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When will the last member of our species, homo sapiens, be born?
The scientific definition of "species" is surprisingly complicated.
As this November 2017 article from Science News explains:
At first glance, “species” is a basic vocabulary word schoolchildren can ace on a test by reciting something close to: a group of living things that create fertile offspring when mating with each other but not when mating with outsiders. Ask scientists who devote careers to designating those species, however, and there’s no typical answer. Scientists do not agree.
For the sake of this question, though, let's just go with this definition from Berkeley: "a group of individuals that actually or potentially interbreed in nature."
Evolution marches on relentlessly. We homo sapiens – even armed with our technology and collective stored-and-shared wisdom--are not immune to this ceaseless force. At some point, our descendants will be so physically different from us – due to natural selection, human-engineered tinkering or both – that they would be properly classified as a different species. This Scientific American article explores some of the key ideas behind this question.
And of course, we might well kill ourselves off, replace ourselves with AIs, etc.
How many years from now will the last member of homo sapiens be born?
We'll consider the people the future creatures will succeed or fail to interbreed with as early 21st C humans, and this must be possible without technical intervention. The people must exist IRL, i.e. not be simulated beings, uploads, etc. As usual we contemplate beings in the same universe, branch of the wavefunction, etc., as the server running the copy of Metaculus the question sits on.
Metaculus help: Predicting
Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.
The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available. With tachyons you'll even be able to go back in time and backdate your prediction to maximize your points.
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Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.