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Will there be a global thermonuclear war by 2070?
Weapons in which the energy is provided by nuclear fission or fusion have only twice in history been detonated outside of a controlled test environment, in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki events in World War II.
Since then, the world has nearly gone to nuclear war as a result of international conflict (during the Cuban Missile Crisis) and by accident. (Indeed, there have been a number of narrowly-averted accidental nuclear detonations. See this timeline for a sobering look at how close we have come.)
This question (which any sane person will hope resolves negatively) regards the probability that a nuclear war will occur by Jan 1, 2070. (Different questions address this separately, but none directly.) There is a great paucity of public and useful estimates of this probability. See for example this paper for an outline of considerations (but no bottom-line numbers.)
Resolution will be positive if in the context of armed conflict:
Three countries each detonate at least 10 nuclear devices of at least 10 kiloton yield outside of their own territory in OR
Two countries each detonate at least 50 nuclear devices of at least 10 kiloton yield outside of their own territory.
These conditions are chosen to set aside a two-party regional nuclear war, say between India and Pakistan, or Israel and an adversary, or the UK and France, as disastrous as that would be.
As with many questions with a positive-resolution condition that may preclude being awarded points on Metaculus, predictors are enjoined to predict in good faith, as points will not be awarded until 2075 anyway.
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.
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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.
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