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Possible Worlds Series

We (Ought) are excited to experiment with a series of pairs of conditional questions. We’re interested in conditional questions because:

  • Every decision we make involves an implicit conditional forecast. If I invest in this stock, how much money will I make? If we move to this new office building, what will the average commute time for our employees be? Although it’s difficult to completely disentangle where the causality comes from, conditional comparisons give information about the impact of decisions or events.
  • Conditional forecasts check for internal consistency: what do your predictions imply about the effect you think an event will have on an outcome?

The conditional questions already on Metaculus give insight into how decisions will influence an outcome – for example, these predictions on the CO2 levels conditional on Trump, Biden, or Bernie becoming President, and these predictions on 2021 COVID deaths if Democrats vs Republicans control the presidency and houses.


If you want to compare your distributions for question pairs in this series, you can:

  1. Create an Elicit snapshot for each question in the pair
  2. Copy the URL of one of the snapshots, and paste it into the 'Import snapshot via URL' box in the other snapshot
  3. Hide 'Community Distribution' and rename your imported distribution to keep track
  4. You can follow this example!

We’ll also post a comparison of the community distributions for each conditional pair in the comments here.


Here are the questions:

  1. If Trump is re-elected President, what will the value of the S&P 500 be on January 1, 2021?
  2. If Trump is not re-elected President, what will the value of the S&P 500 be on January 1, 2021?


  1. If Trump is re-elected President, how many lawful permanent residents will reside in the US on January 1, 2022?
  2. If Trump is not re-elected President, how many lawful permanent residents will reside in the US on January 1, 2022?


  1. If at least one human challenge trial is run for COVID-19 before February 5, 2021, how many total deaths in the US will be directly attributed to COVID-19 in 2021?
  2. If no human challenge trials are run for COVID-19 before February 5, 2021, how many total deaths in the US will be directly attributed to COVID-19 in 2021?


  1. If California passes Proposition 22 to classify app-based drivers as independent contractors, what will Uber's adjusted EBITDA for the mobility segment be in Q1 2021?
  2. If California does not pass Proposition 22 to classify app-based drivers as independent contractors, what will Uber's adjusted EBITDA for the mobility segment be in Q1 2021?