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Drake's Equation Question Set: on what fraction of habitable planets with life does intelligence evolve?
The first question in the series, with more explanation, is here
The model in question uses probability distributions over seven input parameters.
In this case we will be addressing the fifth parameter in Drake's Equation, . It is the fraction of life-bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges. This is pretty ill-defined but for our purposes we shall define intelligent life as a type capable of (a) symbolic representation and communication of a description of actions and objects, i.e. language, and (b) use of tools. Under this definition on Earth Humans would count as well as probably several type of nonhuman primates, many cetaceans, and some types of birds.
There being no obvious source of a hard lower-limit on this parameter we set that to , but with an open border. We'll count multiple intelligent species on a planet as a single one.
The resolution to this question will be the scientific consensus 100 years from now, regardless of any remaining uncertainty.
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.
The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.
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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.