Although a lot can be learned from asking about whether or not various things will occur in the future, there are many cases where it would be much nicer to predict a number, such as a date by which something happens, or an amount of money, sales, citations, hits, etc., etc.
As of now, such questions can be posed on Metaculus. Rather than input a probability of yes, users may now define a probability distribution, i.e. a probability assigned to each possible value within a defined range. You get more points if you assign a higher probability to the actual realized number, but you have a fixed amount of probability to assign; thus you can make a narrow distribution if you are fairly certain of a particular value, and a wider distribution to reflect more uncertainty. See the FAQ for a lot of detail on how this works, and how these questions are scored at resolution.
To kick this off, here are a few numerical questions that are now live:
- How many Federally Insured Commercial Banks in the USA at the end of 2017?
- When will an AI system score an impressive defeat of a professional human in Starcraft 2?
- When will we see machine-kindergartner parity in LEGO construction?
- When will the first 100 Megawatt fusion-based electrical generation facility come into service?
We’re very interested in what you think of the system, and welcome feedback as comments to this post. There are still some features to be added accompanying this change, but feel free to suggest anything that would be useful.