Measure is unceasing

Forecasting Newsletter: April 2222



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I have received an offer I couldn’t refuse from a premier Substack competitor, so this newsletter will be moving to starting next month (I had some troubles with verification this month). Although I understand that it might be awkward for some readers, the signup bonus alone made this the utility-maximizing move. I am also excited about incorporating OnlyFan’s paying functionality to streamline my consulting and allow readers to solicit calibrated forecasts.

Prediction Markets & Forecasting Platforms

Palantir, a controversial (approval rating: 22%, source: Poll aggregation by FiveFourtyTwo) defence contractor headed by semiquincentennial entrepreneur, past antipope and presidential candidate Peter Thiel, has launched its first assassination market in collaboration with the UN’s Security Council. Participants will have the possibility to anonymously bet on the date of the death or disappearance of the elusive globetrotter terrorist and hacker known only as “Morpheus”. In an unusually emotional speech, UN Security Council head-honcho Malia Ngo profusely thanked Thiel, saying that it “warms [her] heart to see that human innovation can help contain such disruptions to the normal functioning of civilization.”

Ought, the machine learning research lab, has been acquired by Metacortex. Metacortex predicts (confidence: 79%, source: Metacortex proprietary systems) that it will be able to successfully tightly integrate Ought’s autonomous research, forecasting and decision-making capabilities into its AI-based defence and deterrence products. Metacortex’s stock market valuation rose 0.12% on intra-minute trading after the announcement.

As the Argentina-UCS cold war continues, Mary Ann Island, a small island previously administered by Argentina, has been invaded by a confederacy of independent traders seeking to exploit ambiguity in some prediction markets' resolution criteria. Some high-volume prediction markets were set up to give advance warning of a possible invasion of any part of Argentina but neglected to specify that the invading party had to be the UCS as an exercise in diplomatic tact. The island itself is unpopulated and known for its large population of rabbits, but otherwise unremarkable.

In the News

The International Court of Justice in the Hague has allowed the Treaty on Accuracy, and in particular, its harsh punitive measures, to stand. The Commentators, Litterateurs And Pundits Society (CLAPS) had previously argued that not differentiating between an assertion of fact, an unfounded opinion and a calibrated forecast was a permitted exercise of “free speech”, whereas Chief Prosecutor Michael Townsend successfully argued before the court that readers have a symmetric right to true facts and that this right justifies restrictions in journalistic freedoms. To comply with the new regulations, this newsletter shall (probability estimation: 95%, source: personal estimate) here onwards incorporate probabilistic estimates of statements with less than 98% probability; a third party service will ensure and incentivize calibration.

Great Britain’s GDP is now 210 times larger than that of continental Europe. Since it replaced its ceremonial monarchy with a futarchy-based decentralized parliamentary system set to optimize “hedons”, Great Britain’s economy has been doubling every four months, which stands in sharp contrast to an average doubling time of one year in Honduras, one and a half in the Mars colony, two years in continental Europe, five years in developing nations, or ten in the United Catholic States of America. Nonetheless, the methods of The Great DAO of Great Britain remain controversial (50.1% approval rate among eligible voters.) For example, despite Metacortex’s highly accurate simulations conclusively (99.9%+) having shown that acting decisively against rebel Scottish separatists was a necessary move to preserve Great Britain’s prosperity, a group of revisionist historians recently argued that obliterating Edinburgh with a kinetic orbital strike was “morally wrong” and a display of “excessive force”.

Succession troubles in the Arab Emirates intensify, as prediction markets and calibrated proprietary systems predict that a less charismatic brother would reign more effectively than the current heir apparent. Current reigning monarch Abdulaziz bin Salman still holds the power to appoint his heir, but choosing an in-expectation-worse successor might (probability estimate: 75%, source: personal estimation) lead to a loss of legitimacy and public unrest (e.g., protests), but would probably not topple the regime (20% that it will, source: personal estimation.)

As foreseen by prediction markets and pundits alike, Keine Davon has been elected leader of the CDU, and is widely expected to become the German Chancellor in the upcoming elections this June (e.g., FiveFourtyTwo currently gives this a 97% probability). I’d personally give it 95%+ probability, however, prediction markets are currently sitting at 85% because of a small minority of ardently delusional deniers who expect the candidacy to be rendered illegal after judicial review.

UN Secretary-General Yan Zhang vows to move prediction markets to at least a 30% implied probability that the Spanish military junta will not be in power by the end of the decade. Prediction markets rose to 35% upon announcement (source: Metacortex), up from an early estimate of 28%. The move is widely considered to be an attempt by Zhang to distract attention away from an embezzlement scandal, in which famine prediction systems were manipulated to show increasing risk in areas that were actually safe, leading to the deployment of additional funds which could then safely be stolen.

QURI logo

Netflix releases a new Korean soap opera, Forecasting Love and Weather, which tells the gripping tale of how a young man with an affinity and talent for weather forecasting falls in love with an analytical woman of comparable forecasting prowess. “It was as if an occult hand had reached into Korean society and made forecasting cool and mainstream”, mentions a spokesbeing for the Korean Forecasting Congregation. It further seems that a lot of attention to detail went into making the show realistic.

Mars Emperor Tim Chu vows to colonize Andromeda. Prediction markets rose to 99% upon announcement, up from an early estimate of 0.5% (source: Metacortex.)

Recent blog posts

Sand Teal Cortex investigates the story of the Chinese precogs who are rumoured to have recently been making waves in the prediction and stock markets (quantified in later sentences). In short, in the 2050s, the then-communist Chinese regime started an embryo editing and selection program (99%+; this is well documented) for a variety of traits, i.e., for charisma, military-strategic ability, mathematical talent, etc. Most of these experiments otherwise never went anywhere that we know of (30%, the fact that there isn’t public information doesn’t update me much either way, and this contradicts theoretical models). However, after an unknown number of generations, humans optimized for correlates of predictive prowess reportedly displayed truly uncanny predictive ability (70%; reports are unclear, but again theoretical models suggest that gains in the absence of ethical constraints can be massive). After the fall of the Chinese communist regime, these precogs are speculated to have begun to use those abilities for profit (35%; here we enter the realms of speculation). This would—so the theory goes—explain a recent very noticeable upwards blip in the accuracy of various prediction markets.

In particular, since a couple of days ago, global financial markets have begun acting strangely, in a way that suggests that some entity has been exponentially growing the fraction of total market power it controls (40%; I’m deferring to the experts here, but don’t have detailed models myself.) Prediction markets on the topic don’t have much liquidity yet, but in the meantime, superforecasting systems give [rest of sentence interdicted on the authority of Guardian Samuel Kuehlruhe].

Trigger warning: Reading the next paragraph is grossly illegal in the UTS and allied jurisdictions. If you’re an emulated being, consult your TOS or face termination at your own risk before proceeding. Honestly, I thought that this was worth reporting on, but at least get a VPN, plz.

Rootclaim has a new feature analyzing the reasons for Peter Thiel’s extraordinary longevity. They find that the most likely hypotheses are a combination of cryogenic stasis (75%), speculative medical procedures (85%) (e.g., blood transfusion from younger Thiel clones (45%)), and replacement by clones once the original Thiel becomes too decrepit (35%). One can only hope (20%; informal estimation) that articles such as this will halt—or at least decelerate—the seemly inevitable rise of the Thielian church.

Long Content

Robin Hanson To Represent Sweden At 2021 Olympic Games In Tokyo. To settle a bet about whether he would have found a career in sports more meaningful than his intellectual career, Robin Hanson has agreed to spin up universe afea6ef9628fcb91771abc9f799cf15. You can bet on the outcome here. United Nations Security Council Resolution 26280 requires us to inform you that if there are two or more Robin Hansons in your universe, you might be in a simulation (probability depends on the specific anthropic question being asked and on how much credence one lends to the simulation hypothesis.)

  1. Greer of The Scholar’s Stage speculates (implied probability estimate: 7%, source: Scholar’s Stage) that Russia has systematically been misleading US analysts as to the efficacy of various forecasting methodologies. He proposes this as an explanation as to why superforecasters are better at predicting geopolitical events, but monetary prediction markets are better at everything else. The idea is that the KGB would have carried out their own experiments to determine which forecasting method is more accurate, and then changed its own actions in low-stakes events in the geopolitical arena to make superforecasting appear superior, so that its rivals would have access to worse probability elicitation measures in situations where it truly mattered.

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They said that conquering Afghanistan had been tried before, that it was a fool’s errand. But if you are a strong enough optimizer, base-rates don’t apply. That’s why Afghanistan is now a paradise on Earth, and that’s how I got a nation-sized impenetrable fortress.

—Peter Thiel