modeling quantitative contingencies exploring quantitative futures exploring probable estimations aggregating calibrated estimations modeling predictive insights mapping the future forecasting accurate estimations predicting probable predictions predicting accurate estimations formulating contingent estimations predicting definitive predictions crowdsourcing contingent estimations calculating contingent contingencies forecasting predictive futures


Metaculus Help: Spread the word

If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.

Does Stephen Hawking's September paper contain the essence of a solution to the black hole information paradox?

Hawking's famous black hole information paradox, first formulated in his 1976 paper, concerns a conflict between the reversibility of known fundamental physical laws and the irreversibility of black hole formation and evaporation.

The Standard Model of particle physics, General Relativity, quantum and classical mechanics, and most extant proposed extensions of these theories are "unitary," meaning that all of the information in a system at some time can in principle be recovered from the same system at a later time, by running the laws of physics "backwards." Black holes appear to be a possible exception: Hawking's calculation of black hole evaporation predicts an information-free spectrum of radiation emitted, no matter what was thrown into the black hole.

Whether black holes violate unitary -- as claimed by Hawking -- has been fiercely controversial for decades. In 2004, Hawking conceded that unitarity is preserved, based on arguments related to the AdS/CFT correspondence. But even if this verdict is accepted, there is no widely-accepted explanation of how unitarity is preserved in detail, or how information actually escapes a black hole during evaporation.

In September 2015, Hawking claimed in a short paper to have made a breakthrough on this topic, and presented his ideas at a meeting, which also involved extensive discussions with eminent relativists Andy Strominger and Gary Gibbons. The central claim is that "the information is stored in a supertranslation associated with the shift of the horizon that the ingoing particles caused." Is this the key to unraveling the paradox?

The question will be resolved as "yes" if, by November 15, 2016, both Hawking's paper receives more than 100 citations, and any two of Leonard Susskind, John Preskill, and Raphael Bousso make statements in writing that the information paradox is essentially solved, and that the solution can be cast in terms of supertranslations defined on the horizon.


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.

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.

This question is not yet open for predictions.

Thanks for predicting!

Your prediction has been recorded anonymously.

Want to track your predictions, earn points, and hone your forecasting skills? Create an account today!

Track your predictions
Continue exploring the site

Community Stats

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.