to need some seriously more power-efficient computing so we can do latency-limited tasks locally. (Also, communication takes energy too -- often more than computation.)

Good news on that, by the way: modern embedded computer architecture and manufacturing techniques are going in the right direction for this. 3D integration will allow shorter wires, making all digital logic much more power efficient. Network-on-chip architectures will make it easier to incorporate special-purpose hardware for image recognition and such. And if you stick the memory right on top of your processor, that goes a long way to speeding it up and cutting down on energy used per operation. If you want to get even more radical, you could try something like bit-serial asynchronous processors (PDF) or something even stranger.

</nerding-out>

Comment author: orthonormal 30 December 2009 11:38:12PM 3 points [-]

Agree on the trend, but I'd put significant odds on some (as yet unexpected) trend being "the largest area of impact" in retrospect.

Comment author: cabalamat 01 January 2010 06:58:38PM 2 points [-]

My second prediction is that the largest area of impact from technological change over the next decade will come from increasing communications bandwidth.

And distributed to more people. >60% of people will have at least 1 Mb/s internet access by 2020 (75%).

Comment author: timtyler 31 December 2009 09:53:33AM 1 point [-]

Do you have any ideas about how the scale of the impact from various different technological changes should be measured in this context? As far as I know, there is no standard metric for this. So, I am not clear about what you mean.

Comment author: gwern 17 August 2010 08:38:10AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: mattnewport 31 December 2009 01:21:29PM 6 points [-]

Next Year

  • Holiday retail sales will be below consensus forecasts leading to some market turmoil in the early part of the year as the 'recovery' starts to look shaky (70%).
  • A developed country will suffer a currency crisis - most likely either the UK, US or one of the weaker Eurozone economies (60%).
  • A new round of bank failures and financial turmoil as the wave of Option ARM mortgage resets starts to hit and commercial real estate collapses including at least one major bank failure (a 'too big to fail' bank) (75%).
  • A major terrorist attack in the US (50%) most likely with a connection to Pakistan. The response will be disproportionate to the magnitude of the attack (99%).
  • Apple will launch a tablet and will aim to do for print media what it has done for music (80%).
  • Democrats will lose seats in Congress and the Senate in the elections but Republicans will not gain control of either house (70%).
  • One or more developed countries will see significant civil unrest due to ongoing problems with the economy (50%).

Next Decade

  • US will undergo a severe currency crisis (more likely) or sovereign default (less likely) (75%).
  • Developed countries' welfare states will begin to collapse (state retirement and unemployment benefits and health care will be severely curtailed or eliminated in more than one developed country) (75%).
  • UK will undergo a severe currency crisis or sovereign default (90%).
  • One or more countries will drop out of the Euro or the entire system will collapse (75%).
  • A US state will secede (30%).
Comment author: RolfAndreassen 31 December 2009 08:43:28PM 9 points [-]
  • A US state will secede (30%).

I will take a bet on this, if you like. Also, did you perhaps mean "attempt to secede", or are you predicting actual success? I'll take the bet either way.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 05 January 2010 05:50:51AM 1 point [-]
Comment author: LucasSloan 05 January 2010 06:25:15AM 1 point [-]

Perhaps a vote goes through the state legislature in favor of secession?

Comment author: mattnewport 06 January 2010 07:35:21AM 0 points [-]

On further reflection I think I need to revise my estimate down somewhat. Thinking on it further my 30% estimate is conditional on general trends that I think are more likely than not to occur but I did not correctly incorporate them into the estimate for secession. I think 10-15% is probably a better estimate taking that into account.

I think the political pressure for secession will stem from an extended period of economic weakness in the US and widespread fiscal crises in states like California and New York. If, as seems likely, federal aid is seen to go disproportionately to certain states that have the most troubled finances then the states that feel they are losing out will begin to see secession as an attractive option. My original estimate did not sufficiently account for the possibility that I am wrong about the economic troubles ahead however.

Comment author: ciphergoth 31 December 2009 01:24:05PM *  9 points [-]
  • A major terrorist attack in the US (50%) most likely with a connection to Pakistan.

I would be very happy to accept a bet with you on those odds if there's a way to sort it out. I'd define major as any attack with more than ten deaths.

Comment author: mattnewport 31 December 2009 01:29:38PM 3 points [-]

Do you have a PayPal account? I'd be willing to wager $50 USD to be paid within 2 weeks of Jan 1st 2011 if you're interested. I can provide my email address. That would rely on mutual trust but I don't know of any websites that can act as trusted intermediaries. Do you know of anything like that?

Comment author: ciphergoth 31 December 2009 01:44:17PM 5 points [-]

For $50, trust-based is OK with me.

How about this wording? "10 or more people will be killed on US soil during 2010 as the result of a deliberate attack by a party with a political goal, not overtly the act of any state". And if we hit an edge case where we disagree on whether this has been met, we'll do a poll here on LW and accept the results of the poll. Sound good?

Comment author: mattnewport 31 December 2009 03:20:06PM *  2 points [-]

I'd like to change the wording slightly to "on US soil, or on a flight to or from the US" if that's alright with you (even though I think an attack on an aircraft is less likely than an attack not involving aircraft). A poll here sounds like a fair way to resolve any dispute. I expect to still be reading/posting here fairly regularly in a year but I'm also happy to provide my email address if you want.

Comment author: Kevin 01 January 2010 12:25:24AM 3 points [-]

Do you think this was a terrorist attack? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hood_shooting

Comment author: GreenRoot 26 February 2010 06:36:56PM *  1 point [-]

The term "terrorism" is usually taken to mean an attack on civilians, though as a legal matter, this is far from settled. This definition would exclude the Fort Hood shooting, where the targets were soldiers. In any case, the bet is over non-state, politically motivated killing, which is broader and would include Fort Hood, I think.

Comment author: SilasBarta 05 March 2010 08:43:19PM *  1 point [-]

FWIW: The targets at Fort Hood were soldiers, but predictably-disarmed soldiers. In the area Hasan attacked, the soldiers he shot at aren't allowed to carry weapons or even have them within easy reach. So it's more analogous to shooting up a bar frequented by soldiers that takes your weapons at the door.

Plus, his attack was intended to spread terror, not to achieve a military objective (any weakness he inflicted on the army capability itself was probably a secondary goal).

Comment author: mattnewport 26 February 2010 06:54:53PM 0 points [-]

I was going to ask whether people would classify the recent attack on the IRS building in Texas as terrorism. It wouldn't qualify for the bet either way because there was only 1 casualty but I'm curious if people think it would count as terrorism?

Comment author: SilasBarta 26 February 2010 09:45:02PM *  4 points [-]

Bob Murphy's post, excerpting Glen Greenwald, summarizes my position very well. In short:

1) What Stack did meets the reasonable definition of terrorism: "deliberate use of violence against noncombatants to achieve political or social goals by inducing terror [in the opposing population]".

2) Most of what the government is classifying as terrorism, isn't. Fighting an invading army, no matter how unjust your cause may be, is not terrorism. Whetever injustice you may be committing does not additionally count as terrorism. Yet the label is being applied to insurgents.

3) It's in the government's interest, in taking over the terrorism label, that Stack not be called a terrorist, because he seems too (otherwise) normal. People want to think of terrorists as being "different"; a middle-aged, high-earning programmer ain't the image they have in mind, and if they did have that in mind, they'd be more resistant to make concessions in the name of fighting terrorism.

Comment author: ciphergoth 01 January 2010 08:45:23PM 1 point [-]

Excellent question! If such an attack happens this year, I'd say it wasn't a terrorist attack, but if mattnewport felt that it was I'd pay out without making a poll.

Comment author: mattnewport 06 January 2010 07:38:28AM 1 point [-]

I'd lean towards saying it was a terrorist attack but I'm sufficiently uncertain about how to classify it that I'd be happy to let a community poll settle the question.

Comment author: MrHen 31 December 2009 03:39:50PM 5 points [-]

I voted all the betting comments up because I think this is awesome. Does this kind of thing happen often here?

Comment author: ciphergoth 01 January 2010 11:46:14AM 2 points [-]

I occasionally offer people bets, but I think this has been the first time for me that the subject of contention is the right shape for betting to be a real possibility.

Comment author: gwern 03 August 2010 10:31:35AM *  1 point [-]

I've added this prediction to PredictionBook: http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1565 based on the description at http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Bets_registry

Comment author: gwern 02 August 2010 07:51:47AM 1 point [-]

So now that 2010 is more than half over with no attack that I know of, have you or mattnewport's opinions changed?

(I notice that domestic terrorism seems kind of spiky - quite a few in one year, and none the next: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Islamist_terrorism_in_the_United_States omits entire years but has several in one year, like 2007 or 2009.)

Comment author: ciphergoth 02 August 2010 03:15:30PM 0 points [-]

I am more confident of winning as you'd expect. But I'm finding it counterintuitive to adjust my subjective probability for losing the bet in proportion to the portion of the year that's lapsed, which means either my initial probability was too low or my current one is too high.

Comment author: gwern 03 August 2010 04:04:09AM *  1 point [-]

Incidentally, if you have a specific probability for an event occurring in 1 out of 365 days, say, or not occurring at all, you could try to calculate exactly what probability to give it occurring in the rest of the year (considering that it's August): http://www.xamuel.com/hope-function/ / http://www.gwern.net/docs/1994-falk

(Actually calculating the new probability is left as an exercise for the reader.)

Comment author: xamdam 02 July 2010 07:34:42PM 2 points [-]

A developed country will suffer a currency crisis - most likely either the UK, US or one of the weaker Eurozone economies (60%).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_European_sovereign_debt_crisis

Not bad.

Comment author: mattnewport 02 July 2010 08:38:02PM 4 points [-]

I guess now is a good time for a 6 month review of how the predictions in this thread are panning out.

Next Year

  • Holiday retail sales will be below consensus forecasts leading to some market turmoil in the early part of the year as the 'recovery' starts to look shaky (70%).

Retail sales were a bit worse than expected but despite a bit of a dip in the stock market in late Jan / early Feb it took longer than I expected for the recovery in the US to be seriously questioned. It's only in the last few weeks that talk of a double dip recession has become really widespread. The problems in Europe and more recently in China brought the global recovery into question a bit earlier but overall the jury is still out. I think I could argue that this prediction was correct as written but I was expecting more problems earlier in the year.

  • A developed country will suffer a currency crisis - most likely either the UK, US or one of the weaker Eurozone economies (60%).

I think the problems in Greece (and to a lesser extent Spain and Portugal) and the resulting turmoil in the Euro are sufficient to say this prediction was correct. The UK pound has also had a rough time but in both cases 'currency crisis' could still be argued. I expect further problems before the year is out.

  • A new round of bank failures and financial turmoil as the wave of Option ARM mortgage resets starts to hit and commercial real estate collapses including at least one major bank failure (a 'too big to fail' bank) (75%).

Hasn't happened yet. Option ARM resets will be picking up through the second half of the year so I still expect problems from that. A little less confident that it will mean a major bank failure - that is somewhat dependent on the political climate as well.

  • A major terrorist attack in the US (50%) most likely with a connection to Pakistan. The response will be disproportionate to the magnitude of the attack (99%).

The attempted bombing in Times Square appears to have had a Pakistan link. It can't really be called a 'major' attack however. I still think there is a fair chance of this happening before the year is out but odds are a little lower (my estimate of how incompetent most terrorists are has increased a little).

  • Apple will launch a tablet and will aim to do for print media what it has done for music (80%).

The iPad and iBooks launch bear this out I think.

  • Democrats will lose seats in Congress and the Senate in the elections but Republicans will not gain control of either house (70%).

Won't know until November. I think the prediction is still reasonable.

  • One or more developed countries will see significant civil unrest due to ongoing problems with the economy (50%).

The riots and strikes in Greece and strikes in Spain arguably confirm this. The prediction is a little vague however and I was expecting somewhat more serious civil unrest than we've seen so far. It remains to be seen what will happen as the rest of the year unfolds.

Next Decade

  • US will undergo a severe currency crisis (more likely) or sovereign default (less likely) (75%).

No change here.

  • Developed countries' welfare states will begin to collapse (state retirement and unemployment benefits and health care will be severely curtailed or eliminated in more than one developed country) (75%).

Some early signs of this with retirement age increases and other austerity measures in Greece and elsewhere in Europe. I still expect to see a lot more of this before the decade is out.

  • UK will undergo a severe currency crisis or sovereign default (90%).

Odds on this down slightly I think - there's some evidence that the new government is serious about addressing the problems. Less evidence that they will succeed.

  • One or more countries will drop out of the Euro or the entire system will collapse (75%).

I think the problems here have been more widely recognized than when I wrote the prediction. My odds haven't changed much though.

  • A US state will secede (30%).

No change here. And it's secession week.

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 03 July 2010 03:56:37AM 4 points [-]

I still think there is a fair chance of [a major terrorist attack] happening before the year is out but odds are a little lower (my estimate of how incompetent most terrorists are has increased a little).

Shouldn't the odds go down by about half, just because half the year is used up?

Comment author: mattnewport 03 July 2010 04:10:06AM 3 points [-]

The failed Times Square attack raised my probability for attempts at attacks this year but lowered my probability that any attempted attacks would be effective enough to classify as 'major'. On balance I think the odds of a major attack in the remaining 6 months are lower than 50% at this point but events since my original prediction weigh into my estimate now and so it's not a simple matter of adjusting the odds based on elapsed time.

Comment author: mwengler 03 January 2011 09:17:54PM 1 point [-]
  • A developed country will suffer a currency crisis - most likely either the UK, US or one of the weaker Eurozone economies (60%).

I think the problems in Greece (and to a lesser extent Spain and Portugal) and the resulting turmoil in the Euro are sufficient to say this prediction was correct. The UK pound has also had a rough time but in both cases 'currency crisis' could still be argued. I expect further problems before the year is out.

I think this prediction has failed utterly. In the Euro zone, There are/were debt crises in Greece and Ireland, but the currency, the Euro itself did fine. A graph of the variation of the Euro against the US dollar shows no special variation in 2010 compared to its "typical" variations over the last decade. The pound maintained the value in 2010 that it had already fallen to in 2009, hardly even slightly adhering to a prediction about 2010.

Those were exciting predictions. Had you predicted a sovereign debt crisis in a developed country, you would have been right, and it would have been a much less exciting prediction than a currency crisis.

Comment author: mattnewport 04 January 2011 02:01:26PM 0 points [-]

There's room for debate whether we saw a true currency crisis in the Euro but 'this prediction has failed utterly' is overstating it. We saw unusually dramatic short term moves in the Euro in May and there was widespread talk about the future of the Euro being uncertain. Questions about the long term viability of the Euro continue to be raised.

I'd argue that charting any of the major currencies against gold indicates an ongoing loss of confidence in all of them - from this perspective the dollar and the euro have both declined in absolute value over the year while trading places in terms of relative value in response to changing perceptions of which one faces the biggest problems.

'Currency crisis' was in retrospect a somewhat ambiguous prediction to make since there is no clear criteria for establishing what constitutes one. I'd argue that the euro underwent the beginnings of a currency crisis in May but that the unprecedented intervention by the ECB forestalled a full blown currency crisis.

Comment author: mwengler 05 January 2011 04:36:19AM 0 points [-]

I looked at Gold vs Euro from your link over 10 years. It shows a ssteady decline since mid 2004, with no change in that trend to distinguish 2010 from 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, or 2005. It seems to me that if no special effects in currency vs currency or in currency vs gold can be seen in 2010 that the most rational label for that prediction would be "wrong." YMMV, but I don't see why it should. Would you accept "this prediction has failed" if I leave off the utterly?

Comment author: knb 02 January 2010 12:22:44AM *  2 points [-]

US states aren't allowed to secede. Not even Texas. The US government would lose so much prestige from the loss of a state, that they would never allow it. So it would require some kind of armed conflict that no one state could ever win.

Comment author: mattnewport 06 January 2010 07:43:23AM 1 point [-]

Are you really certain that the federal government would send the military in to prevent a state seceding if secession was clearly the democratic will of the people of the state? I wouldn't rule out the possibility but I think it would be an unlikely outcome.

Comment author: knb 08 January 2010 04:13:58AM 0 points [-]

I'm pretty certain the federal government will not take the blow of a state leaving in the next decade, at least. They might be slightly more likely to let a quirky, small state like Vermont or New Hampshire leave, since clamping down on a tiny state would look bad, and the loss would be negligible. But then they would set a dangerous precedent for more important possible secessionist states like Texas (Texans are somewhat nationalistic, though also often super-american/patriotic), New Mexico (majority-minority state) or Alaska (active secessionist movement).

Comment author: mattnewport 08 January 2010 05:29:36AM 1 point [-]

What exactly is the federal government going to do about it though? I think using the military to suppress a state that was attempting a peaceful secession would be very hard for the government to justify. It's a possibility but I think the probability is low that US troops would be deployed on US soil to prevent a state seceding. Plus I expect the federal government to have very major financial problems which will limit its ability to act.

Few people in 1982 would have predicted that the USSR would allow its constituent republics to secede peacefully within a decade.

Comment author: cabalamat 01 January 2010 06:41:59PM 1 point [-]

A US state will secede (30%).

I don't see that happening -- which one or ones do you think are most likely to leave?

Scotland may well leave the UK (10%), or the UK leave the EU (15%).

Comment author: mattnewport 06 January 2010 07:44:38AM 1 point [-]

Texas is probably the most likely but I can imagine a number of other possibilities. MatthewB's post above outlines a plausible case for California for example.

Comment author: MatthewB 06 January 2010 08:03:44AM 2 points [-]

Being from Texas (I was born in Texas, but moved to CA in my mid-20s), I agree with you.

I noticed, when I went to school in Europe in the mid 80s that people there acted as if Texas was almost a different country from the rest of the USA. It was also easy for Europeans to recognize. When a foreign citizen, in Europe, was asked where they were from, Texans would usually answer "Texas", yet if a person from Louisiana, Alabama, Montana, Idaho, or some other more obscure state attempted to explain where they were from in the terms of their home state, it would usually devolve to "I am from the Southern USA" or "I am from the Northwest/Midwest USA".

Only New York and California seemed to enjoy this same recognition in Europe.

But, for Texans, they would consider themselves from Texas, first, and the USA second. Whereas most of the other US citizens from other states seemed to identify as USA citizens first, and then by their state.

Texas has a really strong independence from the USA, and it is pretty much the only state with an active Federal movement (movement to recognize the state as its own Nation). California also have one, but it is not nearly as diverse nor as active as that in TX.

However, despite the strong state recognition of its citizens, I think that there are other states that might lead the pack in an attempt to secede. Most of the former Confederate States still seem to have Very deep grudges against the federal gov't, and when I lived in GA for a few years back in 91/92, I was stunned at how many people I encountered who really believed that the Civil War was still not finished, and that The South Shall Rise Again!

Many Republicans seem to be fomenting this sort of thinking as well, with things like the Tea Baggers, or trying to force the recognition of the USA as a Christian Nation

Comment author: orthonormal 02 January 2011 04:27:41PM 0 points [-]

Not badly calibrated for 2010 in retrospect, though I should have realized at the time that some of your conditional probabilities were crazy: there's virtually no chance that the Democrats would have held the House if there had been "a new round of bank failures and financial turmoil", unless that happened after the elections.

Comment author: mattnewport 05 March 2010 06:46:40PM 0 points [-]

One or more developed countries will see significant civil unrest due to ongoing problems with the economy (50%).

This is the sort of thing I was thinking of and expect to see more of.

Greek Protests

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 06 March 2010 05:47:22AM 3 points [-]

Haven't riots been going on in Greece pretty regularly? (eg, 11/2009) Did you put at 50% the chance that the riots in Greece would stop? Maybe it was reasonable to put at 50% the chance that the riots would stay at 2009 levels and 50% the chance that they would go back to 12/2008 levels, but it's not clear that "significant" should mean that.

Comment author: mattnewport 06 March 2010 10:05:27AM *  0 points [-]

Yes, Greece had riots in 2009. I expected increased civil unrest in developed countries in 2010. My impression is that there is more civil unrest in Greece now than there was last year but I don't know how to objectively measure that which makes me think I was not specific enough with my prediction in this case.

Since nobody took the other side of the bet it doesn't matter too much. I'm more interested in how my investments pan out as they represent real bets on my predictions - it's not much use being right if you can't turn it into profit.

Comment author: mattnewport 30 January 2010 08:00:42PM 0 points [-]

Apple will launch a tablet and will aim to do for print media what it has done for music (80%).

I'm going to call this a hit but it was pretty much a gimme. My 80% estimate may have been too low.

Comment author: mattnewport 14 January 2010 05:03:15PM *  0 points [-]

Next Year

  • Holiday retail sales will be below consensus forecasts leading to some market turmoil in the early part of the year as the 'recovery' starts to look shaky (70%).

U.S. Retail Sales Unexpectedly Fall After Bigger Gain

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Sales at U.S. retailers unexpectedly fell in December following a gain the prior month that was larger than previously estimated, signaling a consumer recovery will be uneven.

The 0.3 percent decrease came after a 1.8 percent jump the prior month, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The government last month calculated the November gain at 1.3 percent.

...

Retail sales were projected to rise 0.5 percent after an originally reported 1.3 percent gain in November, according to the median estimate of 80 economists in a separate Bloomberg survey. Forecasts ranged from no change to a gain of 1.2 percent.

I'm inclined to call this a confirmation of the first part of my prediction but in retrospect I could have been more specific as to what would constitute confirmation. As to the resulting market turmoil that constitutes the second half of my prediction, I'd say that's unconfirmed as yet and is also rather unspecific. I'm actually now betting real money on market turmoil by buying VXX which is a bet on increased volatility so I still stand by the second half of the prediction.

I'm going to attempt to continue posting updates on the state of my 1 year predictions as relevant news develops. This prediction exercise is only useful if outcomes are tracked.

Comment author: mattnewport 06 January 2010 07:59:55AM *  0 points [-]

One or more developed countries will see significant civil unrest due to ongoing problems with the economy (50%).

I'm not going to claim this [1] as a confirmation of that prediction but I expect to see a lot more of these kinds of demonstrations and on a larger scale. Flaming torches are just the start, the metaphorical pitchforks will come.

I'm curious what the response of the secret service would be to a group of demonstrators with flaming torches surrounding the White House.

[1] "Fire and ice: On Monday, hundreds of people gathered outside the residence of Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson in Reykjavik, where they held torches and delivered a petition asking him not to sign the controversial debt legislation."

Comment author: orthonormal 02 January 2010 06:00:56AM 13 points [-]

One word: subcultures.

I think we'll see an expansion to most of the First World of the trend we see in cities like San Francisco, where the Internet has allowed people to organize niche cultures (steampunk, furries, pyromaniacs, etc.) like never before. I think that, by and large, people would prefer to seek out a smaller culture based on a common idiosyncratic interest if it were an option, not least because rising in status there is often easier than getting noticed in the local mainstream culture. I think that the main reason the mainstream culture is presently so large, therefore, is because it's hard for a juggling enthusiast in Des Moines to find like-minded people.

I expect that over the next 10 years, more and more niche cultures will arise and begin to sprout their own characteristics, with the measurable effect that cultural products will have to be targeted more narrowly. I expect that the most popular books, music, etc. of the late 2010s will sell fewer copies in the US than the most popular books, music, etc. of the Aughts, but that total consumption of media will go up substantially as a thousand niche bands, niche fiction markets, etc. become the norm. I expect that high schoolers in 2020 will spend less social time with their classmates and more time with the groups they met through the Internet.

And I expect that the next generation of hipsters will find a way to be irritatingly disdainful of a thousand cultures at once.

Comment author: sketerpot 02 January 2010 06:42:30AM *  5 points [-]

So it's possible that, if we had a really huge, dense, wired city with excellent transportation, we would find a significant subculture of steampunk furries, or vampire gothic lolita hip-hop dance squads? Actually, this sounds like a lot like Tokyo.

And I expect that the next generation of hipsters will find a way to be irritatingly disdainful of a thousand cultures at once.

It's easy, really. Practice this phrase: "Man, what weirdos." You just have to selectively overlook the weirdness of your own subculture while recognizing and stigmatizing it in others. It's an elegant approach.

Comment author: Zack_M_Davis 02 January 2010 06:10:54AM *  12 points [-]

the Internet has allowed people to organize niche cultures (steampunk, furries, pyromaniacs, etc.)

You forgot us!

Comment author: gwern 23 August 2010 02:48:36PM 3 points [-]

What do you make of criticism that sales currently show the exact opposite trend?

Comment author: orthonormal 24 August 2010 05:57:03AM 2 points [-]

Thanks for the link! I didn't know there was already a version of this theory out there, and I didn't know the actual figures.

So what do I make of this data (assuming the veracity of the Wikipedia summary, since I'm not dedicated enough to read the papers)? Well, I'm surprised by it.

Comment author: gwern 24 August 2010 10:29:17AM 1 point [-]

I'm not especially surprised. Aside from possible confounding factors like the rise of Free & free stuff (strongest in subcultures) which obviously wouldn't get counted in commercial metrics, technological and economic development means that mass media can spread even further than Internet-borne stuff can. cue anecdotes about Mickey Mouse posters in African huts, etc.

The subcultures seem to me to appeal mostly to the restricted 1st World wealthier demographics that powered the mass media you are thinking of; one might caricature it as 'white' stuff. It makes sense that a subculture like anime/manga or FLOSS, which primarily is cannibalizing the 'white' market, can shrink ever more in percentage terms as the old 'white' stuff like Disney expand overseas into South America, Africa, Southeast Asia and so on.

If you had formulated your thesis in absolute numbers ('there will be more FLOSS enthusiasts in 2020 than 2010'), then I think you would be absolutely right. You might be able to get away with restricted areas too ('there will be more otaku in Japan in 2020 than 2010, despite a ~static population'). But nothing more.

Comment author: CannibalSmith 31 December 2009 12:47:39PM *  4 points [-]

I estimate 90% odds that Emotiv's EPOC will fail like the Segway did.

I have one of these puppies. It's the most fickle device I've laid my hands on. It's useless for anything except gaining nerd status points. Hey, do you guys want me to post a detailed review? :)

Comment author: knb 31 December 2009 02:25:27AM *  4 points [-]

Better than even odds that in 2020:

  1. GDP per capita at purchasing power parity for Singapore will be more than US$80,000 in 2008 dollars.

  2. GDP per capita for China (PRC), will be more than twice 2009 GDP

  3. Tourism to suborbital space will cost less than $50000.

Comment author: whpearson 30 December 2009 11:28:20PM *  4 points [-]

We will end the decade with some mobile energy storage system with an energy density close to or better than fat metabolism.

ETA: I mean in the context of electronics.

Comment author: Pfft 31 December 2009 09:35:18PM *  1 point [-]

From looking at the diagram, aren't we starting the decade with such a system (gasoline)?

Comment author: whpearson 31 December 2009 10:13:42PM 1 point [-]

You are the second person to mistake my intent. I meant in the field of mobile electronics. Take a look at where lithium ion is on this chart.

Comment author: gwern 17 August 2010 08:45:59AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: Unknowns 01 January 2010 08:17:04AM 3 points [-]

I predict a 10% chance that I win my bet with Eliezer in the next decade (the one about a transhuman intelligence being created not by Eliezer, not being deliberately created for Friendliness, and not destroying the world.)

Comment author: Baughn 01 January 2010 12:07:02PM 3 points [-]

I'll go ahead and claim a 98% chance that, if a transhuman, non-Friendly intelligence is created, it makes things worse. And an 80% chance that this is in a nonrecoverable way.

I kinda hope you're right, but I just don't see how.

Comment author: orthonormal 02 January 2011 04:32:00PM 0 points [-]

Considering that the bet includes "not destroying the world", the only fair way to do this type of bet (for money) is for you to give the other party $X now, and for them to give you $Y later if you turn out to be correct.

Comment author: Unknowns 04 January 2011 08:04:01AM 1 point [-]

That's exactly what happened; I gave Eliezer $10, and he will pay me $1000 when I win the bet.

Comment author: whpearson 30 December 2009 10:55:35PM 3 points [-]

For the next decade:

I'd bet about a 2:3 odds that energy consumption will grow on a par or less than population growth.

Any rise in average standard of living will come from making manufacturing/logistics more efficient, or a redistribution from the very rich to the less well off. There is still scope for increased efficiency by reducing the transport of people and more automation.

Comment author: orthonormal 30 December 2009 11:36:55PM 4 points [-]

I'd take the other side at those odds. Per capita energy expenditures in China are set to skyrocket as rural areas industrialize, and I expect the same of many Second World nations. I don't think increases in efficiency will dwarf that effect quite yet.

Comment author: whpearson 31 December 2009 12:05:05AM 2 points [-]

I'm basically betting that a short term lack of oil (as evidenced by reduced production in 2008 and high current price), will put a break on that expansion. Or the industrialization of china will only happen in if first would countries reduce their energy consumption to allow it, as they did in 2008.

Data from the BP energy review.

Comment author: orthonormal 31 December 2009 12:25:06AM 3 points [-]

Interesting consideration; but on the other hand, China isn't afraid to build nuclear power plants or burn coal.

Comment author: whpearson 31 December 2009 12:51:13AM 3 points [-]

An interesting article on china and energy. Nuclear has a lead time (optimistically ) of 3 years, so their prediction of 60-90 GWe won't be too far off. It actually looks like they are planning more wind than nuclear. I'm really curious where they expect the 500 GWe odd of energy they don't mention to come from. All coal? That'll be pretty dirty.

I was probably a little overconfident in my initial bet. I do expect the ratio of energy consumption growth to population growth to trend downwards though.

Comment author: sketerpot 31 December 2009 02:33:58AM *  5 points [-]

It actually looks like they are planning more wind than nuclear.

Wrong. (Well, a little bit right, but wrong in all the ways that matter.) According to the article you linked, they're planning to build about 60-90 GW of nuclear capacity (let's say 80 GW to simplify the arithmetic) and 100 GW of wind. But what we really care about is how much energy they get from those sources per year, and to find that, we have to multiply the peak power generation capacities by the capacity factor for each source.

Nuclear power has a capacity factor of at least 93% for the newer plant designs that China is building (or even for older plants after operators get experience), so we'll say that their average production is (80 GW) * 0.93 = 74.4 GW average.

Wind power has a capacity factor of around 21% right now. Since we're talking about 2020, i.e. The Future!!, let's assume they get it up to a whopping 30%. Their energy production from wind would come out to (100 GW) * 0.3 = 30 GW average, or less than half of their projected nuclear production.

The average power figures are much more meaningful than the capacity numbers, but the wind salesmen quote whatever numbers make them sound most impressive, and the news media report it. It's as ubiquitous as it is misleading.

Comment author: whpearson 31 December 2009 10:17:55AM 4 points [-]

Mea culpa. I forgot how misleading some of the energy numbers could be.

Comment author: orthonormal 31 December 2009 01:57:15AM 2 points [-]

The article estimates that China's electricity capacity will double from 2008 to 2020; it doesn't seem to list an estimate for electricity production, but I'd think it would trend in much the same way, significantly faster than China's (rapidly falling) population increase. Reading this article makes me even more eager than before to take the "over" at these odds.

Comment author: whpearson 31 December 2009 12:27:56PM *  4 points [-]

I'm rethinking my wager. To give you some information that I found. Which I should have looked at before.

Average energy consumption increase over 15 years to 2008 has been 2.13%. This is very choppy data it varies between 0.09% and 4.5%(2004 then trending downwards). This included a doubling on energy consumption by china in 7 years (2001-2008).

Average population growth is trending downwards and is at 1.1%.

I was probably putting too much weight on my own countries not very well thought out energy policy.

What odds would you give on energy consumption growth rate being lower for the next 10 years than the previous 10 (2.4%)?

Comment author: orthonormal 02 January 2010 01:28:59AM *  3 points [-]

Because of the Second World's larger growth rate (and the fact that they occupy a larger part of the total now), I think the odds of energy growth being lower than 2.4% are somewhat worse than even. I'm quite metauncertain; I don't think I'd actually bet unless someone were giving me 3:2 odds to bet the 'over', or 4:1 odds to bet the 'under'.

Comment author: gwern 17 August 2010 08:39:43AM 1 point [-]
Comment author: James_Miller 01 January 2010 05:34:47PM 6 points [-]

Within ten years either genetic manipulation or embryo selection will have been used on at least 10,000 babies in China to increase the babies’ expected intelligence- 75%.

Within ten years either genetic manipulation or embryo selection will have been used on at least 50% of Chinese babies to increase the babies’ expected intelligence- 15%.

Within ten years the SAT testing service will require students to take a blood test to prove they are not on cognitive enhancing drugs. – 40%

All of the major candidates for the 2016 presidential election will have had samples of their DNA taken and analyzed (perhaps without the candidates’ permission.) The results of the analysis for each candidate will be widely disseminated and will influence many peoples' voting decisions - 70%

While president, Obama will announce support for a VAT tax - 70%.

While president, Obama will announce support for means testing Social Security - 70%

Within ten years the U.S. repudiates its debt either officially or with an inflation rate of over 100% for one year - 20%.

Within five years the Israeli economy will have been devastated because many believe there is a high probability that an atomic bomb will someday be used against Israel – 30%

Within ten years there will be another $200 billion+ Wall Street Bailout - 80%

Comment author: gwern 21 August 2010 09:47:53AM *  6 points [-]
  1. http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1689
  2. http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1690
    I think you are on crack for this one. 15% ?! You seriously think there's a 15% chance that a embryo selection and/or genetic manipulation for IQ will be developed, commercialized, and turned into an infrastructure capable of modifying roughly 9 million pregnancies a year? Where the hell are all the technicians and doctors going to come from, for one thing? There's a long lead time for that sort of thing.
  3. http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1691
    Ditto - America doesn't have that many phlebotomists, and would go batshit over a Collegeboard requirement like that. There would have to be an enormous national outcry over nootropics, and there's zero sign of that, and tremendous takeup of drugs like modafinil. Even a urine or spit test would encounter tremendous opposition, and the Collegeboard has no incentive for such testing. (Cost, blame for false positives, and possibly dragging down scores which would earn it even more criticism. To name just the very most obvious negatives.)
  4. http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1696
    I think you forgot the part of your prediction where all the candidates went insane and agreed to such an incredibly status-lowering procedure, gave up all privacy, and completely forgot about how past candidates got away with not releasing all sorts of germane records.
  5. http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1576 (Not sure if your wording is exactly the same as Cowen's VAT prediction, but I figure it'll do.)
  6. http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1692
    I recently read a book on old age public policy; amidst the endless details and financial minutia, I was deeply impressed how many ways there were to effectively means-test, even inadvertently, without obviously being means-testing or having that name. Judging could be very difficult.
  7. http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1693
    With a probability that high, shouldn't you be desperately diversifying your personal finances overseas? Either fork of your prediction means major pain for US debt, equity, or cash holders.
  8. http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1694
    The odds of an Iranian bomb aren't that terribly high, much less such an outcome happening.
  9. http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1695
    Definitions here are an issue. Some forecasts are for 2-500 billion dollars in defaults on student loans, which likely would provoke another bailout. Would that count? Does a 0% Fed rate and >0% Treasury rate constitute an ongoing bailout? etc.

All in all, this is a set of predictions that makes me think that I really should go on Intrade. I did manage to double my money at the IEM; at the time I assumed it was because I got lucky on picking McCain and Obama for the nominations, but if this is the best a random LWer can do, even aware of biases, basic data, and the basics of probability...

Comment author: ciphergoth 01 January 2010 08:55:28PM *  6 points [-]

All of the major candidates for the 2016 presidential election will have had samples of their DNA taken and analyzed (perhaps without the candidates’ permission.) The results of the analysis for each candidate will be widely disseminated and will influence many peoples' voting decisions - 70%

Within five years the Israeli economy will have been devastated because many believe there is a high probability that an atomic bomb will someday be used against Israel – 30%

Within ten years there will be another $200 billion+ Wall Street Bailout - 80%

I'd take the other side on any of these if we can find a way to make it precise.

Comment author: James_K 02 January 2010 07:33:37AM *  3 points [-]

"While president, Obama will announce support for means testing Social Security - 70%"

I'd be wiling to take those odds, with some refinements.

Comment author: James_Miller 02 January 2010 04:54:26PM 2 points [-]

How about this - I win if before he leaves office I can point to a speech Obama gave in which he advocates means testing Social Security. Otherwise you win. The speech has to be given after today, so you don't fear this is some kind of trick.

If I win I get $100 from you. If you win I give you $233. But with these odds I'm indifferent to making the bet. So for me to be willing to bet I want you to agree that if Obama makes such a speech you have to pay me right away.

Comment author: James_K 03 January 2010 01:03:20AM 2 points [-]

That works for me, with one little change. The end of his term needs to be counted as the end of a presidential election he doesn't win, rather than the inauguration of his successor. This is because the reason I don't think its very likely is that the political effects on him would be dire, so if he does it as a lame duck president he has nothing to lose. I'm still willing to take the risk on his second term since even a second-term president is subject to some political forces.

And as a clarification, I take "means testing" to mean increasing or decreasing social security payouts based on a person's assets or income. It also has to apply to US citizens to count.

And since I'm not an American, I'd just like to confirm that the best is in US dollars. That works for me, and I assume it works for you too.

Comment author: James_Miller 03 January 2010 05:45:49PM 4 points [-]

OK, I accept - and yes the bet should be in U.S. dollars.

Please contact me at

EconomicProf@Yahoo.com so we can exchange addresses.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 31 December 2009 12:24:24AM 3 points [-]

I am 99% confident that AGI comparable to or better than a human, friendly or otherwise, will not be developed in the next ten years.

I am 75% confident that within ten years, the Bayesian paradigm of AGI will be just yet another more or less useful spinoff of the otherwise failed attempt to build AGI.

Comment author: timtyler 31 December 2009 09:35:25AM 2 points [-]

Shane Legg gives a 10% probability of that here:

http://www.churchofvirus.org/bbs/attachments/agi-prediction.png

My estimate here is a bit bigger - maybe around 15%:

http://alife.co.uk/essays/how_long_before_superintelligence/graphics/pdf_no_xp.png

You seem to be about ten times more confident than us. Is that down to greater knowledge - or overconfidence?

Comment author: RichardKennaway 31 December 2009 01:30:49PM 3 points [-]

You seem to be about ten times more confident than us. Is that down to greater knowledge - or overconfidence?

You seem to be about ten times less confident than me. Is that down to greater knowledge - or underconfidence?

Comment author: timtyler 31 December 2009 03:07:20PM *  2 points [-]

I'm not very confident - primarily because we are talking ten years out - and the future fairly rapidly turns into a fog of possibilities which makes it difficult to predict.

Which brings us back to why you seem so confident. What facts, or observations are the ones you find which provide the most compelling evidence that intelligent machines are at least ten years off. Indeed, how do you know that the NSA doesn't have such a machine chained up in its basement right now?

Comment author: RichardKennaway 31 December 2009 04:44:48PM *  7 points [-]

What facts, or observations are the ones you find which provide the most compelling evidence that intelligent machines are at least ten years off.

It hasn't worked in sixty years of trying, and I see nothing in the current revival to suggest they have any ideas that are likely to do any better. To be specific, I mean people such as Marcus Hutter, Shane Legg, Steve Omohundro, Ben Goertzel, and so on -- those are the names that come to me off the top of my head. And by their current ideas for AGI I mean Bayesian reasoning, algorithmic information theory, AIXI, Novamente, etc.

I don't think any of these people are stupid or crazy (which is why I don't mention Mentifex in the same breath as them), and I wouldn't try to persuade any of them out of what they are doing unless I had something demonstrably better, but I just don't believe that collection of ideas can be made to work. The fundamental thing that is lacking in AGI research, and always has been, is knowledge of how brains work. The basic ideas that people have tried can be classified as (1) crude imitation of the lowest-level anatomy (neural nets), (2) brute-forced mathematics (automated reasoning, logical or probabilistic), or (3) attempts to code up what it feels like to be a mind (the whole cognitive AI tradition).

Indeed, how do you know that the NSA doesn't have such a machine chained up in its basement right now?

My estimates are unaffected by hypothetical possibilities for which there is no evidence, and are protected against that lack of evidence.

Besides, the current state of the world is not suggestive of the presence of AIs in it.

ETA: But this is becoming a digression from the purpose of the thread.

Comment author: timtyler 31 December 2009 07:02:18PM 3 points [-]

Thanks for sharing. As previously mentioned, we share a generally negative impression of the chances of success in the next ten years.

However, it appears that I give more weight to the possibility that there are researchers within companies, within government organisations, or within other countries who are doing better than you suggest - or that there will be at some time over the next ten years. For example, Voss's estimate (from a year ago) was "8 years" - see: http://www.vimeo.com/3461663

We also appear to differ on our estimates of how important knowledge of how brains work will be. I think there is a good chance that it will not be very important.

Ignorance about NSA projects might not affect our estimates, but perhaps it should affect our confidence in them. An NSA intelligent agent might well remain hidden - on national security grounds. After all, if China's agent found out for sure that America had an agent too, who knows what might happen?

Comment author: PhilGoetz 31 December 2009 11:07:40PM 2 points [-]

I would guess that the NSA is more interested in quantum computing than in AI.

Comment author: Jack 01 January 2010 09:28:00AM 1 point [-]

The fundamental thing that is lacking in AGI research, and always has been, is knowledge of how brains work.

This is my sense as well. I also think there is a substantial limit on what we're likely to learn about the brain given that we can't study brain functionality with large scope, neuron-level definition, in real time given obvious ethical constraints. Does anyone know of any technologies on the horizon that could change this in the next ten years?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 01 January 2010 10:15:59AM 1 point [-]
Comment author: taw 02 January 2010 11:30:51PM 6 points [-]

From quote in that post:

"One of [the Middle Ages'] characteristics was that 'reasoning by analogy' was rampant; another characteristic was almost total intellectual stagnation, and we now see why the two go together.

There's no reason to spread such myths about medieval history.

The main characteristics of the Early Middle Ages were low population densities, very low urbanization rates, very low literacy rates, and almost zero lay literacy rates. Being in a reference class of times and places with such characteristics, it would be a miracle if any significant progress happened during Early Middle Ages.

High and Late Middle Ages on the other hand had plenty of technological and intellectual progress.

I'm much more surprised why dense, urbanized, and highly literate Roman Empire was so stagnant.

Comment author: Jawaka 05 January 2010 02:03:32PM 2 points [-]

China also springs to mind. I have listened to documentary about the Chinese empire and distinctly remember how advanced yet stagnant it seemed. At the time my explanation was authoritarianism.

Comment author: Jack 01 January 2010 12:19:04PM 1 point [-]

All that is fine.

But 1) I'm not sure anyone has a good grasp of what the properties we're trying to duplicate are. I'm sure some people think they do and it is possible someone has stumbled on to the answer but I'm not sure there is enough evidence to justify any claims of this sort. How exactly would someone figure out what general intelligence is without ever seeing it in action? The interior experience of being intelligent? Socialization with other intelligences? An analogy to computers?

2) Lets say we do have or can come up with a clear conception of what the AGI project is trying to accomplish without better neuroscience. It isn't then obvious to me that the way to create intelligence will be easy to derive without more neuroscience. Sure, from just from a conception of what flight is it is possible to come up with solutions to the problem of heavier than air flight. But for the most part humans are not this smart. Despite the ridiculous attempts at flight with flapping wings I suspect having birds to study --weigh, measure and see in action-- sped up the process significantly. Same goes for creating intelligence.

(Prediction: .9 probability you have considered both these objections and rejected them for good reason. And .6 you've published something that rebuts at least one of the above. :-)

Comment author: MatthewB 01 January 2010 02:42:16AM 2 points [-]

The NSA does have some scary machines chained in their "Basement," yet I doubt any of them approach AGI. All of them(that I am aware of - so, that would be 2) are geared toward some pretty straightforward real-time data mining, and I am told that the other important gizmos do pretty much the same thing (except with crypto).

I doubt that they have anything in the NSA (or other spooky agencies) that significantly outstrips many of the big names in Enterprise. After all, the Government does go to the same names to buy its supercomputers that everyone else does. It's just the code that would differ.

Comment author: timtyler 01 January 2010 10:48:19AM 2 points [-]

So: you have a hotline to the NSA, and they tell you about all their secret technology?!? This is one of the most secretive organisations ever! If you genuinely think you know what they are doing, that is probably because they have you totally hoodwinked.

Comment author: MatthewB 02 January 2010 12:02:19PM *  2 points [-]

Hardly a hotline... A long, long time ago, when I was very young, I wound up working with the NSA for about six months. I was supposed to have finished school and gone to work for them full time... But, I flaked when I discovered that I could get laid pretty easily (women seemed much more important than an education at the time).

I still keep in touch, and I have found that an awful lot of their work is not hard to find out about. They may have me hoodwinked, as my job was hoodwinking others. However, I don't usually spend my time with any of my former co-workers talking about stuff that they shouldn't be talking about. Most of it is about stuff that is out in the open, yet that most people don't care about, or don't know about (usually because it's dead boring to most people).

And, I am not aware that I have stumbled onto any secret technology. Just two machines that I found to be freakishly smart. One of them did stuff that Google can probably now do (image recognition), and I am pretty sure that the other used something very similar to Mathematica. I was really impressed by them, but then I also did not know that things like Mathematica existed at the time. At the time I saw them, I was told by my handler than they were "Nothing compared to the monsters in the garage."

Edit: Anyone may feel free to think that I am a nut-job if they wish. At this point, I have little to no proof of anything at all about my life due to the loss of everything I ever owned when my wife ran off. So, you may take my comments with a grain of salt until I am better known.

Comment author: gwern 18 August 2010 10:05:32AM 1 point [-]

I am 99% confident that AGI comparable to or better than a human, friendly or otherwise, will not be developed in the next ten years.

http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1670

I am 75% confident that within ten years, the Bayesian paradigm of AGI will be just yet another more or less useful spinoff of the otherwise failed attempt to build AGI.

I don't know how one would judge this and so haven't made a prediction for this one.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 18 August 2010 01:25:21PM 1 point [-]

Thanks for putting that up. I hadn't been aware of PredictionBook, so I've just made an account and posted a more precise prediction there myself.

Comment author: gwern 19 August 2010 04:07:18AM *  1 point [-]

Hopefully my comments and importation of predictions will lead to more PB awareness on LW.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 31 December 2009 11:05:31PM *  1 point [-]

Can you be more specific about what you mean by the Bayesian paradigm of AGI? Is it necessarily a subset of good-old-fashioned symbolic AI? In that case, it's been dead for years. But if not, I can't easily imagine how you're going to enforce Bayes' theorem; or what you're going to enforce it on.

Comment author: Morendil 02 January 2010 06:00:06PM *  3 points [-]

I expect that Brain-Computer Interfaces will make their way into consumer devices by the next decade, with disruptive consequences, once people become able to offload some auxiliary cognitive functions into these devices.

Call it 75% - I would be more than mildly surprised if it hadn't happened by 2020.

For what I have in mind, what counts as BCI is the ability to interact with a smartphone-like device in an inconspicuous manner, without using your hands.

My reasoning is similar to Michael Vassar's AR prediction, and based on the iPhone's success. That doesn't seem owed to any particular technological innovation; rather, Apple made things usable that were only previously feasible in the technical sense. A mobile device for searching the Web, finding out your GPS position and compass orientation, and communicating with others was technically feasible years ago. Making these features only slightly less awkward than previously has revealed a hidden demand for unsuspected usages, often combining old features in unexpected ways.

However, in many ways these interfaces are still primitive and awkward. "Sixth Sense" type interfaces are interesting, but still strike me as overly intrusive on others' personal space.

It would make sense to me to be able, say, to subvocalize a command such as "Show me the way to metro station X", then have my smartphone gently "tug" me in the right direction as I turn left and right, using a combination of compass and vibrations. This is only one scenario that strikes me as already easy to implement, requiring only some slightly greater integration of functionality.

I expect such things to be disruptive, because the more transparent the integration between our native cognitive abilities, and those provided by versatile external devices connected to the global network, the more we will effectively turn into "augmented humans".

When we merely have to think of a computation to have it performed externally and receive the result (visually or otherwise), we will be effectively smarter than we are now with calculators (and already essentially able, some would say, to achieve the same results).

I am not predicting with 75% probability that such augmentation will be pervasive by 2020, only that by then some newfangled gadget will have started to reveal hidden consumer demand for this kind of augmentation.

ETA: I don't mind this comment being downvoted, even as shorthand for "I disagree", but I'd be genuinely curious to know what flaws you're seeing in my thinking, or what facts you're aware of that make my degree of confidence seems way off.

Comment author: Morendil 16 September 2017 02:58:34PM 1 point [-]

By now this looks rather unlikely in the original time-frame, even though there are still encouraging hints from time to time.

Comment author: gwern 24 August 2010 11:07:10AM 1 point [-]

I'm not thrilled about your vagueness about what technologies count as a BCI. Little electrodes? The gaming device that came out last year or so got a lot of hype, but the gamers I've talked to who have actually used it were all deeply unimpressed. Voice recognition? Already here in niches, but not really popular.

If you can't think of what interfaces specifically*, then maybe you should phrase your prediction as a negative: 'by 2020, >50% of the smart cellphone market will use a non-gestural non-keyboard based interface' etc.

* and you really should be able to - just 9 years means that any possible tech has to have already been demonstrated in the lab and have a feasible route to commercialization; R&D isn't that fast a process, and neither is being good & cheap enough to take over the global market to the point of 'pervasive'

Comment author: Morendil 08 September 2010 10:01:12AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: Morendil 28 August 2010 06:37:23PM *  0 points [-]

Yep, electrodes, as in the gaming devices. Headsets is the form factor I have in mind, so not necessarily electrodes if this is to be believed. I don't want to commit to burdensome implementation details but voice isn't what I mean - it doesn't count as "unobtrusive" to my way of thinking.

I envision something where I can just form the thought "nearest MacDonalds" (ETA: or somehow bring up a menu selecting that among even a restricted set) without it being conspicuous for an outside observer, and get some form of feedback from the device leading me in the right direction. Visual overlay would work, but so would a physical tug.

Comment author: Morendil 05 June 2013 08:19:45PM 0 points [-]

Three and a half years in, this.

Comment author: shminux 05 June 2013 08:40:54PM 0 points [-]

Any updates to your original prediction?

Comment author: Morendil 30 November 2013 10:21:26AM 2 points [-]

Now this.

Comment author: Morendil 06 June 2013 06:10:35AM 0 points [-]

I think I've come round to Gwern's point of view - this is a bit too vague. The news item I posted makes me feel like we're still on track for it to happen, though I could be a few years off the mark. I might knock it down to 65% or so to account for uncertainty in timing.

Comment author: blogospheroid 02 January 2010 11:45:25AM 2 points [-]

Atleast one asian movie will exceed $400 mn in worldwide box office gross before the end of the decade.

It will most probably not be a wuxia movie. My guess of its genre is urban action or speculative fiction.

Comment author: rahul 03 January 2011 07:36:10AM 0 points [-]

I agree. I especially see a lot of convergence in present day mainstream Bollywood cinema with conventional blockbuster Hollywood fare in terms of both plots and production values. So expect a Moulin Rouge-like crossover musical in English with a major Hollywood box-office draw, an Indian model female lead, rags-to-riches storyline, Inception-like action sequences and CGI by studios in Hyderabad and Bangalore.

Comment author: gwern 24 August 2010 11:02:35AM 0 points [-]

http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1708

Seems like a solid prediction. 2020 allows a lot of growth in China & India, and Bollywood-style movies already play well in the West - look at Slumdog Millionaire which nearly grossed $400M, despite being a British film on Indian matters.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 09 January 2010 03:38:03AM *  1 point [-]

Carry-on luggage on US airlines will be reduced to a single handbag that inspectors can search thoroughly, in 2010 or 2011.

Comment author: gwern 26 August 2010 10:19:38AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: PhilGoetz 26 August 2010 10:46:22PM 0 points [-]

2010 is almost over, so the odds of my being right are now considerably less.

Comment author: gwern 27 August 2010 04:12:52AM 0 points [-]

Well, we're only 8/24 of the way to the end of 2011, so you could still be right. Ganbaru!

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 01 January 2010 07:30:47AM 0 points [-]

For the next decade: Videoconferencing.

Comment author: Baughn 01 January 2010 12:08:57PM 3 points [-]

Videoconferencing what, exactly?

I've been using it for years. I'm not sure how to correctly expand your sentence, and it shouldn't be subject to interpretation.

Comment author: whpearson 01 January 2010 12:27:28PM 3 points [-]

I suspect Eliezer is making broad predictions about what is important in the next 10 years. As if someone said smartphone for the next decade in 2000. Not giving too much detail makes it more likely to be true...

Comment author: Jack 01 January 2010 01:13:34PM 5 points [-]

coughmakingbeliefspayrentcough

Comment author: Unknowns 01 January 2010 01:22:13PM *  3 points [-]

Eliezer seems to be predicting that videoconferencing will become common in the next decade. Yes, some use it now, but it is still not common. I predict that it will not become common until someone uses a utility to modify your appearance so that when you look at the eyes of the person on the screen, your image on the remote end will look like it is looking at the eyes of the person on the other end. This might well be developed in much less than 10 years, however.

Comment author: scientism 01 January 2010 10:49:22PM -1 points [-]

Next 10 years:

  1. Nativism discredited (80%)

  2. Traditional economics discredited (80%)

  3. Cognitivism/computationalism discredited (70%)

  4. Generative linguistics discredited (60%)

To elaborate somewhat: By #1 I mean that in the fields of biology, psychology and neuroscience the idea that behaviours or ideas or patterns of thought can be "innate" will be marginalised and not accepted by mainstream researchers.

By #2 I mean that, not only will behavioural economics provide accounts of deviations from traditional economic models, but mainstream economists will accept that these models need to be discarded completely and replaced from the ground-up with psychologically-plausible models.

By #3 I mean the idea that the brain can be thought of as a computer and the "mind" as its algorithms will be marginalised. I give this lower odds than nativism being discredited only because the cognitivist tradition has managed to sustain itself through belligerence rather than evidence and is therefore likely to be more persistent and pernicious. Nativism, on the other hand, has persisted because of the difficulty of experimentally demonstrating that certain behaviours are learned rather than innate (as well as belligerence).

By #4 I mean that traditional linguistics, and especially generative grammar, will be marginalised. This one has long puzzled me since the generative grammarians based their ideas on intuition and explicitly deny a role for data or experiment (or the need to reconcile their beliefs with biology). The main problem has been the absence of a viable alternative research program. This is beginning to change.

Comment author: orthonormal 01 January 2010 11:00:32PM *  6 points [-]

If we could agree on a suitable judging mechanism, I would bet up to $10,000 against you on #1 and on #3 at those odds (or even at substantially different odds). I also disagree on the latter claim in #2, but that's not as much of a slam dunk for me as the others.

Comment author: whpearson 01 January 2010 11:00:03PM 6 points [-]

Can you unpack what you mean by innate. I think babies would have a hard time surviving if sucking things wasn't a behaviour that was with them from their genes.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 02 January 2010 12:18:31AM 3 points [-]

And more generally, the distinction innate/learned is overly simplistic in a lot of contexts; rather, there are adaptations that determine the way organism develops depending on its environment. The standard reference I know of is

J. Tooby & L. Cosmides (1992). `The psychological foundations of culture'. In J. Barkow, L. Cosmides, & J. Tooby (eds.), The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture. Oxford University Press, New York.

Comment author: Zack_M_Davis 01 January 2010 11:42:00PM *  4 points [-]

A few thoughts:

  • It would be valuable to do an outside view sanity check: historically, how frequently have research programs of similar prestige been discredited?

  • There are all the standard problems with authority---lots of folks insist that they're in the mainstream and that opposing views have been discredited. Clearly nativism &c. have been discredited in your mind; when do they get canonically discredited? Sometimes I almost think that everyone would be better off if everyone just directly talked about how the world really is rather than swiping at the integrity of each other's research programs, but I'm probably just being naive.

  • Re 3, my domain knowledge is somewhat weak, so everyone ignore me if my very words are confused, but I'm not sure what would count as a refutation or the mind being an algorithm. Surely (surely?) most would agree that the brain is not literally a computer as we ordinarily think of computers, but I understand algorithm in the broadest sense to refer to some systematic mechanism for accomplishing a task. Thought isn't ontologically fundamental; the brain systematically accomplishes something; why shouldn't we speak of abstracting away an algorithm from that? Maybe I've just made computationalism an empty tautology, but I don't ... think so.

  • I don't think the innate/learned dichotomy is fundamental; it's both, everyone knows that's it's both, everyone knows that everyone knows that it's both. Like that old analogy, a rectangle's area is a product of length and width. What specific questions of fact are people confused about?

Comment author: gwern 23 August 2010 02:39:30PM 1 point [-]

I'm not entering any of these into PredictionBook because all 4 strike me as hopelessly argumentative and subjective. (Take #1 - what, you mean stigmatised even more than it already is as the province of racists/sexists/-ists?)

Comment author: magfrump 03 January 2010 08:01:31AM 1 point [-]

I would say better-than even chances that sites like intrade gain prestige in the next decade

and betting on predictions will become common ( 90% that there is a student at 75% or so of high schools in 2020 that will take bets on future predictions on any subject, 40% that >5% of US middle class will have made a bet about a future prediction)

naive guesses based largely on http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/11/case-for-climate-futures-markets-ctd.html

I predict further that I will continue to post on LW at least once a month next year (90%) and in 2020 (50%)

Comment author: orthonormal 03 January 2010 08:31:20AM 8 points [-]

I predict further that I will continue to post on LW at least once a month next year (90%) and in 2020 (50%)

Is there any comparable website that you were posting on in 2000 and continue to post on today? I agree that LW is awesome, but web communities have a short shelf life (and a tendency to be superseded as web technology improves).

Comment author: magfrump 03 January 2010 06:59:37PM 4 points [-]

Probably a good reason to adjust the estimate down. On the other hand I was 11 in 2000 so I wouldn't have been on this kind of site anyway, and conditional on the prediction that news-betting becomes more prestigious rationality almost certainly will.

Point taken, with the real point being that I have no sense of how long a decade is, so I'll adjust that down to a 20%

I have stayed in touch with a different web community for five years, with which I'm still in touch, although only barely at the level of once a month. So my odds for awesomeness overcoming shelf-lifes may be higher than for most.

Comment author: gwern 25 August 2010 06:16:25AM *  1 point [-]
  1. http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1710

    Kind of vague, but I suppose it's not too hard to do a search and note that the NYT only mentioned Intrade a few times in the 2000s and more in the 2010s.

  2. http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1709

    I have no idea how one would measure this one. I'm sure that at any high school you could find a student willing to wager with you on any damn topic you please.

  3. Not including a prediction for middleclasses. Already true if you count sports, as many prediction markets such as Betfair do.
  4. http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1711
  5. http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1712

    Agree with orthonormal that this is seriously over-optimistic. The only site I even use today that I did in 2000 would be Slashdot, and I haven't commented there in a dog's age.

Comment author: magfrump 25 August 2010 10:16:13AM 0 points [-]

I probably meant for claim 3 to exclude sports.

Comment author: gwern 25 August 2010 12:34:03PM 0 points [-]

Well, then you're using a variant definition of prediction market, and before I can feel confident judging any prediction of yours, I need to know what your idiosyncratic interpretation of the phrase is.

Comment author: magfrump 25 August 2010 07:59:25PM 0 points [-]

I agree that I wasn't making the most coherent claim, and since it's been a long time I can't guarantee fidelity of what I originally intended.

But my best guess would be, trying to phrase this as concretely as possible, was that I meant to predict that either

a) sports betting agencies would expand into non-sports venues and see significant business there

or b) newer betting agencies not created to serve sports would achieve similar success

I would be "disappointed" if "non-sports" meant something like player movement between teams and "excited" if it meant something like unemployment rates and vote shares in elections.

Comment author: dfranke 01 January 2010 07:05:48PM 1 point [-]
  • By the end of 2013: Either the Iranian regime is overthrown by popular revolution, or there is an overt airstrike against Iran by either the US or Israel, or Israel is attacked by an Iranian nuclear weapon (70%).

  • Essentially seconding mattnewport: the price of gold reaches $3000USD, or inflation of the US dollar exceeds 12% in one year (65%).

  • The current lull in the increase of the speed at which CPUs perform sequential operations comes to an end, yielding a consumer CPU that performs sequential integer arithmetic operations 4x as quickly as a modern 3GHz Xeon (80%).

  • Android-descended smartphones outnumber iPhone-descended smartphones (60%).

  • The number of IMAX theaters in the US triples (40%).

Comment author: gwern 23 August 2010 02:36:36PM 0 points [-]
Comment author: Jack 01 January 2010 10:30:48AM 1 point [-]

The second estimation in each paragraph is conditional on the first.

By 2020 some kind of CO2 emissions regulation (cap and trade) will be in place in the US(.85). But total CO2 emissions in the US for 2019 will be no less than 95% of total CO2 emissions for 2008 (.9).

Obama wins reelection (.7). The result will be widely attributed to an improving economy (in the media and in polls and whether or not the economy actually improves) (.85)

By 2020 open elections are held for the Iranian presidency (no significant factions excluded from participation) (.5). The president (or some other position selected through open elections) is the highest position in the Iranian state (.5)

Comment author: philwelch 02 January 2010 12:56:31AM 2 points [-]

"The president (or some other position selected through open elections) is the highest position in the Iranian state (.5)"

Qualify this. Formally, the highest position in the British state is unelected. In terms of political power, the highest position in the British state is elected.

Comment author: Jack 02 January 2010 04:42:02AM 1 point [-]

In terms of political power.

Comment author: gwern 20 August 2010 06:27:37AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: Kevin 01 January 2010 06:17:37AM *  1 point [-]

By 2020, an Earth-like habitable extrasolar planet is detected. I would take a wager on this one but doubt anyone would give me even odds.

Will anyone give me even odds if the bet is by 2015?

Comment author: Nick_Tarleton 01 January 2010 06:29:11AM *  2 points [-]

I think I'd give better-than-even odds for either date, and would be shocked if no one else would. How are you defining "Earth-like" and "habitable"?

Comment author: Unknowns 01 January 2010 06:40:11AM 2 points [-]

I think he just meant with liquid water, some type of atmosphere, and approximately earth sized. Given this, my guess is that they find one within the next three years. If he meant "habitable" to human beings without protection, i.e. oxygen atmosphere etc., then this is extremely unlikely (less than 2% chance) that they will find such a thing by 2020.

Comment author: gwern 19 August 2010 08:49:45AM 0 points [-]

Is it possible to have liquid water without life? I remember reading that an oxygen atmosphere was quite impossible, but am not sure about liquid water.

Comment author: Unknowns 19 August 2010 10:28:57AM 0 points [-]

There could be an oxygen atmosphere without life for a short period of a planet's history (I'm not sure how long.) It wouldn't be possible for it to remain permanently.

According to our evidence, Mars had liquid water for a very long period, but no one considers this to be proof that there was life there.

Comment author: gwern 20 August 2010 09:03:34AM 0 points [-]

According to our evidence, Mars had liquid water for a very long period,

I went to check this - maybe liquid water is a short-term enough thing that its mere presence is still weak evidence for an active biosphere, but apparently one timeline puts liquid water as present in large quantities for >600 million years. Bleh.

Comment author: wedrifid 01 January 2010 06:44:40AM 1 point [-]

I think I'd give better-than-even odds for either date, and would be shocked if no one else would.

At even odds I would take a loan to make the bet.

Comment author: Kevin 20 September 2010 08:14:24AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: gwern 19 August 2010 08:48:56AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: Kevin 18 April 2014 08:58:13AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: gwern 05 August 2014 10:28:04PM 1 point [-]

So by 'habitable' you meant simply in the zone?

Comment author: Kevin 24 August 2010 06:52:28AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: gwern 24 August 2010 09:14:10AM 0 points [-]

That's a good link (maybe half-forgotten rumors of this were why I guessed so high), but I hope you're not expecting me to close the prediction as correct based on just online rumors. :)

Comment author: Kevin 24 August 2010 09:22:13AM 0 points [-]

:) Definitely not closed yet, but I figured I would put the link up just as a running update of the prediction.

Comment author: MichaelVassar 30 December 2009 10:00:12PM 1 point [-]

My first prediction is that as is usually the case, political and random events will change the way people live far more over the next year than technology will. Given the current state of the financial system, I would place about even odds on politics having more impact than technology over the next decade, but with the caveat that over such a long time scale political and technological events will surely be interwoven.

Comment author: DanArmak 30 December 2009 10:46:10PM 5 points [-]

There's no separation to be had between politics and technology.

The biggest influence on technology is regulation which outlaws, restricts, or places huge financial barriers to entry (as with medical research); another non-trivial influence is politically controlled financing of R&D.

And arguably, the biggest influence on politics that isn't itself political is technology (case in point: modern communications, computer, and the Internet spreading censored information, creating more popular awareness and coordinating protests.)

So I think political and technological events are inseparable over almost any timescale.

Comment author: timtyler 31 December 2009 09:48:46AM 1 point [-]

It seems pretty vague - do you have any ideas about how this should be measured?

Comment deleted 17 September 2017 02:14:04PM [-]
Comment author: Lumifer 18 September 2017 04:58:30PM 0 points [-]

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