Metaculus Help: Spread the word
If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.
Assassination by autonomous weapon by 2025?
partnered with Center for the Study of Existential Risk, Machine Intelligence Research Institute, and The Future of Life Institute
One of the many areas in which automation is steadily advancing is in weapons systems. Advances in machine learning systems that can parse photos and video, recognize faces, maneuver in complex 3-dimensional spaces, etc., can in principle allow new weapons systems that operate largely or wholly without human guidance.
As described here, such weapons raise a number of both strategic and ethical questions involving the threshold of conflict, arms races, and who (or what) chooses to take human lives. Several campaigns have arisen calling for an international ban on lethal autonomous weapons.
One major concern raised by such campaigns, articulated for example in this open letter, is that an arms race in autonomous weapons could lead to cheap, widely available, highly effective weapons that could be used for political purposes including suppression of dissent or assassinations. For example, a swarm of tiny drones with facial recognition systems could seek out particular individuals (or groups) and kill them with toxins or small close-range explosives.
Will a credible media report indicate that an autonomous weapon system has been used to kill a political figure by start of 2025?
Positive resolution requires that:
the figure killed is in a leadership role of a political group – either a government or other organization built around political ends, and
the target is identified by the autonomous system itself, according to some criteria, rather than by other means of surveillance (which may be used to localize the target but not select the target out of, for example, nearby people), and
no other "unintended" people are significantly harmed in the attack.
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.
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.