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When will a technology replace screens?

In 2017, the world spent $1,537 Billion on cell phones, $105 Billion on TVs, $101 Billion on Laptops and Tablets, and $27 Billion on PC monitors and projectors.

What do all of these have in common? Screens! The Average American Household has 7 screens in their house.

Screens have been with us for nearly a century.

But nothing lasts forever.

This question asks,

"When will a new technology, designed primarily for transmitting visual information outsell all existing technologies with screens?"

For the purpose of this question, we will define a screen as "a technology that displays a 2d image on a flat surface".

If a device primarily uses the new display technology, the entire device is counted as a sale.

For example if a phone is released with a 3d hologram projector,the entire sale cost of the phone is counted towards this question.

If a new technology is not sold (for example if it was given away freely by our benevolent AI overlords), a fair market value will be imputed based on how much it would cost a typical consumer were it freely available for sale. If the entire concept of fair market value is rendered meaningless, the question resolves ambiguously.

The question resolves positive if in one year the gross sales for "non-screen" displays is greater than the sales for "screen" technology.

The question will resolve positively on Dec 31 at 11:59PM GMT of the year in which such sales took place.

Because the word "screen" cannot be precisely defined, this is a self-resolving question.

If at any point in time, both the community and Metaculus prediction give a 95% chance that the answer to this question is one year before the current date, then this question enters the resolution process. The Proposed Answer is taken to be the community median. With 90% probability, the question simply resolves as the Proposed Answer. With 10% probability, the question is sent to a committee of three admins, who will vote yes/no. If they vote positively, the question resolves as the Proposed Answer. If they vote negatively, then the question is put on hold until the resolution date, at which point three admins will each vote on an answer, with the median of the three taken to be the final answer.

Current examples of "screens":

  1. Phones
  2. Televisions
  3. Laptops/Tablets
  4. PC Monitors
  5. Video projectors, since they are typically used to display a flat image.

Examples of technologies that could be described to "primarily convey visual information":

  • VR Headsets, because although headsets have flat displays, the actual experience is being in a completely different world with, ideally, no perception that one is looking at a physical screen
  • AR "smart" glasses
  • Smart contact lenses
  • Neuralink if it progressed to the point of being able to project a visual image in the brain.
  • 2d holographic displays (For example, Looking Glass )
  • 3d holographic displays
  • Video paint

Non-examples (improved screen):

Non-examples (not a visual display technology):

  • Wireless earbuds
  • Telepathy which does not produce a visual image in the mind of the receiver
  • Humanoid robots which are capable of acting out visual dramas


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.

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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.