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Ragnarök Question Series: results so far

It’s dangerous to be alive and risks are everywhere. But not all risks are created equally. Luckily, the Ragnarök Question Series will bring essential clarity to your evaluation of the risks facing humanity. Its aim is to analyse some of the catastrophes we are most likely to befall, and to identify potential causes of our collective demise.

Predictions about global catastrophes this century

This table contains all probabilities of the computed on the 28th of January 2019. The first two columns are computed as the product of the overall probability of a catastrophe and the probability that if a catastrophe occurs it is due to the named cause. The third and fourth columns additionally multiply in the probability that if the named catastrophe occurs more than 95% of the population will perish. The precise specification of each question may be found in the question list below. ">10% decline?" and ">95% decline?" refer to the percentage loss in the Earth's population over some specified timeframe. I'll try to update the table periodically.

The community prediction is much more gloomy than the Metaculus prediction with regards to both the 10% and 95% reduction in human population this century.

According to the community prediction, climate change and biological catastrophes are most likely to result in a 10% or more reduction in human population this century, whilst nuclear war is most likely to cause a 95% reduction.

The Metaculus prediction considers nuclear war the most likely to result in a 10% reduction in population, and AI most likely to result in 95% reduction.


In case you haven't already, please have a look at the questions individually and contribute your own insight, analysis or factorizations.[1]

  1. By 2100 will the human population decrease by at least 10% during any period of 5 years?

  2. Will such a catastrophe be due to either human-made climate change or geoengineering?

  3. Will such a catastrophe be due to a nanotechnology failure-mode?

  4. Will such a catastrophe be due to nuclear war?

  5. Will such a catastrophe be due to an artificial intelligence failure-mode?

  6. Will such a catastrophe be due to biotechnology or bioengineered organisms?

For those with an interest in the fate of humanity in the event of some the above catastrophes occur, have a look at following questions.

  1. If a global biological catastrophe occurs, will it reduce the human population by 95% or more?

  2. If an artificial intelligence catastrophe occurs, will it reduce the human population by 95% or more?

  3. If a nuclear catastrophe occurs, will it reduce the human population by 95% or more?

  4. If a global climate disaster occurs by 2100, will the human population decline by 95% or more?


[1] Since multiple catastrophes are possible this century, the sum of the predictions on specific risks may well exceed 100%.